Otto Wagner, Master of Viennese Art Nouveau – until in Paris until March 16th
This exhibition, designed and co-produced with the Wien Museum to commemorate the centenary of his death, is the first monograph devoted to him in France.
An architect and lead contractor, Otto Wagner was also an outstanding draughtsman. The exhibition features a rich collection of drawings from Otto Wagner’s architectural agency, currently stored at the Wien Museum. These illustrate Otto Wagner’s main projects but also a number of projects which were never produced, and the wide diversity of his work – from the smallest scale to the largest, from objects d’art to sprawling cities.
Finally, Otto Wagner’s work is placed in context with the Austrian artistic trends of his day, with which he was successively involved.
Almost 400 items from Viennese and Parisian museums have been brought together for the first time to trace Otto Wagner’s career. Extremely varied (including objects d’art, paintings, models, photographs and films, etc.) the works presented here invite us to discover or rediscover Otto Wagner’s art in early 1900s Vienna, and bear witness to the impressive scope of his talents.
Otto Wagner was one of the major figures of the European architectural scene at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The day after the 100th anniversary of his death, the Cité de l’architecture – heritage in Paris dedicated its first monographic exhibition in France from November 13 to March 16, 2020.
Designed and produced in co-production with the Wien Museum, the event is part of the Viennese Season launched in November 2019.
Through a thematic journey, the exhibition Otto Wagner. Master of Viennese Art Nouveau offers a true immersion in Wagner’s art from his role in the construction of the Austrian capital at the time of Imperial Vienna, to the Secession, from his urban development projects to the design of the interior spaces and furniture.
Art objects, paintings, models, photographs, films and multimedia are gathered for the first time in Paris, allowing us to retrace Otto Wagner’s career over a total area of 1000 m2.
About Otto Wagner
Otto Wagner (1841-1918) was one of the leading figures on the European architectural scene in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is considered a visionary as he anticipated many changes to architecture and art as a whole.
Otto Wagner, a generation before that of the main actors of Art Nouveau, played a decisive role in the modernization of architecture, thus accompanying the political, economic and social dynamism of contemporary Austria.
In particular, he proposed the creation of a rational architecture that is forward-looking and based on both new materials and innovative construction methods. When his creations constituted acts of liberation from the academic shackles in the eyes of the actors of modernity, they were unbearable provocations for the proponents of tradition, thus justifying the large number of projects conceived by architect, but not realized. His achievements as well as his writings have contributed greatly to the emergence of “modern architecture”.
Wagner understood that historically-based architecture focusing on the past stood in total contradiction to the political, economic and social dynamism of contemporary Austria.
His main works, from Vienna’s metropolitan infrastructure (1894-1901) to Vienna’s savings bank (1903-1910) and including the Kirche am Steinhof (church of Saint-Leopold – 1902-1904), are today considered as essential milestones for anyone looking to appreciate this decisive moment in contemporary architectural history, which saw the move from historicism to modernity.
Otto Wagner’s masterpieces take centre stage, and reconstructions of several interiors allow us to appreciate the refinement and elegance of his creations. Indeed, Wagner considered architecture as an all-encompassing work of art, a Gesamtkunstwerk with its interior decors and furnishings, in a quest to achieve the unity and coherence typical of the avant-garde of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The outstanding furniture items, objects d’art, textiles and lamps featured in the exhibition bear witness to Wagner’s decisive contribution to revitalising the decorative arts in his day.