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Champions of the Fin-de-Siècle (1867-1914)

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Fin de siècle is French for end of the century. The term "fin de siècle" is commonly applied to French art and artists as the traits of the culture first appeared there, but the movement affected many European countries. The ideas and concerns developed by fin de siècle artists provided the impetus for movements like symbolism and modernism. The creative literary, artistic, architectural and musical talent concentrated in the city at the turn of the 20th century was unmatched.

The major political theme of the era was that of revolt against materialism, rationalism, positivism, bourgeois society and liberal democracy. The fin-de-siècle generation supported emotionalism, irrationalism, subjectivism and vitalism, while the mindset of the age saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.

Fin de siècle culture has been perceived to have influenced 20th century culture, such as Bohemian counterculture having similarities to punk counterculture in that both celebrate a romantic and willful sense of decay and rejection of social order.

England's ideological space was impacted by the philosophical waves of pessimism sweeping Europe, starting with the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer's work from before his death in 1860 and gradually impacting artists internationally Art Nouveau, Jugendstil in German: the modernist dreamscapes of the turn-of-the-20th century forever changed art and architecture.

The end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth are commonly referred to as the “fin-de-siècle,” a French term that means “end-of-the-century.” It is characterized by degeneration of traditional forms (e.g., the symphony or representational art) and radically new beginnings. Some writers associate decadence with this period as well. This is also the period when Freud introduced new ideas about the psyche.

Artists struggled for new ways of expression during this period. The mini-chapter on Debussy explores some of the alternatives developed in France. In Vienna, where Strauss worked most of his life, artists and writers (as well as musicians such as Arnold Schoenberg) contributed substantially to a growing modern style. Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele are three artists most closely associated with new trends in Vienna.

Leading Figures

  1. Peter Altenberg, writer, poet
  2. Eduard Arnhold industrialist, banker
  3. Béla_Bartók composer
  4. Vicki Baum writer
  5. Otto Brahm drama, literary critic
  6. Johannes R. Becher
  7. Max Beckmann painter, sculptor
  8. Richard Beer-Hoffmann dramatist, poet
  9. Moritz Benedikt neurologist
  10. Sarah Bernhardt stage & film actress
  11. Gyula Benczúr painter
  12. Hugo Bettauer writer, journalist
  13. Siegfried Bing art dealer
  14. Lujo Brentano economist
  15. Hermann Broch writer
  16. Elias Canetti Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981
  17. Veza Canetti writer, playwright
  18. Bruno Cassirer
  19. Paul Cassirer
  20. Moïse-de-Camondo
  21. Lovis Corinth painter
  22. Edward Craig
  23. Adolf Dessauer banker, writer
  24. Tilla Otillie Durielux
  25. Josef Engelhart painter
  26. Alfred Flechtheim
  27. Eberhard Freiherr von Bodenhausen Degener
  28. Henry Ford Industrialist, innovator
  29. Sigmund Freud psychoanalyst
  30. Walter Gropius architect - Bauhaus School
  31. Gerhart Hauptmann
  32. Hugo Curt Herrmann
  33. Theodor Herzl journalist - Zionist visionary
  34. Alfred Walter von Heymel
  35. Josef Hoffmann architect
  36. Hugo von Hofmannsthal writer, poet, dramatist
  37. Vladimir Jabotinsky author, poet, Zionist
  38. Wassily Kandinsky painter
  39. Franz Kafka writer
  40. Hans Kelsen jurist, philosopher
  41. André-Gide
  42. Harry Graf Kessler
  43. Gustav Klimt, symbolist painter
  44. Oskar Kokoschka artist, poet
  45. Karl Kraus journalist, satirist
  46. Gyula_Krúdy writer, journalist
  47. Max Kurzweil painter
  48. Ödön Lechner architect
  49. Ephraim Moses Lilien art nouveau illustrator
  50. Adolf Loos architect
  51. Gustav Mahler composer, conductor
  52. Katia Mann
  53. Thomas Mann Nobel Prize in Literature, 1929
  54. Carl Moll
  55. Sylvie Monnom
  56. Koloman Moser artist
  57. Gabriele Münter artist
  58. Aleksander Alexandre Natanson
  59. Alphonse Mucha Art Nouveau painter
  60. Louis Alfred Athis Natanson
  61. Maria Zofia Olga Zenajda Misia Natanson
  62. Thadée Tadeusz Natanson
  63. Friedrich Nietzsche philosopher
  64. Max Nordau Zionist leader, physician
  65. Hermann Obrist sculptor
  66. Joseph Maria Olbrich architect
  67. Max Oppenheimer painter
  68. Karl Ernst Osthaus
  69. Karl Popper philospher, economist
  70. Max Reinhardt actor, director
  71. Rainer Maria Rilke poet
  72. Joseph Roth journalist, writer
  73. Felix Salten writer, critic
  74. Egon Schiele figurative painter
  75. Arthur Schnitzler author, dramatist
  76. Arnold Schoenberg composer, painter
  77. Rudolf-Alexander-Schröder
  78. Fritz Schumacher architect, urban designer
  79. Jose Maria Sert
  80. Rudolf Steiner philospher, architect
  81. William Sternheim
  82. Ernst Stöhr painter
  83. Henry Van de Velde painter, architect
  84. Marie Louise van-de-Velde
  85. Otto Wagner architect, urban planner
  86. Alma Mahler Werfel
  87. Franz Werfel novelist, playwright
  88. Oscar Wilde writer, poet
  89. Ludwig Wittgenstein philosopher
  90. William Butler Yeats Nobel Laureate poet
  91. Stefan Zweig writer

Fin de siècle and Viennese Secession

The Vienna Secession was established on 3 April 1897 by Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Max Kurzweil, Josef Engelhart, Ernst Stöhr, Wilhelm List, and other artists. It was a ‘secession’ indeed, a split-off from the Vienna Society of Visual Artists (Künstlerhaus) that had been motivated by a vehement rejection of the latter’s conservatism and notion of art still rooted in Historicism.

Prominent donations the Secession made to the Modern Gallery, which had been founded in 1903 and preceded the Belvedere as an institution, included The Plains of Auvers (1890) by Vincent van Gogh, the bust of Henri de Rochefort-Luçay (1897) by Auguste Rodin, and The Evil Mothers (1894) by Giovanni Segantini; these works marked the beginnings of today’s internationally acclaimed collection of early twentieth-century art. At its heart is the Secession itself, personified by Gustav Klimt, whose masterpiece The Kiss (1908) is regarded as the monumental icon of Viennese Art Nouveau.

 In 1905, Gustav Klimt and a group of artists and architects, such as Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, Richard Luksch, Wilhelm Bernatzik, Max Kurzweil, Wilhelm List, Carl Moll, Koloman Moser, and Emil Orlik, left the Secession. The fundamental issue that had been up for discussion was whether the decorative arts should be included in the prevalent concept of art. Klimt and his like-minded colleagues fervently advocated for art and everyday life to merge and form a unity. With its outstanding exhibition events Kunstschau (1908) and Internationale Kunstschau (1909), the Klimt Group offered such young talents as Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Max Oppenheimer, and many others a future-oriented platform. Source

The culture of Viennese Jewry at the fin de siècle

The wealth of culture that the Jewish community of Vienna developed in the short period of its flourishing - between the middle of the nineteenth century and its destruction by the Nazis - is the more astonishing as Vienna had no Jewish community of any size before the mid-nineteenth century. Jews were banned from what was then the imperial capital until the revolution of 1848 and were not fully emancipated from all restrictions of residence until 1867, as part of the reforms that followed Austria’s defeat by Prussia in the war of 1866. 
The Jewish contribution to the culture of Vienna in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries extended across the range of cultural and intellectual activity.

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