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Vienna's Turn-Of-The-Century Golden Age

In 2018, Vienna is celebrating the anniversary of its fin-de-siècle period. Klimt, Schiele, and co. are on display at museums around the city.

Around the year 1900, Vienna emerged as one of the major intellectual and artistic hubs in Europe. Art Nouveau, the advent of psychoanalysis, and a society that turned its gaze inward, away from the Monarchy, paved the way for the era of Viennese Modernism. This eclectic period in Vienna’s history grew from an artistic and philosophical movement to a way of life in the city. Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, and Otto Wagner are four artists that famously proliferated Viennese Modernism in their work, which was daring, provocative, and always captivating. 

2018 marks a bittersweet anniversary for Viennese Modernism: 100 years ago, Schiele, most famous for his hauntingly contorted nudes, Klimt, painter of “The Kiss,”, Moser, co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte design collective, and Wagner, Vienna’s foremost Art Nouveau architect, all passed away. To celebrate their fiercely innovative work, the city is hosting special exhibits across many of its museums. Once again, Vienna's coffee houses, art galleries, and salons are abuzz with the names of modernists, who still intrigue and challenge their audience today.

Special Exhibits

  • Klimt collection at the Leopold Museum © Peter Rigaud Klimt collection at the Leopold Museum © Peter Rigaud

Jan 18-June 10, 2018 Vienna 1900! Klimt – Moser – Gerstl – Kokoschka/Leopold Museum 

Selected works by Gustav Klimt and Koloman Moser, the main proponents of Viennese Art Nouveau, as well as the expressionists Richard Gerstl and Oskar Kokoschka. Key pieces by Klimt such as Death and Life are on show alongside paintings by Moser, including Venus in the Grotto. Outstanding examples of Moser’s design output from the turn of the century including items of furniture, arts and crafts and Wiener Werkstätte posters will all be on show.

Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna,

Feb 13-Sep 2, 2018: Stairway to Klimt. The “Klimt Bridge” + “Nuda Veritas”/KHM

The “Klimt Bridge” constructed in the central stairway of the Kunsthistorisches Museum on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the painter’s birth 2012 will be erected again in 2018. At a height of 12 meters, it provides a direct view of artworks including the cycle of 13 paintings created by Klimt that adorn the interior between the pillars and arcades.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna,

Feb 22-Oct 7, 2018: Viennese Modernism. A new musical era/House of Music. The Museum of Sound

The House of Music’s new exhibition sheds light on this exciting era of change through the prism of music, and supplements the presentations on the Second Viennese School and the composer Gustav Mahler. A temporary exhibition is dedicated to him and his contemporaries Alban Berg and Anton von Webern.

House of Music. The Museum of Sound, Seilerstätte 30, 1010 Vienna,

Feb 23-Nov 4, 2018: Egon Schiele. The Jubilee Exhibition/Leopold Museum

Paintings, works on paper and numerous archive pieces, such as documents and certificates illustrate the major themes in Egon Schiele’s creative output: his break with tradition, his self-discovery as an expressionist artist, breaking taboos, spirituality and metamorphosis as well as special portrait poses. 

Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna,

Mar 21-Oct 7, 2018: Wagner, Hoffmann, Loos and Furniture Design in Viennese Modernism. Artists, Patrons and Producers/Imperial Furniture Collection

This exhibition presents the work of the key architects of the Wiener Moderne – Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann – as interior designers and furniture designers and their differing approaches to the two disciplines. Another part of the show looks at the manufacturers behind the furniture and interiors such as Portois & Fix and Gebrüder Thonet as well as their often high-profile patrons (such as Berta Zuckerkandl). Large-format architecture photos by Walter Zednicek show key buildings of Viennese Modernism.

Hofmobilliendepot. Imperial Furniture Collection. Andreasgasse 7, 1070 Vienna,

May 30-Oct 14, 2018: The Place to Be. Salons – Spaces of Emancipation/Jewish Museum Vienna

What went on at Viennese salons between 1780 and 1930 would best be described as networking. Usually shaped by their female Jewish hosts, these communication spaces were also places of emancipation and empowerment: for women who were still largely excluded from society and for the development of a critical bourgeois civil society. 

Jewish Museum Vienna, Palais Eskeles, Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Vienna,

Dec 19, 2018-Apr 22, 2019: Koloman Moser/MAK

The Wiener Werkstätte archives, built up by the community of the same name established by Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Fritz Waerndorfer in 1903, are now owned by the MAK. The aim of this internationally respected group was to bring art into all areas of human existence. This exhibition highlights Moser’s extensive output.

MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna,

Year round: Klimt Villa | Gustav Klimt’s Studio

The ground floor of the Villa used by Klimt as a studio between 1911 and 1918 features a reconstruction of the original furnishings and various media related to Klimt’s work. In all, around 50 oil paintings and hundreds of sketches were created here. 

Klimt Villa | Gustav Klimt’s Studio, Feldmühlgasse 11, 1130 Vienna,

For a list of all special exhibitions, click here.

Special Tours

  • Art Nouveau Facade © Wien Tourismus / Christian Stemper Art Nouveau Facade © Wien Tourismus / Christian Stemper
  • Secession building © Wien Tourismus / Christian Stemper Secession building © Wien Tourismus / Christian Stemper
  • Ernst Fuchs Museum © Österreich Werbung / Roxana Farca Ernst Fuchs Museum © Österreich Werbung / Roxana Farca
  • Postsparkasse © Postsparkasse / Walter Zednicek Postsparkasse © Postsparkasse / Walter Zednicek

Otto Wagner Church

Otto Wagner designed the Weisse Stadt (White City) project in Vienna’s 14th district. The development comprised a hospital, Art Nouveau theater and the Church of St. Leopold.

Guided tours in 2018:

Otto Wagner’s White City (available in English by prior arrangement)

Otto Wagner Church of St. Leopold (available in English by prior arrangement)

Otto Wagner sanatorium, Baumgartner Höhe 1, 1140 Vienna, contact:

Sigmund Freud Museum

The tour takes in the places where Freud saw patients, met friends and compared notes with fellow professionals: mansion houses and coffeehouses on the Ringstrasse boulevard, the University of Vienna and the former site of Vienna General Hospital.

Price includes: admission to the Sigmund Freud Museum

Tours can be booked individually: (contact:

Sigmund Freud Museum, Berggasse 19, 1090 Vienna,

Addiditonal Tours:

Marieta Teich: The tour begins with Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze in the Secession, and ends in the grounds of the old general hospital (duration: 3hrs).

Katharina Ebner: Special tours in 2018: Otto Wagner – Anniversary Tour: the Man Who Made Vienna Modern; The Straight and Sweeping Line: Viennese Art and Design from 1900 to the Present Day; New Vienna: The Birth of Modernism 

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