In 1918, as World War I drew to a close, Europe lost four titans of Viennese Modernism: the artists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Koloman Moser, and the architect Otto Wagner. In honor of the centenary of their deaths, the Vienna Tourism Board is planning a massive citywide initiative, “Beauty and the Abyss,” a series of exhibitions highlighting the impact of these four artists, and a celebration of turn-of-the-century Wiener Moderne, or Viennese Modernism.
“Those four men were ahead of their time, very modern and forward thinking, and unafraid to break taboos,” Helena Hartlauer, a spokesperson for the Vienna Tourist Board, told artnet News. “Celebrating that legacy is a perfect opportunity for the city to showcase that era and its continued influence today.”
Of the four men being honored in Vienna, Klimt may be the most well known, a figure beloved for his erotic portraits of women, the most famous of which are lavishly embellished with gold leaf. His protege, Schiele, was even more sexually explicit in his depictions of women—advertisements for “Beauty and the Abyss” featuring his contorted nudes were even censored in Germany and the UK. Read more