Facing the Modern: Portrait in Vienna 1900

ISBN: 9781857095616
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): Gemma Blackshaw and Edmund de Waal
Format: hardback
Year published: 2013
Publisher: National Gallery Company
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 216
Illustrations: Illustrated in colour throughout


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An engaging look at how the middle classes of fin-de-siecleVienna used innovative portraiture to define their identity.

During the great flourishing of modern art in fin-de-siecleVienna, artists of that city focused on images of individuals. Their portraits depict artists, patrons, families, friends, intellectual allies, and society celebrities from the upwardly mobile middle classes. Viewed as a whole, the images allow us to reconstruct the subjects’ shifting identities as the Austro-Hungarian Empire underwent dramatic political changes, from the 1867 Ausgleich (Compromise) to the end of World War I.

This is viewed as a time when the avant-garde overthrew the academy, yet Facing the Modern tells a more complex story of the time through thought-provoking texts by numerous leading art historians. Their writings examine paintings by innovative artists such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele alongside earlier works, blurring the conventionally-held distinctions between 19th-century and early-20th-century art, and revealing surprising continuities in the production and consumption of portraits. This compelling book features works not only by famous names but also by lesser-known female and Jewish artists, giving a more complete picture of the time.


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