Vienna – Art Nouveau architecture around the Naschmarkt

The German form of Art Nouveau is known as Jugendstil (literally ‘Youth Style’). In Austria it took a particular form known as the Vienna Secession (which took its lead from the Munich Secession).

At the eastern end of the Naschmarkt, over the junction at 12 Friedrichstraße, is the Secession building It’s marked in red on my map.

Affectionately known as “the Gilded Cabbage”, it was built in 1898 (the architect was Joseph Olbrich) as an exhibition space to present the works of the Modernist painters who had seceded (hence the name of the movement) from the fine arts academy nearby, the Künstlerhaus.

Gustav Klimt was elected to be the first president of the group. The painter Egon Schiele, the architect Otto Wagner and the graphic artist Koloman Moser were prominent members, amongst many others.

The inscription above the door, “Jeder Zein sein Kunst, Jeder Kunst sein Freiheit”, translates as, “To every age its art, to every art its freedom.” The gorgon heads (women with snakes instead of hair) and owls are symbols of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.

I think it’s a beautiful building. Make sure you walk around the outside as well to see all the details.

The exhibition in the principal gallery room on the ground floor did little more than hurt my eyes but I felt the €10 entrance was worthwhile just for the basement gallery where you can see some of Klimt’s most famous works; fragments of the mural known as the Beethovenfries. Click on the photos for the best view.

From the Gilded Cabbage it’s a short walk to Karlsplatz, the square over the road from the Künstlerhaus. Here you can see Otto Wagner’s beautiful green cast iron pavilions which were once stations on the U4 train line.

One of them is now a café where you can see some of the original interior decoration.

Running parallel to the Naschmarkt, on Linke Wienzeile, you’ll find some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau buildings in Vienna at no.s 38 and 40. Built in 1899, they were designed by the Otto Wagner during his secessionist phase.

My favourite is the Majolikahaus at Linke Wienzeile 40. The name comes from the flower patterned tiles on the façade which are in beautiful shades of pink, green and blue.

Next door at Linke Wienzeile 38 is the Medallionhaus, so named for the golden medallions, palm leaves, and garlands which adorn it.

The entrance is around the corner on Köstlergasse.

Very historical but not particularly beautiful (and not Art Nouveau) is the Theater an der Wien at Linke Wienzeile 14. Notwithstanding its modern façade, it’s the oldest theatre in Vienna, built in 1801.

If you walk down the side of the theatre on Millöckergasse you’ll find the theatre’s stage door, the famous Pappagenotor.

Above the door is a homage to Pappageno, the Panlike character in Mozart’s Magic Flute.

On the wall near the Pappagenotor is a plaque recognizing that Beethoven lived and composed parts of his Third Symphony and the Kreuzer Sonata inside.

There are a few other imposing buildings along this street.

See my previous post for Food at the Naschmarkt.

Restaurants in the centre next!

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