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Scandalous and superb - the Secession

Today, it is one of Austria’s most photographed structures and a leading centre for contemporary art. But when it opened in 1898, the Vienna Secession touched off a scandal.

Vienna Secession © Österreich Werbung/Wiesenhofer

For more than 100 years, the Vienna Secession has been an important centre for art and architecture. Shows and exhibitions by contemporary artists have constantly contributed to the public discourse on art.

Gustav Klimt’s wonderful Beethoven frieze, in the building’s basement, is today seen as one of the key works in the artist’s development, although at the time it was as controversial as the Secession itself. The imaginative, monumental and sometimes distressing narrative stretches over three painted walls and is based on Richard Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

The magnificent building, with its golden “cabbage dome” was supposed to complement the Ringstraße buildings, but the Municipal Council only granted permission for the erection after the site was transferred to a plot on Friedrichstrasse. The architect, 30-year-old Joseph Maria Olbrich, has designed the building, which now represents an icon of Viennese Jugendstil (Art Nouveau).

Vienna Secession, Association of Visual Artists
Friedrichstraße 12
1010 Vienna
P: 0043-1-587 53 07
E: office@secession.at
www.secession.at

Opening hours
Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm