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A Weekend in Vienna: The Vienna Secession
“Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime. And, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This past summer, I accomplished one of my longtime travel wishes: a visit to Vienna to see some of the works of the Secessionists. As many of you know, the Vienna Secession was a group of artists who resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists in 1897. During my academic years, the drawings of Otto Wagner, Joshep Olbrich, Gustav Klimt, and others from the group fascinated me. I wanted to see in person the architectural masterpieces inspired by many of those illustrations.
Kirche am Steinhof (Church of St. Leopold) designed by Otto Wagner, Koloman Moser, and Othmar Schimkowitz
Now from experience I can say that one must see the sensualities of translations from paper to three dimensions. Much of the building details are delicate, yet distinctively expressive. I admired the boldness of these details and the rare craftsmanship in all the architectural statements. In addition, the intimate scales mesh well with the surrounding public buildings without feeling cold or monumental.
Roofing details from the Post Office Savings Bank designed by Otto Wagner
One of the big surprises for me during my trip was seeing the golden cabbage at the Secession Building and realizing the dome is not so much a cabbage but beautifully gilded foliage of laurel leaves. I hope that doesn’t ruin it for anyone, and I’m sure the nickname will stay around for a long time.
Facade details of the Succession Building by Joseph Maria Olbrich and Koloman Moser
In closing, I must say that upon returning home, I developed a new love from Vienna: the Sacher-Torte. What a wonderful chocolate cake! If my photos don’t inspire you to take a trip to Austria, perhaps I can temp you with dessert. Enjoy.