To pay tribute to a
new ideal of beauty in 1897
Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria
Olbrich, Koloman Moser, Carl Moll and several other artists became
the founding fathers of an internationally recognized group of
artists calling themselves the Vienna Secession, Klimt being their
Breaking away from the official academies by young artists was
a feature of the Arts in the 1890's, and in Munich, Berlin, Dresden,
Dusseldorf, Leipzig and Weimar young artists protested
The Vienna Secession hosted 23 exhibitions from 1878-1905 in which
they introduced the Viennese public to Impressionism, Symbolism,
Post-Impressionism, Japanese art, Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau.
From 1900 and the 8th exhibition the Secession introduced
British art and the work of
Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The Secessionists 14th Exhibition was a homage to Beethoven, and
Gustav Klimt contributed his Beethoven frieze.
inspiration from Beethovens 9th symphony Klimt planned
a total experience with the 4th movement of the symphony
being played. This last movement sets to music Schiller's poem
The Ode to Joy.
This major work of the Viennese Art Nouveau was a 34 metre long
frieze, and it was planned to destroy it afterward, however the
Beethoven Frieze was bought by a collector who cut it from the
wall in 8 parts
In 1973 the Austrian Republic bought and restored it and in 1983
it was re-mounted and made accessible to the public at the Osterreichische
Galerie Belvedere, Vienna.
The 3 sections of the frieze form a narrative with the main character
a knight - the left-hand wall being "Yearning for Happiness"
- the Front wall "The Hostile Powers" where he confronts
the forces of evil - - and the right-hand wall "The Longing
for Happiness is fulfilled by "Poetry"" where he
reaches the kingdom of Poetry and Art and finds True Love in a