Recent Articles
Genesis Tramaine Artspace Edition Debuts at UNTITLED, ART
Artist to Watch
Genesis Tramaine Artspace Edition Debuts at UNTITLED, ART
5 Great Pieces To Bid On in the Together In Distance Auction
Investment Pieces
5 Great Pieces To Bid On in the Together In Distance Auction
What to Say About Your New Robert Longo Print
Living With Art
What to Say About Your New Robert Longo Print
News Of A Very Special Auction
Investment Pieces
News Of A Very Special Auction
10 Questions for LatchKey Gallery co-founders
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for LatchKey Gallery co-founders Natalie Kates and Amanda L. Uribe
INTERVIEW: Elmgreen & Dragset
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Elmgreen & Dragset 'What We Need to do, As Cultural Workers Today, Is to Find a New Way of Getting Back Our Dignity as Citizens'
10 Questions for RESORT Gallery co-founders Seth Adelsberger and
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for RESORT Gallery co-founders Seth Adelsberger and Alex Ebstein
10 Questions for River Gallery Founder Carl E. Smith
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for River Gallery Founder Carl E. Smith
10 Questions for Davis Editions and Originals Founder Jeff Davis
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Davis Editions and Originals Founder Jeff Davis
10 Questions for Baby Blue Gallery Founder Caleb Beck
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Baby Blue Gallery Founder Caleb Beck
10 Questions for Carvalho Park's Jennifer Carvalho
10 x 10 x 10
10 Questions for Carvalho Park co-Founder Jennifer Carvalho
The Making of Love, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme
Close Look
'A Piece of Art That I am Really Proud Of' - Rihanna on Love, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme
INTERVIEW: Sterling Ruby
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Sterling Ruby 'In America, often the response to negative aspects of the system is to retreat to platitudes about morals and family values. In this way nothing is achieved.'
INTERVIEW: Kerry James Marshall
Meet the Artist
INTERVIEW: Kerry James Marshall 'I never think of artworks as having a quality that’s intended to mobilize people to action. They don’t make people do things. But they do put questions in the mind of a viewer that they may not have entertained before...'
Come On Our Virtual Studio Visit With Maria Jimena Herrera
Meet the Artist
Come On Our Virtual Studio Visit With Maria Jimena Herrera

On Trend

The Secession Strikes Back: 5 Rising Art Stars Inspired by the Vienna of Klimt and Schiele

By

The Secession Strikes Back: 5 Rising Art Stars Inspired by the Vienna of Klimt and Schiele
A detail of Hope Gangloff's Late Night (Olga Alexandrovskaya), 2015, on view at Susan Inglett Gallery in Chelsea.

The Vienna of the past looms large in the popular imagination, with the Hollywood film Woman in Gold bringing Gustav Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer to the big screen and high auction estimates for another painting by the artist, Portrait of Gertrud Loew, making headlines in advance of a Sotheby's sale. Even the first Vienna Biennale, which opens next week, is something of a throwback to the days of the Vienna Secession and the Wiener Werkstätte in its emphasis on architecture, design, and the applied arts.

There's a reason for the time warp. As the 14-year-old Neue Galerie has shown, the Vienna of that era was a vital, internationally-minded, interdisciplinary art center that continues to fuel new books and exhibitions—including one timed to the release of Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren and based on the story of the museum’s trophy painting, Klimt’s heavily gilded Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. “Klimt, in particular, has become not just a superstar but a mega-star,” Peter Vergo writes in the introduction to a new edition of Art in Vienna 1898-1918.

The past couple of years have also seen a flowering of Vienna Secession and Wiener Werkstätte-influenced activity by contemporary artists. Taking inspiration from multitasking aesthetes such as Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, and yes, Klimt, they are orchestrating erudite and sophisticated mixes of art, architecture and design. Below are five noteworthy artists who have been studying Vienna intently (one of whom even lives there).

 

SARAH CROWNER

CrownerExhibition view: Sarah Crowner, "Everywhere the Line Is Looser," Casey Kaplan, New York, 2015

In her pieced-fabric paintings and ceramic-tiled floors, the New York-based artist Sarah Crowner turns little scraps of design history into contemporary geometric abstractions. Crowner’s recent solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan, “Everywhere the Line Is Looser,” included a bold blue-and-white work based on a fabric pattern by the Wiener Werkstätte co-founder Koloman Moser. Werkstätte references were just as prominent in her previous New York show, at Nicelle Beauchene in 2014, where turquoise ceramic floor tiles were laid out in a herringbone pattern derived from Josef Hoffmann. Specific visual cues like these are certainly important to Crowner, but so is the overall spirit of Vienna circa 1900 to 1920. As she told Artforum in 2011, “I’m thinking about moments in the early twentieth century when the avant-gardes were collaborating freely and cross-pollinating from music to theater to painting to poetry.”

 

JOSIAH MCELHENY

McElhenyJosiah McElheny, Study for the Center Is Everywhere, 2012. Brass, cut lead crystal, electric lighting, hand-bound book
84 x 32 inches, installed 6 inches above the floor; book approx. 7 x 10 inches.

Working mainly in glass, the sculptor Josiah McElheny revisits Modernist theories, movements, and leaders and gives them a dazzling new visual identity. His interests are highly specific and sometimes obscure—the 19th-century German writer Paul Scheerbart and the contemporaneous French socialist Auguste Blanqui have figured in his projects, as have better-known talents such as Carlo Scarpa and Alexander McQueen—but early-20th-century Vienna is a frequent source of inspiration. McElheny reviewed the Neue Galerie’s 2007 exhibition “Josef Hoffmann: Interiors, 1902-1913” for Artforum, and has made focused homages to Hoffmann and Adolf Loos that include an all-white re-creation of Vienna’s Adolf Loos-designed “American Bar” and the Hoffmannesque brass and crystal chandelier, pictured above, from his 2012 solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

 

VERENA DENGLER 

DenglerAn installation view of Verena Dengler's exhibition at MAK (Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art), Vienna, 2013.

Based in Vienna, Verena Dengler is surrounded by reminders of the city's historical avant-gardes. A sort of one-woman Werkstätte, she uses painting, embroidery, graphic design, and sculpture in her sprawling installations (one of which was a standout at this year's New Museum Triennial). Some of her works pay homage to undersung female artists from the Vienna scene, as in her Sculpture für Camilla Birke und Maria Likarz, Wiener Werkstätte; others, like her 2014 self-portrait The Verena Complex, explore the city's well-known contributions to the field of psychology. Dengler is currently showing canvases adorned with both paint and needlepoint at the Thomas Duncan Gallery in Los Angeles, in a show with the tongue-in-cheek title "American Painting" (through June 20).

 

LUCY MCKENZIE

McKenzieLucy McKenzie's Loos House, 2013, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Trained as a decorative painter, the Brussels-based artist Lucy McKenzie has long had an interest in the ornamental surfaces of Viennese architecture and their connection to the Arts and Crafts movement in her native Britain. (The architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a fellow Glaswegian, had close ties to the Vienna Secession). Her interests also extend to non-Western design; McKenzie's 2013 show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam included both a faux-marbled model interior inspired by Adolf Loos's Villa Müller in Prague and panels reproducing Arabic motifs from the Alhambra palace in Granada. McKenzie's works may not always look like they were made in fin-de-siecle Vienna, but they remind us that the Secession and the Werkstätte were defined by collaboration and openness to outside influences.

 

HOPE GANGLOFF

GangloffHope Gangloff, Catherine, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 62 x 36 in. Courtesy of Susan Inglett Gallery.

The painter Hope Gangloff specializes in portraits with strong contour lines, jewel-like color and abundant decorative interest—works that have earned her frequent comparisons to Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt (especially when her subject is a pale young woman with flowing locks and a striated dress, as in the painting above from her current show at Susan Inglett in Chelsea.) "I like to collect colorful things that inspire me. I have yards and yards of fabric, and clothes I could never wear but that have a good pattern," she told Artspace in 2013. The connection isn't just a formal one; Gangloff depicts friends and family from her own closely inscribed arty circles in Brooklyn and upstate New York, foregrounding her bohemian lifestyle just as Klimt did in his sandals and smock.

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS