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Joseph Maria Olbrich, Front of the Secession, 1898, Photo: Secession
Joseph Maria Olbrich, Front of the Secession, 1898, Photo: Secession


The erection of its own exhibition building was on of the guiding principles of the "Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession" that was discussed in the foundation meeting. The Secession members commissioned the hardly 30-year-old architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, who was at the time a member of Otto Wagner's atelier, to design the building, which was to become a key work of Viennese Art Nouveau. A site along the Ringstrasse was originally chosen, but Olbrich's designs met with violent reaction on the part of the Municipal Council. It was only after the site was transferred to a plot on Friedrichstrasse that the Municipal Council granted permission for "the erection of a provisional exhibition pavilion for the period of the next ten years" (minutes of the meeting of the Municipal Council of 17 November, 1897).


Secession around 1902, Photo: Secession
Secession around 1902, Photo: Secession


The necessary financial resources for construction was partly supplied by patrons, especially the industrial magnate Karl Wittgenstein, and partly from the proceeds of the first exhibition in the k..k.Gartenbaugesellschaft (Royal and Imperial Gardening Society). The Municipality of Vienna allocated the site along the Wienzeile. Joseph Maria Olbrich design the building over the course ten months, continually modifying his designs to correspond to new requirements, while reviewing and refining them at the same time. The cornerstone was laid on 28 April 1898 within the framework of a small celebration. Only six months later, on 29 October 1898, the construction was complete.


 
For further information and photographic material please contact:
 
Katharina Schniebs
Secession, Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession
Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna
Tel: +43-1-5875307-21, Fax: +43-1-5875307-34
presse@secession.at