My Vienna: Art Nouveau highlights in the capital
Above/featured: A captive audience surrounds the Gustav Klimt painting “The Kiss” in Vienna’s Upper Belvedere. Photo, 19 May 2018 (X70).
If you’re paying attention, traces of the turn-of-the-century Viennese Art Nouveau (Wiener Jugendstil) art and design movement are visible throughout the Austrian capital city.
A building mural.
A staircase, with railings and light fixtures.
The front facade of an apartment block.
The entrance pavilion to the municipal railway.
A decorative structure marking the exit/end of a river’s diverted route underneath the city.
I provide ten visual examples below, all of which are accessible with public transport.
- Ankeruhr (1.)
- Beethovenfries (1.)
- Borromäus-Kirche (11.)
- Engel Apotheke (1.)
- Fillgraderstiege (6.)
- Hohe Brücke (1.)
- Majolikahaus (6.)
- Pavillon Karlsplatz (4.)
- Rüdigerhof (5.)
- Wienflussportal (1.)
Anker Clock: Hoher Markt 10–11.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn U1 or U3, to Stephansplatz; U-Bahn U1 or U4, to Schwedenplatz.
By 1914, the Anker insurance company had two buildings constructed at the northeast corner of Hoher Markt, one of the oldest squares in Vienna. The 1911 Ankeruhr (Anker Clock) by commissioned artist Franz Matsch uniquely highlights the arch connecting the two buildings. Each of the 12 hours is represented by a historical figure; all 12 figures come out “to play” every day at 12 noon in a dance as allegory to the fleeting nature of life. The Anker clock has always been an advertisement for their insurance products.
“Beethoven Frieze” by Gustav Klimt, in the Secession building.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn U1 or U4, to Karlsplatz.
For the 14th exhibition of the Vienna Secession in spring 1902, Gustav Klimt created a large artwork in tribute to composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The artwork went to private ownership in 1903, but in 1972, the Republic of Austria purchased the artwork, and made it available for public display in a climate-controlled room in the basement of the Secession building starting in 1986. Visitors to the art gallery (with admission) can view the Beethoven Frieze and with supplied headphones listen to the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony for a simultaneous visual and aural experience. The 1898 Secession building by Joseph Maria Olbrich served as the new home of the nascent and breakaway Secession arts movement, an architectural expression of early 20th-century Vienna Modernism.
Friedhofskirche zum heiligen Karl Borromäus, Zentralfriedhof.
St. Charles Borromeo Church, central cemetery.
Wiener Linien: tram 11 or 71, to stop “Zentralfriedhof 2.Tor”.
Near the centre of the Vienna’s central cemetery is the 1911 church designed by architect Max Hegele in the Jugendstil architectural style and named Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Gedächtnis-Kirche (Dr. Karl Lueger Memorial Church). As Vienna’s mayor from 1897 to 1910, Lueger’s legacy as visionary modernist was tarnished by his opportunistic and virulent anti-Semitism. The church was renamed in 2000 as Friedhofskirche zum heiligen Karl Borromäus (St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery Church) after completion of full renovations.
Engel Apotheke (1.)
Angel Pharmacy, Bognergasse 9.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn U1 or U3, to Stephansplatz.
The original founding of Apotheke zum weissen Engel goes back likely to a time between the mid-15th and late-16th century. Ownership, management, and operation through the centuries have taken a circuitous path, but the building designed by Oskar Laske and Viktor Fiala has been at its present location since 1902. Laske designed the building’s marble portal with a mosaic including depictions of angels. In Vienna, this facade is unique for the display of figurative Art Nouveau elements on commercial buildings and, for a pharmacy, is a remarkable example of decorative art inspired by symbolic representation.
Fillgrader steps in the 6th district.
Wiener Linien: bus 57A to stop “Laimgrubengasse”.
The Fillgrader steps were designed by Max Hegele with construction completed in 1907. While contemporaneous with Art Nouveau, the style for the steps is Secessionist which tends to be more linear and geometric and less floral or ornate. Yes, I know there are vegetal decorative elements in the railings. The steps are a direct nod to the Secession-style facade of the Fillgraderhof building across the street. Designed by Arnold Hatschek, the Fillgraderhof was completed in 1905 and named after Maria Anna Fillgrader, whose husband was bell- and cannon-foundry owner Johann Georg Fillgrader.
Hohe Brücke (1.)
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn or tram to Schottentor; bus 1A to stop “Schwertgasse.”
The street called Tiefer Graben (literally, “deep ditch”) is where a creek used to flow, forming the western boundary of the Roman legion camp and subsequently the western limit of the early city; the medieval Babenbergs constructed a city gate at this location. A bridge has been present over Tiefer Graben since 1295 at the earliest. The present-day iron and steel bridge was designed and built by Josef Hackhofer in 1903; the railings are decorated with Jugendstil elements and marble-cladded corner-panels portraying former versions of the bridge. Also listed as the Neue Hohe Brücke (New High Bridge), the 20th-century bridge is listed as a national monument (through the federal department Bundesdenkmalamt).
Majolica Building, Linke Wienzeile 40.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn U4, to Kettenbrückengasse.
The Majolica building forms a part of a triple set of buildings by Otto Wagner; a larger description with additional images is found here.
Pavillon Karlsplatz (4.)
Karlsplatz pavilions, by Otto Wagner.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn U1 or U4, to Karlsplatz.
Two pavilions at street level were constructed as access points to each platform for the urban railway below ground. Completed in 1898 as a part of the new metropolitan railway project, the buildings were designed by architect Otto Wagner, and decorative elements were provided by Joseph Maria Olbrich who was chief architect of the nearby Secession building. Today, one pavilion is under private ownership as a café while the other pavilion houses a city museum highlighting Otto Wagner’s creations.
Rüdiger building, Hamburgerstrasse 20.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn U4, to Kettenbrückengasse or Pilgramgasse.
Designed by architect Oskar Marmorek and completed in 1902, the building is named after 17th-century Austrian Marshal Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, one of the city’s defenders during the Second Ottoman Siege of the city in 1683. The Café Rüdigerhof opened in 1903 and became a popular setting for artists and intellectuals. The interior decor has essentially remained the same since the 1960s. I counted my cozy mid-afternoon meal at Café Rüdigerhof as one of my favourite draws for food in Vienna.
Wien river portal, at the southern perimeter of Stadtpark.
Wiener Linien: U-Bahn U4, to Stadtpark.
By the late 19th-century, the city of Vienna undertook efforts to further regulate and “straighten” the Vienna river (Wienfluss) as broad measures for flood protection; construction of the municipal railway (Stadtbahn) occurred at about the same time and roughly in parallel with the Vienna river. To control its former “free flow”, the river was diverted onto a concrete bed with overhead vaulting with the Linke and Rechte Wienzeile roads appearing “on top” at the surface. Where the river reappeared into the open at Stadtpark, architects Friedrich Ohmann and Joseph Hackhofer designed and constructed between 1903 and 1906 the Vienna river portal, flanked by two domed pavilions. From the portal, the river flows north and empties finally at the Danube Canal.
Much more Jugendstil
• transition to 20th-century modernism in art, design, and architecture.
• Otto Wagner’s architectural legacy in the Austrian capital city.
• inspired by and based loosely on Wien Tourismus and Visiting Vienna.
I made all images in 2018 and 2022 with a Canon EOS6D mark1 (6D1) and Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (X70). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-mT9.
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