Home Events The Viennese modernism – Top things to know and to do in Vienna

The Viennese modernism – Top things to know and to do in Vienna


Last Updated on May 2, 2018 by gregor

In 2018 Vienna is celebrating the Vienna Modernism. Here is all what you need to know and what to do in Vienna:


What is the Vienna Modernism exactly?

The period between 1890 and 1918 was a crucial phase in Austrian history. The dual monarchy of the Habsburg led Austro-Hungarian Empire swung between beauty and the abyss. Countless new developments in art, literature, architecture, psychology, philosophy and wider society were shaped by the ‘Wiener Moderne’ or Viennese Modernism. Artists were at the vanguard. Their works shook up the ossifying Habsburg monarchy and came to terms with the failure of liberal politics after the catastrophic stock exchange crash of 1873. The outcome was revolutionary thinking in all areas of life.


What are the most important protagonists of the Viennese Modernism?

These four protagonists played a leading role in making the fin de siècle period such an important time for art in Vienna and Austria:

Gustav Klimt

He was the portrait artist of the rich and the famous and founded Vienna’s Art Nouveau movement: Gustav Klimt was the grand master of painting of the early 1900s. Read more (CLICK)

Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele’s works were the first to portray the human body in a very stark way. He was responsible for bringing expressionism to Vienna. Read more (CLICK)

Otto Wagner

Otto Wagner was the architect of a very rapidly growing city.  He revolutionized architecture with his buildings. Read more (CLICK)

Koloman Moser

Koloman Moser was not only the co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte, he was also the world’s first graphic designer. Read more (CLICK)


Why is Vienna Celebrating 2018 the Vienna Modernism?

2018 marks a sad milestone for each of them: they all died 100 years ago. In 2018 Vienna is be showcasing the creative output of these and other exceptional artists working in the ‘Wiener Moderne’ era.


What is the Wiener Werkstatte?

The Wiener Werkstätte, founded by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Fritz Waerndorfer, was an artists’ and craftsmen’s collective that existed in Vienna from 1903 until 1932. The artists’ goal was to bring high-quality design and craft into all areas of life and to elevate everyday objects into pieces of art. During that time, the collective produced items in a variety of media including ceramics, furniture, glass, jewelry, metalwork, and textiles. The Wiener Werkstätte style influenced generations of architects from Bauhaus to Art Deco. Read more (CLICK)


Top Exhibitions of the Viennese Modernism in 2018

Here is an overview of all Exhibitions in 2018 Read more (CLICK) 


MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied / Contemporary Art

Klimt’s Magic Garden – A virtual reality experience by Frederick Baker. Experience the virtual reality tour “Klimt’s Magic Garden”. It is a virtual reality experiment inspired by Klimt’s masterpieces.

MAK, Read more (CLICK)


Kunsthistorisches Museum

Visiting the exhibition “Stairway to Klimt”. Eye to Eye with Klimt. To mark the centenary of the death of Gusta Klimt (1862-1918) museum visitors are invited to take a closer look at his unique paintings displayed twelve metres above ground. There will be a huge bridge allowing visitors to access this magnificent artwork.


Leopold Museum 

Leopold Museum, Read more  (CLICK)

Vienna around 1900! Klimt – Moser – Gerstl – Kokoschka
January 18 – June 10, 2018

The exhibition shows selected works by the main representatives of Vienna Art Nouveau, Gustav Klimt and Koloman Moser, as well as the Expressionists Richard Gerstl and Oskar Kokoschka. Seminal works by Klimt, such as “Death and Life”, can be seen, as can paintings by Moser (including “Venus in the Grotto”). Outstanding examples of Moser’s design around 1900, such as furniture, handicrafts and posters of the Wiener Werkstätte, are also presented.

Egon Schiele. The Jubilee show
February 23 – November 4, 2018

Paintings, works on paper and numerous archive records (documents, certificates, etc.) highlight the main aspects of Egon Schiele’s creativity: his departure from tradition, finding himself as an expressionist artist, breaking taboos, spirituality and transformation as well as the special portrait presentations. The oil paintings and drawings focus on the expressionist years (1910-1914). The works on paper are shown not in their entirety but in three “runs” for restoration reasons. Important loaned items round out the museum’s collection.


The Belvedere Museums

Belvedere Museum Vienna, Read more (CLICK)

Don’t Leave Vienna without the Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Here is all you need to know!

Upper Belvedere

The Belvedere is only a tram ride away from the city center (D tram to Suedbahnhof). Once there, the luscious gardens with a view over Vienna would be just enough to make it a worthwhile visit. But knowing what the museum holds makes it a place not to miss if you are heading to Vienna. From Austrian art since the Middle Ages until the present day; to Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Munch, Kokoschka, Schiele and the largest Klimt collection in the world. This is all great to see, but one might argue that there are many great museums in Vienna, why head over to the Belvedere? The answer to that is sealed with a Kiss…

The Palaces are divided into Upper and Lower sections, so you can choose between a ticket for one, both or the entire complex, including audio guides or group tours. For 15€ you can visit the Upper Belvedere galleries and know all about the collections on display, For 22Euros you get a combined ticket of the Upper and Lower Belvedere

The Kiss in Real Life
As thrilling as the Mona Lisa on French grounds, the Austrians proudly display the 71 inches by 71 inches masterpiece that is no less than one of the most loved paintings of all times. After passing canvases of Fritza Riedler and Judith I, we get into a dark room and there it is – The Kiss. The all-time lovers standing on a black wall under 6 spotlights that make the gold foil come to life. What a powerful sight!


Lower Belvedere

Klimt is not the end. Awakening in Central Europe

March 23 – August 26, 2018

The end of the First World War and the death of Klimt, Schiele, Wagner and Moser are often interpreted as marking the end of an era, an artistic heyday. The exhibition shows the changes this severe historic cleft actually unleashed, the restrictions it caused, the new perspectives that opened up and the continuities that persisted. This makes it possible see what remained and what changed in the art of the Danube Monarchy and in the newly created nation states. Around 80 works by artists including Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, Moser and Egger-Lienz will be shown.

Orangery (Lower Belvedere)

Egon Schiele – Ways of a collection

October 19, 2018 – February 17, 2019

The exhibition deals with every single work of the Belvedere’s Schiele collection and handles aspects such as acquisition, motif and the portrayed person. The paintings are also set against individual preliminary sketches or related works. The show also enables an expanded view of Schiele’s paintings and his method of working by visualizing and discussing the results of the restoration investigations on the Belvedere, which have been ongoing since the autumn of 2016.



What are the architectural Highlights of the Viennese Modernism?

Belvedere Palace with the Gustav Klimt masterpiece “Kiss”

Vienna Secession

Houses along the Wienzeile

Church of St. Leopold (Steinhof)

Ernst-Fuchs Museum/Otto-Wagner Villa

Read more (CLICK)

TOP TIP – Take a Vienna Modernism Architecture Tour

Read more (CLICK)

Vienna Secession ViennaSecessionVienneseModernisum_theviennablog1


Otto Wagner U-Bahn Station Karlsplatz


Österreichische Postsparkasse Building



Vienna Strudlhofstiege


Loos Haus Vienna


Vienna House Wienzeile/Naschmarkt


Steinhof Church – Otto Wagner


Ernst Fuchs Villa




All photos credit Vienna Tourism Organisation!



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