Leopold Museum i
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Overdoor Relief for 14th Exhibition of the Vienna Secession (replica by Willi Kopf, 2011)
(Pirnitz/Brtnice 1870–1956 Vienna)
The 14th Exhibition of the Vienna Secession, called the “Beethoven Exhibition”, the highlights of which were the sculpture by Max Klinger (1857–1920) and Gustav Klimt’s (1862–1918) Beethoven Frieze, was given a design in the spirit of the occasion by Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956). “Limitations of means available and the self-evident duty of using genuine materials throughout, of resolutely avoiding make-believe and lie, equally demand adhering to the greatest simplicity in material and form vocabulary,” the exhibition catalogue [^1] said. The relief, jokingly referred to by Hoffmann as “crystallized plaster,” filled a wall niche above the entrance into the right lateral gallery of the Secession building. Hoffmann’s rhythmicized arrangement of upright rectangular blocks, which are based on architectural principles, anticipates tendencies of geometric abstraction as were introduced into art only years later by artists like František Kupka (1871–1957), Kazimir Malevich (1878–1935), and Georges Vantongerloo (1886–1965).
[^1] XIV. Ausstellung der Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs Secession Wien. Klinger Beethoven, Wien 1903, S. 23 (Ausst.-Kat. Secession Wien, Wien, 15.04.–27.06.1902).
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