Because the Leopold Museum as a whole was a disappointment (see yesterdays blog), I focused on the other art inside the museum. I had seen all the paintings by Schiele and Klimt before, but were less familiar with the beautiful Munch and excellent series of Koloman Moser paintings which were exhibited. Especially the series by Moser were impressive and showed the transition into the more Modern art of the century to come. Next to the paintings there were some excellent examples of the Wiener Werkstatte exhibition and the combination of these 2 made the visit, except for the disappointing display of Schiele art, still worthwhile.
Born in Vienna, he studied at the Wiener Akademie and the Kunstgewerbeschule, where he also taught from 1899.
His designs in architecture, furniture, jewellery, graphics, and tapestries helped characterise the work of this era. Moser drew upon the clean lines and repetitive motifs of classical Greek and Roman art and architecture in reaction to the Baroque decadence of his turn-of-the-century Viennese surroundings.
In 1901/1902, he published a portfolio titled Die Quelle (“The Source”) of elegant graphic designs for such things as tapestries, fabrics, and wallpaper.
In 1903, Moser and his colleague Josef Hoffmann founded Wiener Werkstätte, whose studios and artisans produced a number of aesthetically and functionally designed household goods, including glassware, flatware, silverware, rugs and textiles. In 1904, he created the Apse mosaic and glass windows for the Kirche am Steinhof in Vienna.
In 1905, together with the Klimt group, he separated from the Vienna Secession. The same year, he married Editha (Ditha) Mautner von Markhof, the daughter to one of Austria’s great industry fortunes.
In 1907 Moser, due to internal conflicts and as his plans for reorganising the Werkstätte (to cope with financial problems) weren’t realised, withdrew from the Wiener Werkstätte.
Koloman was one of the designers for Austria’s leading art journal Ver Sacrum. This art journal paid great attention to design and was designed mainly by Moser, Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann. His design for the cover of one edition of the art journal was later plagiarized by well known street artist and designer, Shepard Fairey.
Books on Moser and the Winer Werkstatte are available at www.ftn-books.com