A view into Secession's art collection. Photo: Hessam Samavatian
A view into Secession's art collection. Photo: Hessam Samavatian

Archive & Collection

The Secession owns an extensive archive. Despite regrettable losses due to World War II, it offers comprehensive insight into the Secession’s rich exhibition history spanning almost twelve decades.

The archive, which currently holds around 13,200 items, is organized in three divisions with the following foci:

Documentary archive: This division contains the correspondence between the presidents and board members of the Secession and artists including Wassily Kandinsky, Claude Monet, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, and Paul Signac (ca. 1880–1960); files of the general administration and the exhibition-organizing committees (1898–); historic plans; and historic documentary materials such as invitations (1898–) and posters advertising exhibitions (1945–).

Image archive: This division collects historic and recent photographs capturing the history of the building and the Secession’s exhibitions (ca. 1898–). It also contains photographs from the legendary artists’ balls held at the Secession, which were a highlight of the Viennese carnival celebrations in the 1950s and 1960s.

Publikation archive: This division includes historic and recent catalogues and artists’ books produced by the Secession as well as a complete set of the journal Ver Sacrum (1898–1903).

The Secession’s art collection is directly related to the history of its exhibition program: it consists of works donated by the exhibiting artists and now encompasses around 2,200 oil paintings, works of graphic art, sculptures, sketches, and objects.