The Female Secession: Art and the Decorative at the Viennese Women’s Academy 9780271086507

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The Female Secession: Art and the Decorative at the Viennese Women’s Academy

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Art and the Decorative at the Viennese Women’s Academy


The Pennsylvania State University Press University Park, Pennsylvania

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Names: Brandow-Faller, Megan, author. Title: The female Secession : art and the deco-

058687 Copyright © 2020 Megan Brandow-Faller

rative at the Viennese Women’s Academy /

All rights reserved

Megan Brandow-Faller.

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Description: University Park, Pennsylvania : The

Published by The Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University Press, [2020]

State University Press,

| Includes bibliographical references and

University Park, PA 16802–1003

index. Summary: “Examines the work of artists trained

The Pennsylvania State University Press is

at the Viennese Women’s Academy in the

a member of the Association of University

late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Explores generational struggles and diverging artistic philosophies on art, craft, and

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University Press to use acid-free paper. Publi-

Identifiers: LCCN 2019058687 | ISBN 9780271085043 (cloth) Subjects: LCSH: Wiener Frauenakademie—History. | Women artists—Education—Austria—Vienna— History—20th century. | Women artists—Education—Austria—Vienna— History—19th century. | Women artists—Austria—Vienna—History—20th century. | Women artists—Austria— Vienna—History—19th century. | Decorative arts—Austria—Vienna—History—20th century. | Decorative arts—Austria— Vienna—History—19th century. | Art, Austrian—20th century. | Art, Austrian—19th century.

cations on uncoated stock satisfy the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Material, ansi z39.48–1992.



No one needs architects, arts-and-craft school students, or painting, embroidering, ceramic-making, valuable material-wasting, dilettante Hofratstöchter (daughters of senior civil servants), or other little misses from good households who regard craft as a way of making pocket change or killing time before walking down the aisle. —Adolf loos, 1927

[A] craftswoman. Do you know what that is? She designs, or rather carves . . . crazy necklaces and rings, modern things you know, all corners, and clasps of fir. I believe she can also plait straw mats. The last time she was here she gave me a lecture, like a professor, about African art. —Joseph Roth, 1938


List of Illustrations xi Acknowledgments xiii List of Abbreviations xv

Introduction: A Female Secession 1 Part I Women’s Art Education 1. The Art of Unlearning at the Viennese Women’s Academy, 1897–1908 23 2. Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts in the Böhm School 47

3. Separate but Equal? Academic Accreditation and the Question of a Female Aesthetic at the Viennese Women’s Academy, 1908–28 73

Part II The Female Secession 4. Kinderkunst and Frauenkunst at the 1908 Kunstschau 101 5. The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics: “Crafty Women” and the Interwar Feminization of the Applied Arts 125

Notes 209 Bibliography 225 Index 243

6. Decorative Trouble: Collectivity, Craft, and the Decorative Women of the Wiener Frauenkunst 157 Conclusion: The Collapse of the Female Secession, 1928–38 189

Il lu stRAtIons

Figures 1. Vally Wieselthier, Gudrun Baudisch, and Kitty Rix in the WW ceramics workshops, ca. 1928 4 2. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Selbstporträt (Self-portrait), ca. 1903 24 3. Harlfinger-Zakucka, stenciled image from Ver Sacrum 5, no. 17 (1902) 25 4. Böhm school stenciling course, ca. 1903 37 5. Minka Podhajská, cover design for Ver Sacrum 5, no. 17 (1902) 51 6. Podhajská, stenciled image, ca. 1902 56 7. WW exhibition, Mannheim Kunsthalle, 1907 57 8. WW exhibition, Galerie Miethke, December 1905 58 9. Podhajská, stenciled image from Schlablonen Drucke, ca. 1903 59 10. Paper-mosaic collages, undated 68 11. Paper-mosaic collage (fruit basket), undated 69 12. Leopoldine Kolbe, Blumenkorb (Basket of flowers), 1907 69 13. Maria Pranke, Frohe Ostern (Happy Easter), 1909 70 14. WFA logo, ca. 1926 74 15. Böhm school artistic toys, exhibited 1908 86 16. Harlfinger-Zakucka, artistic toy, ca. 1908 87 17. WFA academic painting class, 1937 90 18. WFA academic sculpture class, 1937 90 19. Elfriede Berbalk, silver boxes, exhibited 1925 93 20. Gertrude Brausewetter, Untitled, undated 105 21. Folk-art toys from the collection of Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska 106 22. Linocuts of Bauernspielzeuge (peasant toys) from the collection of Josef Hoffmann, undated 108

23. Harlfinger-Zakucka, artistic toys, ca. 1908 110 24. Harlfinger-Zakucka, artistic toys, ca. 1906 110 25. Podhajská, artistic toys, ca. 1906 111 26. Böhm school, Art for the Child at the 1908 Kunstschau, room 29 115 27. Böhm school, Improvisierter Festzug (Improvised parade) for Art for the Child, 1908 116 28. Harlfinger-Zakucka, children’s nursery suite for Art for the Child, 1908 116 29. Josef Hoffmann, Haus Moll in the Hohe Warte Villenkolonie 118 30. Hoffmann, service staircase, Haus Hennenberg in the Hohe Warte Villenkolonie 118 31. Photographs of Maria Likarz-Strauss, Gudrun Baudisch, Vally Wieselthier, and Mathilde Flögl, 1928 132 32. Figurines in the WW sales catalogue, 1928 134 33. Wieselthier, Figur mit zwei Vögeln (Figure with two birds), 1920 135 34. Dina Kuhn, Bacchante, 1920 135 35. Wiener Werkstätte display case at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris 138 36. Wieselthier, X-Form Kachelofen (X-Shaped ceramic oven), 1925 139 37. Wieselthier, Leuchter (Candelabra), 1925 139 38. Susi Singer-Schinnerl, Akt (Nude), ca. 1925 140 39. Hertha Bucher, Durchbrochener Blumentopf (Broken-through flower pot), ca. 1925 140 40. Wieselthier, Vase, 1926 143 41. Bucher, Original-Keramik (Original ceramic), ca. 1928 145 42. Reni Schaschl, Frauenkopf (Woman’s head), ca. 1920 151 43. Baudisch, Köpfe (Heads), ca. 1929 153



44. Anny Schröder-Ehrenfest, cover image for How Does the Woman See? exhibition catalog, 1930 158

53. Liane Zimbler, central exhibition hall from How Does the Woman See?, 1930 184

45. Emmy Zweybrück workshops, tulle lace borders, exhibited 1925 168

54. Zimbler, decorative arts display, central exhibition hall from How Does the Woman See?, 1930 184

46. Hilde Wagner-Ascher, embroidered handbag, ca. 1929 169

55. Zimbler, lounge from How Does the Woman See?, 1930 185

47. Zweybrück, embroidered tulle, ca. 1929 171

56. Likarz-Strauss, detail of batik wall panneau from How Does the Woman See?, 1930 186

48. Gabi Lagus-Möschl, lady’s salon (interior design, wall paintings, furniture, and lamps) from The Picture in the Interior, 1929 176

57. Exhibition of Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen in the former Secession building, 1940 193

49. Wagner-Ascher, applied arts room from The Picture in the Interior, 1929 177

58. Photograph of Wieselthier with Modern Youth, 1928 196

50. Harlfinger-Zakucka, nursery from The Picture in the Interior, 1929 179

59. MSW promotional brochure showing Hetzendorf Palace, after 1946 200

51. Schröder-Ehrenfest, reception room from The Picture in the Interior, 1929 180

60. MSW promotional brochure showing a dress fitting, after 1946 201

52. Anna Truxa, curtained wall from The Beautiful Wall, 1933 182

Color Plates (after page 96) 1. Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská, Schachspiel (Chess set), detail: knight figures, ca. 1906

15. Harlfinger-Zakucka, Spanish courtier, ca. 1906

2. Harlfinger-Zakucka, Der Klavierunterricht (The piano lesson), ca. 1903

17. Harlfinger-Zakucka, Rococo ladies with cavalier, ca. 1906

3. Else Lott, cover design for Die Fläche, ca. 1902 4. Harlfinger-Zakucka, Schönbrunn, ca. 1902 5. Harlfinger-Zakucka, stenciled image from Bilderbuch der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1901 6. Podhajská, stenciled image from Schlablonen Drucke, ca. 1903 7. Kokoschka, Das Mädchen Li und ich (The girl Li and I), from Die träumenden Knaben (The dreaming youths), 1907, printed in 1908 8. Editha Moser, Secessionstarock (Secessionist tarot), 1906 9. Moser, Secessionstarock (Secessionist tarot), detail, 1906 10. Singer-Schinnerl, Mode (Fashion), 1912 11. Likarz-Strauss, Mode (Fashion), 1912 12. Mela Köhler, Mode (Fashion) (place card), 1912 13. Köhler, Mode (Fashion) (place card), 1912 14. Gustav Klimt, Johanna Staude, 1917/18

16. Harlfinger-Zakucka, “Turk” figurines, ca. 1906

18. Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská, Schachspiel (Chess set), ca. 1906 19. Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská, Schachspiel (Chess set), detail: queen figures, ca. 1906 20. Mautner von Markhof, Puppenhaus (Dollhouse), ca. 1908 21. Mautner von Markhof, Puppenhaus (Dollhouse), detail: dining room ca. 1908 22. Mautner von Markhof, Puppenhaus (Dollhouse), detail: interior staircase ca. 1908 23. Klimt, Mäda Primavesi, 1912 24. Wieselthier, Kopf mit Blume (Head with flower), 1928 25. Wieselthier, Obstschale (Fruit dish), 1927 26. Singer-Schinnerl, Chinese mit Pferd (Chinaman with horse), 1920 27. Likarz-Strauss (designer), evening bag, ca. 1925

ACknow l edgments

The Female Secession has benefitted from the support and interest of numerous colleagues and institutions. Since the book evolved out of my doctoral dissertation on women’s art education in late imperial and First Republic Austria, I wish to extend special thanks to my doctoral advisor at Georgetown University, James Shedel, for his unwavering support. Librarians and archivists at various repositories in Vienna provided essential research assistance, especially the Austrian National Library, the Austrian State Archives, the Vienna City Archives, the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, the Archives and Study Collections of the Austrian University for Applied Art, the MAK / Museum for Applied and Contemporary Art Library, the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts Library and Archives, the Wien Museum, and the Archives of the Association of Austrian Women Artists. Special thanks are owed to: Dr. Ingrid Ganster and Dr. Michaela Laichmann at the Vienna City Archives; Dr. Ingrid Höfler at the Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur; Dr. Beatrix Bastl and Mag. Ferdinand Gutschi at the Academy of Fine Arts Archive; Elke Doppler and Robert Filip at the Wien Museum; Mag. Elke Handel and Nathalie Feitisch at the University of Applied Arts Collection and Archive; and Stefan Lehner at the Belvedere Archive. Research for this book was generously supported through 2019–20 and 2012–13 PSC-CUNY Research Grants and a 2012–13 Princeton Library Research Grant. Sections of this book have profited from the interest, enthusiasm, and expertise of colleagues including Paul Stirton, Amy Ogata, Michael Yonan, Rebecca Houze, Elana Shapira, Laura Morowitz, Imogen Hart, Friedrich Heller, Andrea Immel, Olivia Gruber Florek, and Cathleen Giustino. Warmest thanks are owed to Julia Harlfinger. At Penn State University Press, Ellie Goodman deserves special thanks as this book’s tireless champion from an early stage. Finally, my warmest gratitude goes to my husband, Adam Brandow, a constant soundboard and supporter for this project over many years. Without him, none of this would be possible. Portions of this book have been published elsewhere. Chapter 4 was published, in modified form, as “‘An Artist in Every Child—A Child in Every Artist’: Artistic Toys and Art for the Child at the Kunstschau 1908,” West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 20, no. 2 (2013): 195–222. Parts of chapter 2 appeared



previously in “Folk Art on Parade: Volkskunst, Primitivism, and Nationalism at the 1908 Kaiserhuldigungsfestzug,” Austrian Studies 25 (2017): 98–117, while portions of chapter 5 were published as “Feminine Vessels: The Ceramic Art of Vally Wieselthier,” Woman’s Art Journal 35, no. 2 (2014): 26–34, and “Gender, Luxury, and Frivolity in the Expressionist Ceramics of the Wiener Werkstätte,” Kritische Berichte 41, no. 4 (2013): 17–31.

AbbR evIAtIons

Institutions and Organizations ABKW Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (Viennese academy of fine arts) BMI Bundesministerium für Inneres (Federal ministry of the interior) BMfIU Bundesministerium für Inneres und Unterricht (Federal ministry for the interior and education) BMfU Bundesministerium für Unterricht (Federal ministry for education) FV Freie Vereinigung (Free association) GDK Große deutsche Kunstausstellungen (Great German art exhibitions) KFM Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (Art school for women and girls) KGS Kunstgewerbeschule (Austrian school of applied arts) KW Künstlerische Werkstätte (Artists’ workshops of the WW) MAK Museum für angewandte Kunst (Museum for applied art), Vienna

MfKI Museum für Kunst und Industrie (Museum for art and industry) MfKU Ministerium für Kultus und Unterricht (Ministry for cults and education) MoMA Museum of Modern Art, New York MSW Modeschule der Stadt Wien (Viennese municipal fashion school) NSDAP Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German workers’ party) VBKÖ Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs (Association of Austrian women artists) VKFM Verein Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (League art school for women and girls) WFA Wiener Frauenakademie (Viennese women’s academy) WFK Wiener Frauenkunst (Viennese women’s art) WKiH Wiener Kunst im Hause (Viennese art in the house) WW Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna workshops)

Archives AHA-VA Archiv der Hochschule für angewandte Kunst, Verwaltungsakten, Vienna

ÖGBA Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Archiv, Vienna

AVA Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv

ÖNB-HANS Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Handschriften-, Autographen-, und Nachlass-Sammlung, Vienna

IAWA International Archive of Women in Architecture, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

ÖStA Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Vienna UAABKW Universitätsarchiv der Akademie bildenden Künste, Vienna



UAKS Universität für angewandte Kunst, Sammlungen und Oskar Kokoschka Zentrum, Vienna VA Verwaltungsakten VBKÖ-ARCH Archiv der Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs, Vienna

WMS Sammlungen des Museums der Stadt Wien, Vienna WStLA Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv, Vienna WWAN Wiener Werkstätte Annalen, MAK / Museum for Applied and Contemporary Art, Vienna

Periodicals DF Dokumente der Frauen

NWT Neues Wiener Tagblatt

DKD Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration

VS Ver Sacrum

HW Hohe Warte

WAJ Woman’s Art Journal

JDH Journal of Design History

WAZ Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung

NF Neues Frauenleben

WZ Wiener Zeitung

NFP Neue Freie Presse NWJ Neues Wiener Journal

Introduction A Female Secession

In his landmark book Fin-de-siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture, Carl Schorske attributed an efflorescence of modern art, culture, and literature to the disillusioned sons of liberalism who, in a collective Oedipal revolt, abandoned political engagement for an aesthetic culture of feeling.1 According to the Schorske paradigm, the year 1897 marked the founding of the Vienna Secession whereby Gustav Klimt, in response to what critic Hermann Bahr called the “market hall” commercial policies of the conservative artists’ guild, founded a new league dedicated to creative freedom, originality, and artistic timeliness.2 The Viennese secessionist motto (“To the Age Its Art / To Art Its Freedom”), emblazoned on its building’s façade, exemplified this philosophy of creative freedom and contemporaneity. Yet as the Secession increasingly acquired the institutional status quo from which it revolted, it fissured in 1905 over disagreements about the value of the fine and applied arts. Contested issues involved the importance of Raumkunst (spatial art), the degree to which the architectural presentation of painting and sculpture was as important as artworks themselves, and the affiliations of leading members with the Wiener Werkstätte (WW), the commercial workshops for the applied arts cofounded by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser that operated from 1903 to 1932.3 The progressive Klimt group carried forth the secessionist legacy in the 1908 Kunstschau exhibition, a venture marking the zenith of the Viennese Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art). According to Schorske and his followers, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele have been portrayed as torchbearers of the Klimt group’s philosophies of artistic freedom into the post-secessionist, expressionistic phase of Viennese modernism commencing in 1908.4 Witnessing an “explosive reassertion of painting as the medium of instinctual truth,” the 1909 Kunstschau marked a breakthrough for a younger generation of Neukünstler (expressionists) rejecting the decorative aestheticism of the Gesamtkunstwerk ideal in favor of raw, inner expressivity.5 The decline of the Gesamtkunstwerk model is typically



The Female Secession

demarcated by the death of the Klimt group’s leaders, along with the Werkstätte’s apparent decline and feminization in the postwar period.6 Yet Klimt’s famous walkout from the conservative artists’ guild was only one of multiple generational revolts, for fin de siècle Vienna witnessed a parallel secession centered on questions of gendered aesthetics and the hierarchy of art and craft. The educational and institutional roots of what contemporary critics likened to a “female Secession” were laid in 1897 with the founding of the Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (KFM, Art school for women and girls, later renamed the Wiener Frauenakademie [WFA, Viennese women’s academy]): an institution established in response to women’s exclusion from the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. Critic and art historian Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven originated the term “female Secession” in his review of the inaugural exhibition from December 1927 to January 1928 of the Wiener Frauenkunst (WFK, Viennese women’s art), a feminist collective founded by WFA graduates. He compared the group to “a female Secession (eine weibliche Sezession) that unifies all fermenting, forward-thinking elements and leaves nothing to be desired in terms of its modernity.”7 I apply the terminology of “a female Secession” not only to the artists associated with the overlapping circles of the Wiener Frauenkunst, the Wiener Werkstätte, and the Austrian Werkbund but to the general impulse and spirit driving that camp. In its founding years, the Women’s Academy was deeply influenced by secessionist philosophies of the unity of art and craft, and it privileged a modernist teaching philosophy stressing individual expression, multidisciplinary versatility, and creative experimentation. Faculty such as Adolf Böhm, Friedrich König, Hans Tichy, and Otto Friedrich, all founding members of the Vienna Secession, imbued students with an artistic value system in which the decorative was valorized, and the autonomous artwork was relegated to the background.8 The WFA’s close affiliations with the progressive Klimt group via Kunstschau co-organizer Adolf Böhm facilitated professional opportunities for talented newcomers on the Viennese art scene. His pupils garnered international acclaim for their contributions to WW exhibitions, the 1908 Kunstschau’s Kunst für das Kind (Art for the Child) gallery, and special issues of secessionist periodical Ver Sacrum. Women’s Academy graduates like Maria Likarz-Strauss (1893–1971) and Hilde Jesser-Schmid (1894–1985) commanded strong reputations for their multitalented versatility between diverse genres of applied art and handcraft, the same Mehrfachkünstler/in (multidisciplinary artist) ideal embodied by male luminaries like Hoffmann, Moser, and Böhm, and many of these art students went on to successful careers as artists and designers in the WW. Recruited for the Werkstätte’s experimental artist workshops because of their perceived naïveté and isolation from mainstream academic institutions, WFA pupils pioneered a new genre of Viennese expressionist ceramics, which exploded in the postwar period. This so-called expressive Keramik exemplified bold experimentations in the expressive possibilities of handcraft that conveyed an expressive Formwille (will-toform, a term closely related to the Rieglian Kunstwollen discussed below) beyond objects’

ostensible function.9 Of particular attention to critics were the functional vessels and small-scale sculptures created by Vally Wieselthier (1895–1945), one of the WFA’s most illustrious pupils, and her female protégées, Katharina (Kitty) Rix (1901–?) and Gudrun Baudisch (1907–1982) in the Werkstätte ceramics department (fig. 1). Exploiting the expressive possibilities of clay, the ceramic vessels were notable for their formal asymmetries and imperfections; unevenly applied, bright glazes and decoration; and spontaneous processes of design. Not only in ceramics, but in the fields of textiles, embroidery, glass, and toymaking, Werkstätte artist-craftswomen heralded what critics dubbed a “new Austrian style” of decorative art shaped by the primitivizing currents of children’s and folk art.10 This style is evident in the knight figures from a wooden chess set designed for the Werkstätte around 1906 by Böhm-students Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka (1873–1954) and Minka Podhajská (1881–1963), which superimpose a sense of childlike naïveté onto secessionist design principles (color plate 1). This “feminine,” ornamental style, which to its detractors betrayed the Werkstätte’s mission of form following function, was so pronounced that critics attributed the firm’s postwar decline to the proliferation of crafty Weiberkunst (women’s art), which was neither functional, nor authentic, nor original. Austrian women’s delayed admission to the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (ABKW, Viennese academy of fine arts) in 1920/21 acquires different significance when considered in light of these turbulent developments in the decorative arts. The artist-craftswomen dominating the WW in the interwar period experimented with the expressive possibilities of handcraft and ornament, laying claim to a version of decorative modernity that was later written out of mainstream modernist narratives. It is my argument that this period of artistic ferment at the Werkstätte was rooted in secessionist teaching philosophies stressing experimentation, curricular flexibility, and the interdisciplinary-workshop principle. Such teaching methods reflected a modernist definition of artistic genius based on revelation of inner expressivity rather than skilled academic rendering or mastery of a particular style. Despite their exclusion from the state academy, WFA pupils received an education attuned to modernist notions of individual expressivity and the unity of art and craft. Supported by feminists such as Rosa Mayreder, Marianne Hainisch, and impressionist painter Tina Blau-Lang, the WFA launched a separatist professional network protesting women’s exclusion from mainstream educational institutions and artists’ leagues. Vienna’s “Big Three” exhibition houses—the Secession, Hagenbund, and Künstlerhaus—did not accept women as regular members until after World War II; the Klimt group, despite its progressive attitudes toward women artists, was not a formal league. Paralleling the Secession’s own institutional trajectory, the WFA gradually became integrated into late imperial Austria’s mainstream institutional landscape, gaining the rights of public incorporation in 1908, increased levels of state funding and the employment of key faculty, and the privilege of issuing degrees equal to the ABKW in the 1918/19 academic year.



1. Vally Wieselthier (left, at work on Sitting Figure with Flower Pots, 1928), Gudrun Baudisch (center), and Kitty Rix (right) in the WW ceramics workshops, ca. 1928. UAKS, inv. no. 10.529. Photo: Mario Wiberaz.

The Female Secession examines the forgotten story of the secessionist women’s art movement in Vienna, looking particularly at the Women’s Academy founded in 1897, the Association of Austrian Women Artists of 1910, and its radical offshoot, the WFK of 1926. The book tells the story of how similar generational struggles and diverging artistic philosophies on art, craft, and Raumkunst drove apart the conservative and radical wings of the women’s art movement in Austria, paralleling the split of the male secessionists in 1905. It tells the story of how female artists and craftswomen carried the spiritual legacy of the Klimt group and the notion of the applied arts Gesamtkunstwerk into the interwar years. It tells the story of how the female secessionists reclaimed and reinvented the stereotypes surrounding women’s art and the decorative. Indeed, in attempting to dislodge fixed oppositions between art and craft, between the decorative and the profound, and ultimately between what was assigned as masculine and feminine in art, Vienna’s female Secession profoundly foreshadowed themes in the better-known explosion of feminist art in 1970s America. But then as now, could separatist, women’s institutions ever be equal? How the sisters and daughters of Schorske’s band of brothers provocatively reclaimed the discursive stereotypes attached to the idea of decorative Frauenkunst (women’s art) while simultaneously reinterpreting and extending the Klimt group’s philosophies on the interpenetration of art, craft, and life in the interwar years is the central leitmotif of this book. The Female Secession revisits the familiar territory of prewar Viennese modernism, centering on the landmark 1908 Kunstschau exhibition, from the perspective of feminist design history.11 Then, departing from the well-worn chronological contours of Viennese modernism, the chapters move thematically through lesser-known applied-arts exhibitions of the interwar period, including the 1920 Kunstschau and the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International exhibition of modern decorative and industrial arts) in Paris, culminating in a series of collaborative, woman-centered interior design exhibitions that contested the ways in which the decorative was being defined as modernism’s impure “other.”12 A radical women’s art collective founded by WFA graduates, the WFK occupies a central role in the second half of the book. Linking interwar Austria’s most radical women painters, craftswomen, architects, and designers, the WFK championed the Klimt group’s philosophies on the equality of art and craft while provocatively and subversively asserting women’s supposedly natural connection to the decorative. Here, following Claudia Clare’s Subversive Ceramics, I define “subversive” and “subversiveness” in handcraft and decorative art as “seek[ing] to disrupt an established convention relating to form, use or process.”13 To these ends, it is not my intention to make a case for inserting the “decorative” women of the female Secession into the traditional canon of twentieth-century art and design but to reframe the terms of the debate so as to accommodate significant and meaningful work in craft-based media, like ceramics, embroidery, and paper collage. Indeed, much of the decorative art examined in this book confounds categorization as




The Female Secession

“mere” decoration, laying claim to a sort of pure expressivity on par with easel painting. Nor is it my intent to assemble a series of monographic case studies of forgotten artist-designers, as the conventional artist biography emerging from the Renaissance only reifies the cult of the individual male genius: a hagiography that necessarily obscures forms of creativity based on collaboration and collective authorship.14 Attempting to measure the Klimt group’s female artist-designers by conventional notions of “greatness” would only be, as Linda Nochlin argues in her seminal 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” to “swallow the bait, hook, line and sinker.”15 In other words, the absence of women in canonical histories of Western art and design is less to do with issues of quality or stylistic innovation but the very criteria by which artworks and their makers are judged. It might, therefore, be useful and fitting to pose the corollary question—“Why Have There Been No Great Women Decorative Artists?”—so as to highlight the gendered hierarchies of art and craft emerging during the Renaissance and still persisting into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For, as Griselda Pollock and Roszika Parker rightly maintained in their classic study Old Mistresses, “the sex of the artist matter[ed] . . . in assigning a lesser degree of intellectual effort . . . and a greater concern with manual skill and utility” to arts that were “decorative” or “applied.”16 With the exception of a rich body of literature on craft and the feminist art movement of the 1970s, feminist art historians have tended to uphold the art/craft, major/minor divide by privileging work that is not ostensibly “decorative” or “applied.” Far too little scholarship has been conceived in the spirit of works like The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine, Rozsika Parker’s pioneering study of the devalued field of needlework art, which examines how “women have nevertheless sewn a subversive stitch” by investing new meanings “in the very medium intended to inculcate self-effacement.”17 Therefore, joining a growing body of feminist inquiry on craft media like textiles and ceramics, The Female Secession examines women artists’ engagement with decorative practices marginalized in modernist theory and historiography.18 Anticipating the interwar artist-craftswoman’s experimentations with the expressive possibilities of ornament, the female patrons of the Klimt group commissioned decorative portraiture that expressed their solidarity with the secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk ideal. Far from being restricted or overwhelmed by ornament, leading female patrons such as Serena Lederer, Eugenia Primavesi, and Adele Bloch-Bauer fashioned themselves into decorative icons reigning over total aesthetic environments in harmony with their stylized likenesses.19 While a striking number of Klimt’s female subjects harbored creative ambitions both individually and through association with the “Ideal Community of Those Who Create and Enjoy Art,” it was largely the daughters of these elite families who took up the role of creator in the interwar years.20 This fact is hardly to claim that women were absent from careers as public artists in Vienna around 1900, for the work of Julie Johnson has shown how female painters and sculptors were able to navigate Vienna’s restrictive institutional culture to their advantage.21 Rather, careers

in the decorative arts became increasingly attractive for the daughters of Vienna’s intellectual and industrial elite entering the Women’s Academy and School of Applied Arts after 1897. So pronounced was this “feminization” of the applied arts that the figure of the artist-craftswoman was widely satirized after the fall of the monarchy. The Female Secession is divided into two parts. Part 1 (“Women’s Art Education”) examines women’s access to Austrian academies of fine and applied art in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries from an institutional perspective. Against the backdrop of the Vienna secessionists’ preoccupation with youth as a metaphor for artistic renewal, chapter 1 examines the WFA’s early, most dynamic years (1897–1908), revealing how the secessionist “Sacred Spring” brought forth new attitudes toward teaching and learning art. The WFA pioneered a progressive, anti-academic curriculum that sought, in line with secessionist idealism, to demolish artificial boundaries between art and craft and limiting disciplinary specializations. Privileging radically permissive teaching methods centered on students’ individual needs and abilities, the school drew no hierarchy among or between its courses in painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts; instead, it stressed creative experimentation and individual expressivity. Chapter 2 turns to the most radical implementation of secessionist reformist pedagogy: the Böhm school’s philosophy of “unlearning,” which, due to its renunciation of traditional prescriptive instruction, is best defined as a deliberate break with received traditions of accumulated skillfulness.22 Partially derived from reforms in early childhood education, Böhm’s methods of free expression were designed to free students of prior knowledge, guiding them to release their innermost creative urges through recourse to handcraft media. The Böhm school made vital contributions to the fields of ornamental Flächenkunst (surface decoration), an experimental field of abstract surface design of utmost importance to the artists and critics of the Klimt group. Artists connected to the school became the WW’s most celebrated interwar designers. The Böhm school was a laboratory for reforms occurring later and in tandem with state institutions like the Kunstgewerbeschule (KGS, School of applied arts), long viewed as the Werkstätte’s educational incubator. The school’s new director, Baron Felician von Myrbach, together with fellow secessionists Hoffmann, Moser, and Alfred Roller, reoriented the KGS’s curriculum after 1899 away from historicist design models toward a reformist curriculum based on studies from nature, multidisciplinary experimentation, and the integration of design and execution, theory and practice, and ornamentation and function, according to the principle of workshop instruction.23 However, while the linkages between the Secession, the KGS, and the WW (where employment was viewed as an extension of the learning workshop principle) have been amply documented in the literature, the strong parallels between the pedagogical reforms in place at both the KGS and WFA have been obscured due to the ways in which scholars have positioned Viennese modernism in opposition to academicism and traditional institutional culture.24 But contemporary critics noted how the WFA’s “thoroughly unique pedagogical principles”




The Female Secession

reflected the same reformist spirit more famously associated with secessionist professors at the KGS, despite the fact that the WFA was somewhat lesser known given its private status.25 So strong were the linkages between the WFA and the KGS that Böhm school students often continued their educations at the latter institution. Yet even as the WFA gained increasing acceptance in secessionist Vienna, marked by its participation in the landmark 1908 Kunstschau and important WW exhibitions, the academy was gradually co-opted by conservative, anti-secessionist faculty members. Opposing the secessionist valorization of the decorative, anti-secessionists recast the Women’s Academy, once associated with progressive philosophies of “unlearning,” as a supposedly separate-but-equal facility catering to a distinct Frauenkunst expressing natural sexual difference. That the decorative arts came to occupy a patently inferior status in the hands of the Academy’s new conservative leadership suggested how far the institution had diverged from the Secessionist idealism informing its founding mission. Part of its struggle to gain recognition were the politics and connotative resonances surrounding the institution’s name. Originally founded by the Verein Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (VKFM, League art school for women and girls)—a title reflecting the humbler connotations of Schule (school), the same term used for primary, vocational, or trade schools—the institution was often referred to as Vienna’s Damen- or Frauenakademie (Ladies’ or women’s academy), particularly after the 1918/19 introduction of state-subsidized and accredited courses in academic painting and sculpture. The name of the school and supporting league was officially changed to Wiener Frauenakademie und Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst (Viennese women’s academy and school for fine and applied art) in 1925 when the Ministry of Education approved revised statutes declaring its status as a university-level institution of higher learning (Hochschule), implied by the more prestigious Akademie (academy) title. For ease and clarity of reference, I refer to the institution as the Wiener Frauenakademie (WFA) throughout, even prior to its official name change. Part 2 (“The Female Secession”) uses a thematic perspective to consider how the bonds of solidarity developing within single-sex educational environments shaped the interwar female Secession. Participation in the 1908 Kunstschau, organized by the progressive Klimt group, was a formative experience in honing the female secessionists’ artistic philosophies on Raumkunst and the expressive possibilities of craft. Many artists like Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka (1874–1954) internalized the Klimt group’s philosophies on the beautification of utility and the interpenetration of art, craft, and life and increasingly realized that they could not take on the stereotypes surrounding women’s art within the bounds of a traditional artists’ union. Just as she and her classmates played on essentialist discourses linking women and children with their contributions to the Art for the Child exhibition, Harlfinger-Zakucka recognized that a similar strategy could be deployed to reclaim Frauenkunst from the negative discourse surrounding it. The older prewar generation of women artists, largely schooled privately or abroad,

avoided association with Harlfinger-Zakucka’s radical female Secession and what Jenny Anger refers to as “the lure and threat of the decorative.”26 But a younger generation of female artists schooled at the Women’s Academy rallied around Harlfinger-Zakucka and directly took on the stereotypes associated with women’s art: a trajectory culminating in a series of woman-centered interior design exhibitions reclaiming women’s connection to the devalued female handcrafts and decorative arts. Two central narrative threads run throughout the book: first, the relationship of female artist-designers to child art primitivism, and second, the ways in which the “decorative women” of the female Secession played on naturalized assumptions of women’s connection to (self )decoration, ornament, and handcraft. An understudied aspect of Viennese Secessionism was the use of untutored children’s drawings by the progressive artists of the Klimt group as a means of recapturing a childlike sense of naïveté that transcended received ways of seeing, qualities that critic and art historian Jonathan Fineberg refers to as “the innocent eye.”27 This valorization of the childlike was rooted in the secessionists’ reverence for youth as a sacred spring of artistic renewal; as director Max Burckhardt argued in the inaugural issue of the secessionist journal Ver Sacrum, “the spirit of youth wafting through the spring . . . [was] a driving force for artistic creation.”28 Given that the Secession’s founding was couched as a generational struggle of die Jungen (the young) versus die Alten (the old), the early secessionist movement was preoccupied with stylistic and metaphorical rebirth. Reflecting these early “proclamations of youthful vitality” were Roller’s woodcut for the cover of the inaugural issue of Ver Sacrum featuring a tree sapling whose roots break free from a restrictive barrel and Klimt’s 1898 drawing of a youthful Nuda Veritas, expressing in visual terms the idea of contemporary art as a mirror of truth.29 But for the post-secessionist Klimt group, an attraction to youth and childhood extended beyond the metaphor of creative renewal to direct, formal influences, constituting the climax of a search for what Klimt called “true, ur-primitive art . . . a new frontier in our own homeland” that would seminally influence the Viennese expressionist breakthrough.30 Believing that untutored children’s drawings possessed the same elemental power as the art of tribal peoples and folk cultures, Franz Čížek (1865–1946), adherent of the Klimt group and 1908 Kunstschau co-organizer, is routinely credited as the “discoverer” of children’s art, initiating child art exhibitions as inspiration for professional artists and the public at large.31 The Klimt group’s preoccupation with untutored children’s drawings—a phenomenon that encompassed direct formal borrowing, quotations, and imaginative emulation of an awkward, childlike technique, much like the chess figures (color plate 1)—must be understood as a subset of the broader cult of primitivism sweeping across Europe, wherein the untutored child, uncorrupted by socialization as a sort of domestic “noble savage,” was thought to be at a similar stage of evolutionary development as prehistoric humans, tribal peoples, or isolated folk cultures.32




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Secessionist Vienna’s enthusiasm for children’s art overlapped with a long-standing interest in the category of folk art, which was similarly touted as a positive source for rejuvenating contemporary art and design. Presenting folk art as a corrective to the parade of historicist styles preceding it, late nineteenth-century design reformers hoped that the dissemination of folk art patterns in the imperial system of craft schools might not only revitalize house industry in the empire’s underdeveloped Randbezirke (peripheral regions), widely perceived as distant colonial frontiers, but also contribute to the formation of a contemporary design language synthesizing diverse national vernaculars.33 Much like the comparative, supranational thrust of the emerging discipline of Austrian ethnography, such a project stressing folk art’s common Central European origins would, in turn, support the monarchy’s continued political vitality by neutralizing contemporary efforts to claim regional folk art as indexing particular ethnic or national traditions. At the same time, a generation of artists born in the 1870s began reinterpreting folk art on a more immediate visual level, tethering it to the “primitive” art of tribal peoples and valorizing its formal simplicity, directness, and apparent authenticity.34 Contemporary commentators likewise feminized folk culture, invoking the rural peasant woman as a symbol of folk life and suggesting that women held the transmission of valuable yet virtually “extinct” craft knowledge in their hands.35 Secessionist critics including Amelia Levetus, the Studio’s resident Viennese correspondent, shared this appraisal and spoke of “the naïve charm . . . shown in the work of the unschooled daughters of the soil,” who still maintained, unlike peasant men, an inborn drive for art and craft.36 In order to examine how female art students in secessionist Vienna exploited the conflation of the feminine with children and folk culture, it is necessary to establish a working definition of what is meant by primitive and primitivism. The definition I use is not new but a synthesis of current scholarly thinking on primitivism. My claim to originality lies in applying this definition to the nexus of gender, modernism, and craft, showing how women appropriated primitive art by less powerful others (e.g., the art of children and folk cultures) and laid claim to a certain privileged access to the “primitive” by virtue of their traditional exclusion from art-educational institutions. Primitivism is best defined not as straightforward, visual appropriation of a set of static, supposedly ahistorical formal qualities but as a complex set of attitudes toward process, intention, and meaning, based on a selective interpretation both of the discursive field and of the visual, material qualities and practices associated with the “primitive.”37 What has been variously labeled as “primitive” is problematic and historically mutable, inflected by the unequal power relationships underlying Western colonialism and imperialism. The “primitive” has variously included folk art and the tribal art of Africa, Oceania, Ancient Egypt, Persia, India, and East Asia, as well as fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian and Flemish art. In the literature on primitivism and modernism, a critical point of debate is the precise nature of the modernist formal influence and the extent to which primitivizing artists superimposed their own aesthetic values onto so-called primitive

art and artifacts. In Robert Goldwater’s Primitivism and Modern Art (1938), the first major study of the topic, primitivism was defined as an “attitude productive of art” wherein European artists were informed as much by the idea of the “primitive” as by any particular objects or images.38 A more contentious and arguably less nuanced position was taken by curator William Rubin in the catalogue to the 1984 show “Primitivism” in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and Modern at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA)—a exhibition condemned for perpetuating colonialist perspectives on African art and downplaying formalist influences of non-Western visual traditions in order to revalidate the supremacy of modernism. Rubin laid out his theory of the affinities (or parallels) between the tribal and the modern in describing the familiar tale of the “discovery” of African tribal masks by artists like Maurice de Vlaminck and Pablo Picasso around 1906. He argued that the Parisian avant-garde “became interested in and began to collect primitive objects only because their own explorations had suddenly made such objects relevant to their work. . . . [T]he discovery of African art . . . took place when it was needed.”39 Rubin variously admitted but promptly dismissed the unique visual interventions of tribal art, maintaining that the avant-garde interest in tribal objects only reinforced formal experiments already underway and that this “primitive” influence was rendered largely invisible by the manner in which the avant-garde digested it, to use Rubin’s analogy.40 Somewhat paradoxically, the exhibition (which featured 150 modern and 200 visually related tribal artworks) allowed such formalist comparisons to be made even as it overlooked artists’ conceptual fascination with the primitive. More recent scholarship, however, has redressed this minimization of formalist influence and stress on avant-garde “discovery” by tethering discursive approaches to close analysis of the interventions performed by the objects themselves in such a manner that the supposedly primitive artworks emerge as far from pristine, authentic, or previously “undiscovered” by the European commercial market.41 Combining discursive approaches stressing the construction of the idea of the primitive with an emphasis on the stylistic and visual innovations performed by the “primitive” itself, The Female Secession frames primitivism as an aesthetic filter through which “primitive” sources were selectively appropriated as a means of subverting mainstream academic values. Less “domestic primitives” than sophisticated interpreters of folk art and children’s drawings, then, female art students laid claim to the myth of the artist as a kind of noble savage possessing similar expressivity and direct insight as that of the “primitive” peoples with whom they were linked. In this regard, the stake of female art students in primitivism and “primitive” art was not so different from that of their male colleagues, despite the women’s reclamation of gender-specific ideologies (including their supposed psychic affinity with children and peasant cultures). This interpretation is not to claim that all women artists and designers in secessionist and interwar Vienna necessarily practiced a childlike visual style or technique or that an enthusiasm for “primitive,” child art was not shared by male counterparts. Such a




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strategy of reappropriating pejorative critical associations between avant-garde practices and a childlike technique would have been unthinkable for a pioneering generation of women artists, largely schooled abroad or privately, who founded professional groups like the Association of Austrian Women Artists in 1910. As Julie Johnson argues in her groundbreaking study, The Memory Factory: The Forgotten Women Artists of Vienna 1900, an earlier generation of women artists tended to practice mainstream variants of modernism, often initiating stylistic transmissions ahead of their male colleagues, and were largely concerned with maintaining gender-neutral standards of professionalism.42 I also do not wish to suggest that appropriation of a childlike design language or technique was a development limited to exclusively female leagues and institutions. The primitivizing influences of children’s art and folk art informed the early expressionist graphic art of Oskar Kokoschka and Rudolf Kalvach, an atmosphere in which an emulation of the childlike became, as design historian Elana Shapira argues, “an artistic stratagem to break the ‘grown-up’ artistic language codes.”43 But my analysis reveals that female artist-designers were particularly adept at exploiting their supposedly intuitive understanding of children, as well as their own peripheral status (as supposedly naïve outsiders). They could utilize this status as a marketing strategy not unlike that harnessed by Kokoschka, Schiele, and other male expressionists in crafting self-images conveying their exceptional creative powers.44 Precisely because of their traditional isolation from mainstream artistic institutions, leaders of the WFA framed the school’s pupils as possessing the uninfluenced creative vitality and freshness that more established artists lacked: a possibility that at least some pupils embraced.45 That many of the artists profiled in The Female Secession should practice deliberately childlike visual styles or techniques is all the more fraught when situated against the widespread sexualization of children and adolescents in the visual and intellectual culture of Vienna 1900. Expressionist artists like Schiele and Kokoschka devoted considerable energy to depicting pubescent and prepubescent youth (particularly girls), employing the awkward, contorted gestures of puppets and dolls as a metaphor for the human condition and its manipulation by external forces.46 Much like Kokoschka’s color lithographic prints accompanying his poem of adolescent sexual awakening, The Dreaming Youths (1907–8), such eroticized images of children shattered post-enlightenment views of childhood innocence and found parallels in Sigmund Freud’s theories on child sexuality, such as the recognition that masturbation and other forms of sexual stimulation before puberty were not pathological but normative stages of human development.47 Freudian ideas on child sexuality reached an apogee in the erotic subculture of the oversexed, undereducated, and uninhibited Kindweib (child-woman) that fascinated the circle of Adolf Loos and Karl Kraus.48 Central to this figure’s emotional and sexual nature was Freud’s theory of infantile sexuality, which linked autoerotic pleasure to bodily functions like sucking, to extragenital erotogenic zones, and to an undifferentiated sexual orientation. A 1907 article by Fritz Wittels in Kraus’s satirical journal Die Fackel celebrated, in

the words of Kraus’s biographer, Edward Timms, “her precocious beauty, her complete freedom from sexual inhibition, her ability to gain sensuous pleasure from any lover, whether male or female” as nothing less than female counterparts to male genius. 49 This disturbing sexual fascination with the child-woman—childlike in her intellectual development but precocious sexually—must be viewed as a backdrop for the misogynistic and infantilizing criticism women artists often faced. The gendered nexus of women, children, and primitivism surfaces at crucial flashpoints in this study. As narrated in chapter 4, a seminal moment for Vienna’s female Secession was the participation of WFA students in the 1908 Kunstschau exhibition, an event regarded as the highpoint of the Klimt group’s attempt to synthesize art, architecture, and design. Mining stereotypes of their natural connection to children, female artists and craftswomen exhibited modernist toys, books, and furniture using the design language of primitive folk toys and the grammar and syntax of untutored children’s drawings. Moreover, as argued in chapter 5, the sources of child art primitivism discovered by Harlfinger-Zakucka and other Kunstschau contributors became a crucial source of inspiration to the birth of interwar expressionist ceramics. Pioneered by WFA graduates like Wieselthier and Susi Singer-Schinnerl (1891–1955) at the WW, interwar expressionist ceramics emphasized creative spontaneity, inner expressivity, and an intuitive and even childlike technique and approach to the material: an aesthetic cultivated by both its makers and Werkstätte management. But to critics like Loos and Arthur Roeßler, the idea of individuality or expressivity in the applied arts was an unhealthy cross-pollination of art and craft: handcraft was to be liberated from women’s impure decorative impulses. In no uncertain terms did Loos attribute the postwar decline of the WW and its artistic and commercial failure at the 1925 Paris Exposition to the predominance of “painting, embroidering, ceramic-making, valuable material-wasting dilettante daughters of senior civil servants or other little misses from good households who regard craft as a way of making pocket change or killing time before walking down the aisle.”50 The second interrelated, narrative thread woven through the book is how the female secessionists were able to harness trivializing discourses to their advantage; as one commentator put it, “the decorative arts . . . and the genres focused on embellishment . . . are the best and truest Frauenkunst, where our ladies are truly at home.”51 As argued in chapter 5, a misogynist backlash set in after the 1908 Kunstschau, related to the increased presence of women in mainstream artistic institutions and the ways in which secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk philosophies leveled the gendered hierarchies between the major and minor arts. The critical protagonists of Neukunst (New art, i.e., expressionism), such as notably misogynist critic Roeßler, best known as the standing art reviewer for the Arbeiter Zeitung and as a leading supporter of Schiele, recommended decorative arts such as embroidery as more suited to women’s reproductive artistic talents over large-format easel painting; ornament, they believed, was confined to the level of superficial embellishment, incapable of conveying significant content or meaning. But




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most troublesome to such critics was the new breed of interwar artist-craftswomen, dubbed by their enemies as Kunstgewerbeweiber (literally “applied-arts women” but best translated as “crafty women”), whose work confounded definitions of ornamental applied art as mere decoration. Exploring similar ideas as male Neukünstler through handcraft techniques, progressive interwar artist-craftswomen tapped similar “primitive” sources as the familiar male practitioners of Viennese expressionism, all the while exploiting their own outsider status and perceived naïveté. But the cherished historiographical myth that “oedipal odysseys are entrance criteria for card-carrying Expressionists” has obscured the ways in which women artists’ appropriation of child art primitivism paralleled the ethnographic sources discovered by the canonical heroes of Viennese expressionism.52 That much of the artwork investigated in this book remains largely unknown or confined to uncritical specialist literature is not accidental or related to issues of “quality.” It is my conviction that this historiographical imbalance is rooted both in disciplinary practices privileging visuality over materiality, as well as Austrian expressionism’s myth of origins that sought to veil its decorative roots through a mythologized encounter with the exotic primitive other. As we shall discover, the sources of domestic primitivism harnessed by female ceramicists conveyed emotional agitation every bit as explosive as expressionist portraiture. Yet art historians, by privileging an outdated hierarchy reifying the supremacy of the easel canvas, have been reluctant to acknowledge such parallels, largely due to the discipline’s lingering discomfort with assigning complex cultural meaning to certain classes of objects, what art historian and theorist of material cultural studies Michael Yonan terms the discipline’s “fear of the tchotchke.”53 The material object was traditionally “tucked out of sight” by art historians since it challenged the discipline’s glorification of an autonomous art marked by its functionlessness, seriousness, and aesthetic detachment.54 In the spirit of the interdisciplinary “turn to the object”—a movement applying the same methods of theoretical and formal analysis routinely applied to painting and sculpture to objects whose material status has precluded them from study—my study treats toys, ceramics, and paper collages as carriers of significant artistic meaning.55 Through contextual and object-based methods of analysis, ceramics, toys, and textiles emerge as sites of feminist resistance to the gendered hierarchy of art and craft and the ways in which the decorative was framed in opposition to modernism.56 The Female Secession thus joins the scholarly dialogue on modernism and the suppression of the decorative.57 In tandem with second-wave feminism, pioneering feminist art historians like Norma Broude and Patricia Mainardi called attention to the manner in which the practitioners and theoreticians of twentieth-century modernism erected artificial boundaries between “significant” abstraction and “mere” decoration, dismissing the possibility that the latter could convey content and meaning in a nonobjective manner.58 Since then, a growing body of literature has probed the ways in which the decorative came to embody modernism’s feminine and commercial “other,” in spite—or

perhaps because—of the ways in which ornament served as a source for the “pure” form of abstract painting.59 Indeed, as Jenny Anger convincingly argues, the modernist rhetoric of decorative supplementarity was, in fact, necessary for the presumed autonomy of the “pure,” disinterested artwork, in spite of the ways in which ornament was nothing more than the representation of pure form: “A goal, if not the goal, of modernism was to represent the essence of art, which many modernists understood as pure form. However, these artists found that pure form in ornament . . . is forever sullied by connotations of materiality, domesticity, femininity, decadence, and excess. It is no wonder that, to maintain their fiction of purity, many modernists fought hard to suppress their source.”60 Yet the formal purity that Anger describes was foreign to the artistic value system of the Vienna secessionists, a variant of modernism in which the borders between art, craft, and decoration were particularly slippery. Moreover, whereas much of the feminist literature on the modernist suppression of the decorative has tended to focus on the influence of ornamental sources on abstract painting, I approach the problem from the vantage of the decorative itself. For instance, I explore the revisionist aims of Christopher Reed in recovering variants of decorative modernism excluded from the canon of modernist design sequenced to culminate in the international style as well as other feminist investigations of decorative media.61 In such a manner, the decorative emerges not as supplemental but as integral to the theory and practice motivating the interwar female Secession. Secessionist Vienna was a leading center for production and scholarship on decorative art and ornament—a situation that gave women, as artistic outsiders largely perceived as incapable of monumental genius, a major stake in the movement. As Robert Jensen rightly argues, “Of all the Secessions . . . [Vienna’s was] most closely tied to the decorative arts movement.”62 The secessionist enthusiasm for decorative art and ornament was steeped in the intellectual climate of the Vienna School of Art History, a group of scholars seeking to establish art history on an objective, scientific basis while freeing it from the straightjacket of normative aesthetics.63 Important to the story of the female Secession are the theories on ornament of Alois Riegl (1858–1905), who expounded his ideas on the continuous stylistic development of decorative forms like the tendril and the arabesque in lectures to WFA pupils. Railing against the contempt for applied art and ornament among the “theoretical” scholars dominating the art-historical profession, Riegl argued that the decorative arts were born out of the same humanistic, culturally relative Kunstwollen (artistic intent) as the fine arts. That many of his most important scholarly works, such as Problems of Style (1893) and Late Roman Art Industry (1901), were inspired by seemingly mundane everyday objects like belt buckles and carpets—objects widely regarded as lesser art forms but to which he devoted the same scholarly rigor as painting or sculpture—laid the intellectual groundwork for secessionist philosophies on the unity of the fine and applied arts.64 Indeed, had he been successful in his bid to become director of Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts, Riegl might have inverted the




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false hierarchy between the “major” and “minor” arts in a new model of art-historical instruction integrating the fine and applied arts with practical connoisseurship of material objects: precisely the opposite of the ways in which midcentury theorists maintained the art/craft, major/minor hierarchy in an effort to suppress modernism’s decorative roots. 65 Given the centrality of the decorative both in theory and practice, it is hardly accidental that the “opposition to ornament was nowhere more boldly articulated than in Vienna.”66 In both the popular and scholarly literature and even the broader “Vienna 1900 industry,” the name of cultural critic and architect Adolf Loos remains synonymous with the oversimplified equation that “ornament is crime.” While Loos never condemned ornament absolutely, believing that ornament would gradually disappear as civilization progressed, the outspoken cultural critic likened the invention of new ornament to the primitive scribbling of children, Indians, or the Papuans who tattoo themselves. As Loos famously declared, “Wherever I abuse the object of everyday life by ornamenting it, I shorten its lifespan because it is subject to fashion and must die earlier. Only the mood and ambition of woman can be responsible for this murder of material—because ornament lives eternally in the service of woman.”67 Co-opted in a regrettably simplified manner, then, Loos’s antidecorative, antiornamental stance, laid out in his 1909/10 essay “Ornament and Crime,” would gradually harden into a doctrine among subsequent modernist theorists such as Le Corbusier, Wassily Kandinsky, Walter Gropius, and, most influential to the formalist school of art history, Clement Greenberg. In seeking to maintain painting’s autonomous status, Greenberg would famously declare that “decoration can be said to be the specter that haunts modernist painting.”68 But even Greenberg’s attitude toward the decorative was “treacherously two-sided” as it potentially provided a means to express painting’s pure surface (a surrender to, rather than sublimation of, material and media) despite, or perhaps because of, its tendency to collapse with the walls themselves as a sort of infinitely repeated wallpaper.69 In this regard, it is important to remember that Loos’s antiornamental polemics in “Ornament and Crime” had not yet crystallized into a doctrine (itself not free of its share of contradictions) in the theory surrounding twentieth-century art and design: what architectural historian Christopher Long has termed the “strange and curious” afterlife of the essay in which Loos’s polemics were understood in a reductionist manner belying the subtler nuances of Loosian thought. What concerns us here is how Loos’s polemics were never universally accepted in the interwar Viennese art scene and directly contested in theory and practice. For every antidecorative critic like Loos, Roeßler, Armand Weiser, and Julius Klinger, there were a host of prodecorative theorists supporting the WW Kunstgewerbeweib and the notion of individual expressivity in the decorative arts. These advocates included Leopold Rochowanski, Max Eisler, Ludwig Steinmetz, Wolfgang Born, and the feminist art historian and critic Else Hofmann, for whom the decorative, when freed from function and utility, existed as a potent source of aesthetic value in and of itself. The straight line often drawn from commentators like Loos to Greenberg obscures the

ways in which the female secessionists never completely succumbed to antidecorative rhetoric and actively resisted the undecorated white walls vaunted by modernist architectural theorists. Incorporating the methods and theories of the interdisciplinary “material turn” and privileging the decorative as a category for significant meaning, The Female Secession builds on the pioneering work of Sabine Plakolm-Forsthuber, Rebecca Houze, and Julie Johnson in recovering Austrian women artists. Plakolm-Forsthuber has published extensively on Austrian women in the visual arts, including the “autonomous” and “applied” position of the interwar artist-craftswoman profiled in The Female Secession.70 Her ambitious work Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 1897–1938 provides a comprehensive overview of the WFA but tends to stress its role as a thoroughly conservative institution and association with a number of moderate modernists. In her analysis, the WFA only attracted second-rate talents who used their time at the school as a springboard for appointments at more prestigious state institutions.71 While I concur with Plakolm-Forsthuber that the so-called Frauenakademie eventually became a buffer against coeducation, in my account this direction only set in after 1908, increasing especially after 1918 at the hands of anti-secessionist faculty members. Moreover, it was precisely because the WFA was not an official state institution that progressive faculty were able to use it as a laboratory for changes that anticipated and paralleled those more famously associated with the Austrian Kunstgewerbeschule. My study is also indebted to the English-language work of Julie Johnson, which offers readers monographic case studies of women artists associated with the Vienna Secession. Drawing more from the arsenal of memory studies than feminist art-historical inquiries into “a new [aesthetic] center . . . whose themes have not always fit into the dominant narrative structures of art history,” Johnson’s book The Memory Factory tends to stress women’s inclusion rather than exclusion in mainstream male institutions and to argue that women artists did not practice or subscribe to a gendered aesthetic. 72 While, like Plakolm-Forsthuber, Johnson’s study has been foundational to investigations like my own, methodologically The Female Secession is more akin to feminist histories of design and material culture. Also unlike The Memory Factory, my book is largely a thematic study of the decorative and its makers in contradistinction to Johnson’s overall concern with painting and sculpture. Additionally, although The Memory Factory contains important sections on the decorative and abstraction, my project hinges on a valorization of artistic and cultural traits associated with decorative handcraft and such practices’ subversive potential. In recovering the cultural significance of decorative media marginalized as feminine craft, my book shares much in common with the methods and disciplinary preoccupations of Rebecca Houze’s important study Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform in Austria-Hungary Before the First World War. Locating the prehistory of Viennese modernism in design-reform movements of the nineteenth century, Houze interrogates the




The Female Secession

gendered connotations of textiles and embroidery and the recurrent ambivalence toward women as producers and consumers of clothing. While not concerned with primitivism as such, Houze’s groundbreaking work provides valuable information on the late nineteenth-century fashionability of house industry and how, in the early twentieth century, folk art informed the design of abstract, expressive textiles. Yet much like the toys, furniture, and interiors at stake here, such designs have been forgotten because, as Houze writes, “The ornamental, craft-oriented work of the Klimt Group and Wiener Werkstätte does not fit neatly into more traditional interpretations of modernism that trace a lineage . . . from Realism to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Abstract Expressionism, finding its form in ever more flattened and abstracted fields of color.”73 It is precisely this gendered lineage centered on “fine art” that the artists of my book contested so forcefully in both practice and theory. Recently, it has become popular among feminist scholars to de-emphasize the socioinstitutional obstacles facing women artists.74 In returning to these obstacles raised by pioneering feminist art historians, it is not my intent to overemphasize the degree to which women were excluded; rather I wish to show how a generation of women artists schooled at the Women’s Academy around 1900 harnessed exclusionary cultural norms to their advantage. In this regard, my study relates to a broader body of literature focusing on the progressiveness of such women’s institutions.75 Like other women’s artist groups across Europe and America, the crafty women of Vienna’s female Secession were able to harness their femininity to their advantage by crafting identities as both “woman” and “artist,” categories traditionally understood to be mutually exclusive.

The Art of Unlearning at the Viennese Women’s Academy, 1897–1908

Closing the WFA’s inaugural 1897/98 school year, League WFA chairman, Professor Friedrich Jodl, offered the following advice to the sixty-four women enrolled at the school: “Strive to look at nature as if never a painter had painted before you, as if you were the first ones to behold it; strive not to see with the eyes of other painters but with your own.”1 Jodl, a philosopher not known for his support of women’s education, positively invoked the idea of women’s newness to the artistic profession in speeches to inspire students: “No long and so-to-say organic tradition, as behind the art of the male sex, stands behind your artistic practice.”2 Jodl went on to frame the school’s first graduating classes as artistic pioneers, unfettered by the shackles of academicism and its attendant emphases on knowledge, skill, and hierarchy. One such pioneer who heard Jodl’s speech was Fanny Zakucka (after 1905, her surname changed to Harlfinger-Zakucka). Studying decorative art, book illustration, and printmaking from 1898 to 1904 under secessionist cofounders König and Böhm while apprenticing in metalworking with Georg Klimt, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s interdisciplinary course of studies typified the WFA’s pedagogical mission of “eras[ing] the artificial boundaries between art and craft.”3 Archival photographs of Harlfinger-Zakucka provide a vista onto an institution closely connected to secessionist Vienna’s cultural luminaries, including pro-secessionist critic Bertha Zuckerkandl and her husband, Emil, a preeminent anatomist; feminist philosopher Rosa Mayreder (1858–1938) and her husband, Karl, an architect; Mayreder’s friend and teacher Tina Blau-Lang, the “Old Mistress” of Austrian landscape painting; and numerous Klimt group members who were teaching staff. In a self-portrait photograph, the young artist confidently exchanges gazes with her own reflection in a chassed-bronze mirror she designed and executed in Klimt’s metalworking course (fig. 2). Visible below the mirror is Harlfinger-Zakucka’s colored woodblock print Der Klavierunterricht (The piano lesson), which appeared in the




The Female Secession

2. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Selbstporträt (Self-portrait), ca. 1903. Photograph. Private collection, Vienna. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

April 1903 edition of Ver Sacrum (color plate 2). Executed in a simple black and yellow palette, the boldly cropped composition is animated by a dialogue between sweeping curvilinearity and angular geometricity, a design strategy consistent throughout the artist’s later work. Likewise published in a special September 1902 issue of Ver Sacrum were a series of stenciled images for children produced by Harlfinger-Zakucka and classmates in Böhm’s stenciling course. An image of a female harpist emerging from both positive and negative space exploits the stylized flatness inherent in the medium while evoking a delicate, floating lyricism via the curved lines and stars wafting from the figure (fig. 3). Harlfinger-Zakucka’s stenciled images answered the secessionists’ call for artists to produce simple graphic images to spark children’s imagination and aesthetic sensibilities.4 By the time she took part in the landmark 1908 Kunstschau, Harlfinger-Zakucka was hardly a naïve outsider or “pioneer” on the Viennese institutional landscape. She ranked as one of the Klimt group’s most promising protégés, gaining recognition for her toy and furniture design for the WW and graphic art published in the Studio, Hohe Warte, and Die Fläche. Since she embodied the “all-around” Mehrfachkünstlerin (multidisciplinary artist) ideal central to Viennese secessionism, contemporary critics likened the young artist to a female Hoffmann or Moser. One secessionist critic singled her out as “the first woman here in Vienna who turned her attention to the general furnishing and decoration of homes.”5 Informed by the aesthetics of children’s drawings and folk art, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s original design language was distinguished by her signature tension between decorative and constructive elements, rational rectilinearity, and willful irregularity. Pivotal to the careers of all-around artists like Harlfinger-Zakucka, the WFA answered the secessionists’ demands for a sweeping series of academic reforms inspired by the idea that “art is not teachable” in opposition to traditional emphases on style, composition, and skill.6 Secessionist reforms implemented at the WFA privileged individual expressivity and hands-on experimentation over prescriptive instruction or stylistic transmission, whereby students would be guided to principles of Materialgerechtig- und Zweckmässigkeit (suitability of material and utility) in the multidisciplinary learning workshop. Official documents encapsulated the WFA curriculum as “an individualized method of instruction adapted to the particular needs and abilities of


The Art of Unlearning

3. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, stenciled image from Ver Sacrum 5, no. 17 (1902): 249. 10 1/4 × 9 5/8 in. (26 × 24 cm). Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

pupils,” a philosophy encompassing a phasing out of divisions of students by ability or year, a cultivation of all-around versatility instead of specialized technical instruction, and the inclusion of decorative art and handcraft under the rubric of academic studies, the secessionist ideal of künstlerische Gesamtausbildung (holistic artistic training).7 That such reforms were instituted at a women’s institution represents an exception to other Damenakademien (ladies’ academies) in German-speaking Central Europe. Such schools were generally characterized by conservative academic curricula, high tuition fees, socioeconomic exclusivity, and overriding reputations as havens of dilettantism for privileged höhere Töchtern (well-born daughters).8 Much closer to the progressive KGS than the archconservative ABKW—a decidedly backward institution repeatedly slighting Klimt’s bid to join the faculty and famously driving a young Schiele to rebel—the WFA constituted an alternative in its reformed curriculum and teaching methods, socially inclusive scholarship program, and radically alternative attitudes toward conventional


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notions of female dilettantism. Although scholarship on women artists and modernism has tended to polarize women’s choices between amateurism and professionalism, these traits were not mutually exclusive at the WFA. Rather, WFA students reworked notions of female dilettantism to their advantage in line with the Klimt group’s redefinition of artist: a concept downplaying conventional divisions between amateurs and professionals, consumers and creators, and gendered notions of (passive) artistic receptivity and (active) creativity. Secessionist Idealism and the Künstlerische Gesamtausbildung The WFA’s institutional mission reflected the secessionists’ demands for a fundamental reform of the methods and goals of academic studies. This discourse swept through the pages of Ver Sacrum as the WFA opened its doors in the Lobmeyrschen-Haus (located at the corner of Schwangasse and Kärntnerstraße, near the Neuer Markt) to its first incoming class on December 1, 1897. Secession cofounder Ernst Stöhr delivered a scathing critique of traditional art academies, calling them “damaging, at the very least, useless institutions . . . that crush all of the best seeds in a most suffocating manner.”9 Since, as Stöhr wrote, “Craft is the foundation of all the visual arts,” the painter and illustrator called for a complete abandonment of the academy in its current state.10 State funds were to be poured into arts-and-craft schools (Kunstgewerbeschulen), where students applied their training to the needs of everyday life. An extensive 1899 critique penned by Ver Sacrum’s editorial committee, a rotating board including WFA faculty König (serving in 1899), Friedrich (1900), Böhm (1901), and Max Kurzweil (1901), called out the “fossilized” academic system, “the jealous defender of the so-called high or fine arts,” for stifling closer co-operation between artists and the public while privileging an outdated hierarchy centered on history painting.11 What was needed was a künstlerische Gesamtausbildung in service of the Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal. This model extolled the pre-Renaissance creative genius, who could, “with the same pencil that yesterday gave expression to deepest thoughts that the human heart and mind wrestles with, today design a candleholder, tomorrow a coat of arms.”12 In a reversal of conventional attitudes toward female dilettantism or the idea that the female amateur dabbled in various media but specialized in none, it was precisely the “all-round” ideal that Harlfinger-Zakucka and other prominent graduates embodied. To Böhm, Friedrich, and other secessionist faculty, realizing the Mehrfachkünstler/ in model entailed radical new attitudes toward teaching and learning art: what might be described as an “unlearning” of the traditional academic system and its attendant emphases on knowledge, skill, and a rigid, curricular progression from copying prints and drawings to drawing from plaster casts to life studies.13 Secessionist educators lamented the mid-nineteenth-century institutional cleavage developing between art academies, schools of applied art, and trade schools. As the pedagogical separation

between the fine and applied arts crystallized, the ABKW had, regrettably, become a Hochschule, the German term for an institution of higher learning, where the secrets of art could be studied like any other science.14 The ABKW’s status as a Hochschule implied that its curriculum had become increasingly specialized and theoretical—which, to the secessionists, severed artists from the practical design skills taught at trade schools— while instilling its students with the vaunted humanism befitting a university education. The decorative and applied arts were only specifically excluded from its curriculum in 1872, when the academy was elevated as an imperial Hochschule; previously, the ABKW had included an engraving school (Kupferstecher-Akademie) and, after 1786, a Manufakturzeichenschule (manufacturing drawing school) to provide supplementary instruction in draftsmanship to apprentices and journeymen in the craft guilds.15 The academy’s status as a Hochschule of fine art was facilitated by the establishment of a separate Kunstgewerbeschule in tandem with the Austrian Museum für Kunst und Industrie (MfKI, Museum for art and industry) founded in 1864 on the model of the Semperian design museum. Due to the ABKW’s emphasis on theoretical subjects like composition, perspective, and color science, the secessionists believed the nineteenth-century academy suffered from a surfeit of weight on knowledge and technical mastery at the expense of individual experimentation, expression, and spontaneity. As the secessionists had it, “to believe that art is a skill whose secrets could be unearthed and passed down” was to have a very low opinion of art indeed.16 Like Jodl’s advice to his pioneers, Ver Sacrum’s editorial board likened the art student to an enfant perdu who must take risks and chart paths independent of the “express lane” that the academic system apparently offered.17 Such rhetoric seemingly implied that only those possessing inborn talent could make great art but raised the possibility that genius might, at least on some level, be acquired through progressive methods bringing out individual expressivity, a possibility not lost on Böhm and other secessionist educators. As Ver Sacrum’s editorial committee argued, traditional academic instruction based on copying historical models had to be discarded for new methods in which teaching consisted only in conveying as much craft skill as necessary to suit a particular medium— anything more was deemed unnecessary and downright harmful.18 The secessionist philosophy of “unlearning” and de-emphasizing transmission of skilled technique stands in considerable tension to the resurgence of medium-specific, skill-based pedagogy among contemporary craft theorists like Jenni Sorkin.19 WFA documents stressed parallel themes, urging art students to regard craft as the foundation of all art: “The difference between the artist and craftsman hardly exists . . . in all fields of activity it does not depend on what a man practices, but rather how he practices that to which he has applied his forces.”20 The same text, a particularly polemical article on academic reform in Ver Sacrum, ended with the following bulleted list of pedagogical prescriptions: “art cannot be taught as teachable at the academy; rather only present what an artist can learn before he bears this name. this should be taught more fundamentally


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The Female Secession

than at any other institution.”21 It is important to stress that the künstlerische Gesamtausbildung privileged by secessionist educators was defined not through mere curricular diversity but by the interdisciplinary methodology of the Lehrwerkstattunterricht (learning workshop instruction), which fed such a program.22 Loosely based on the medieval guild workshop that informed British design reform, the learning workshop ideal shunned the one-sided specialization of academic studies, particularly the nineteenth-century master class the secessionists deemed useless. The Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal promoted multidisciplinary experimentation between and among various handcraft media and techniques to foster a mastery of the entire creative process: from design to execution to decoration. This educational model was to lead students to an appreciation of principles of Materialgerechtig- und Zweckmässigkeit in the space of the multimedia workshop. In the process, students would absorb the principle that ornamentation was to be derived from the innate language of the material and express an object’s function. Certain differences notwithstanding, art historian Rainer Wick has pointed to the pedagogical reforms implemented by secessionist professors at the Austrian Kunstgewerbeschule as forging a Viennese “proto-Bauhaus,” which anticipated developments in the early, expressionist stages of the celebrated German design school.23 In 1899, the secessionists, led by Felician von Myrbach as director, with Hoffmann, Moser, and Roller as teaching staff, seized control of the historically oriented KGS to implement a thoroughgoing program of ideological and artistic rejuvenation.24 Well-documented in secondary literature, secessionist professors reoriented the school’s curriculum away from its founders’ historical design models toward a reformist curriculum privileging studies from nature, individual expressivity, and multidisciplinary experimentation.25 But secessionist faculty members at the WFA were informed by the same reformist impulses, instituting reforms in tandem with those at the KGS. Progressive critics in secessionist Vienna were well aware of the parallels between the KGS and the WFA and bemoaned how the latter—as a private school operating on a “quite secret and small scale”—suffered from a lack of official recognition beyond the artists and intellectuals supporting it.26 Like other progressive movements seeking to fuse art and craft “before the Bauhaus,” the WFA—as a seedbed for the same pedagogical ideals more famously cultivated by the secessionist faculty at the KGS—deserves to emerge from the shadow of the Bauhaus myth.27 Despite its modernist faction, the WFA included a cohort of anti-secessionist artists, most notably longtime Künstlerhaus members Adalbert Franz Seligmann and Richard Kauffungen, who harbored the conservative “market-hall” values (i.e., a supposed distain for innovative styles lacking assured commercial value) deplored by secessionist critics.28 Precisely due to such faculty, Plakolm-Forsthuber has characterized the WFA as a backward, archconservative institution attracting “Secessionists and artists of the second rank.”29 The WFA’s anti-modernist contingent notwithstanding, my interpretation differs from Plakolm-Forsthuber’s in stressing the competing aesthetic values

within the school and the seminal influence of Klimt group members in its early years. The conservatism at the center of Plakolm-Forsthuber’s interpretation only crystalized after 1918, when the WFA came into the hands of anti-secessionist faculty and served to negatively motivate the radical potential of exclusively female culture. Despite competing modernist allegiances, both secessionist and anti-secessionist faculty were committed to the WFA’s pedagogical goal of “leading pupils to find their own way and not imitating the external manner [of their teacher].”30 Tensions between the institution’s two camps sharpened in the years following the secession’s heroic years (1897–1905) after many of the Klimt group’s leading lights (Böhm, Rudolf Jettmar, and Kurzweil) left the WFA. An institution that grew into a seedbed of secessionist idealism had its genesis in the studio of conservative history painter Adalbert Franz Seligmann (1862–1945), who was academically trained in Vienna (1880–84, under Christian Griepenkerl and Karl Wurzinger) and Munich (1884–87). In the literature on Viennese modernism, Seligmann has been remembered less for his own artistic output than for the anti-modernist polemics he sounded as standing critic for the leading Viennese daily, Neue Freie Presse, through which he garnered a reputation as an outspoken opponent of expressionism, primitivism, and the Zweckkunst (functional applied art) of the WW.31 But in no way did the critic’s aesthetic conservatism preclude his commitment to progressive social causes; the politically liberal Seligmann supported the professional advancement of women artists by offering female art students private life classes. Seligmann recollected that one of his private students, portraitist Olga Prager (1872–1930), launched the idea of a women’s art school after studying at Munich’s Damenakademie, founded in 1884 with a curriculum approximating that of the state academy.32 Seligmann and Prager were convinced that a similar academy in Vienna represented the best possible corrective to the institutional hurdles surrounding women’s art education in Austria. The ABKW had stonewalled inquiries into the admission of female students since 1871 (and would deny further petitions in 1904, 1907, 1911, and 1913); private studies were, as stated in the VKFM’s 1898 annual report, “not comprehensive enough . . . and only available to the rich”; additionally, as the KGS claimed in reference to women’s problematic status within imperial Austria’s official system of design schools, the school could “only accept the smallest percentage of applicants.”33 Due to its founders’ assessment of women’s inborn prowess for the decorative, the KGS admitted women since its 1868 opening and attracted relatively large numbers of female students, ranging between 17 and 27 percent of total students throughout the 1870s and ’80s.34 But women’s prohibition from life-drawing classes resulted in their de facto exclusion from painting and sculpture, a situation female students vigorously protested in an 1872 petition to the KGS Board of Directors. Answering the petition, MfKI founder Rudolf Eitelberger von Edelberg admitted that women possessed “a very particular talent” for the decorative and were called to practice embroidery, weaving, porcelain, and flower painting “to an equally high degree as men” but maintained “that the female sex’s calling to the monumental


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The Female Secession

genres is a very limited one.”35 The design reformer insisted that the KGS was not to be “misused” as a “backstreet ladies’ academy . . . for such little young ladies who are dilettantes and want to pursue history, landscape, or genre painting.”36 For most of the nineteenth century, the KGS’s male leadership drew clear boundaries between major and minor fields of practice, cloistering women in the special workshops for ceramic decoration and porcelain (founded 1877) and embroidery design (founded 1879). Officials like Armand von Dumreicher, supervisor of imperial trade schools, voiced fears that the KGS—which was founded as an industrial design school to train (male) artisans and designers—was regrettably femininized and recommended that the school purge its dilettantish “female element” as soon as possible.37 These developments culminated in the 1886 suspension of women from the general preparatory division, justified by perceptions that the school was “a breeding ground for female dilettantism . . . and the already large artistic proletariat.”38 From 1886 until the 1899 secessionist reformist coup, limited numbers of female students were only permitted to study in one of the special “feminine” workshops and only after undertaking extensive private training. In order to raise funds for the school, Seligmann recruited a group of Austrian liberals dedicated to expanding women’s education. Active on the VKFM’s inaugural executive committee were women’s rights activists including writer Helene Bettelheim-Gabillion (1875–1927); Ernestine Federn (1848–1930); Marianne Hainisch (1839–1936), president of the League of Austrian Women’s Associations; Margarete (Daisy) Minor (1860–1927), vice president of Hainisch’s League; and amateur watercolorist and feminist philosopher Mayreder, cofounder of the General Austrian Women’s Association, whose philosophies on gender, culture, and civilization shaped the WFA’s mission.39 Further members of the inaugural executive committee included Bertha Hartmann, mother of Seligmann’s friend Ludo Hartmann (1865–1924), who was an university docent in ancient history who cofounded the Athenäum League (a group of university professors offering university-level courses for women and girls), as well as fellow Athenäum cofounder Professor Emil Zuckerkandl, chair of the medical faculty and staunch supporter of women’s higher education. Zuckerkandl’s colleague Friedrich Jodl chaired the League WFA’s executive committee from 1897 until 1904, when he was succeeded by Rosa Mayreder’s husband, the architect Karl Mayreder. The rationalist philosopher and political liberal was an agitator for progressive social causes, including women’s higher education (serving on the Athenäum League board), the ethical cultural movement, and the Volksbildungbewegung (movement for adult education) to spread enlightenment and scientific knowledge among the working classes. Accordingly, Jodl has been likened to a Viennese John Dewey and commanded a reputation as “diabolical atheist” for endorsing a secularized school system in which ethical instruction would replace religion.40 Jodl is perhaps best known for serving as doctoral advisor to Otto Weininger, whose revised doctoral thesis, Sex und Charakter (1903), became a standard point of reference for misogynist Viennese critics.41

Arguing that all human behavior can be explained in terms of the male (M) and female (W) protoplasmic cells constituting each person, Weininger theorized that women’s claims to genius were a complete negation of the female principle and that, through their misguided claims to emancipation (only existing in proportion to the masculine elements she possessed), advocates of women’s rights transformed themselves into a hermaphroditic third sex. Jodl found his student’s work intellectually irresponsible, calling Sex and Character’s second half “shocking and repulsive” and suggesting that his student’s pseudoscientific theories were based in personal romantic mishaps.42 Despite their joint commitment to women’s education, Jodl and Zuckerkandl found themselves at loggerheads in the “Klimt Affair” of 1900–1905. A prolonged public scandal surrounded the planned installation of Klimt’s faculty paintings Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence, commissioned by the Ministry of Cults and Education to depict “The Victory of Light over Darkness,” on the ceiling of the University of Vienna’s Great Hall.43 Following the March 1900 public exhibition of Philosophy, a group of eighty-seven university professors led by Jodl drafted a petition pressuring the ministry to prevent the painting’s installation. The ministry refused to withdraw its support of the artist, at least until Klimt became a burdensome political liability. The continued public controversy surrounding the subsequent canvases escalated in 1905, when Klimt renounced the state commission and bought back his paintings with the financial support of industrialist August Lederer (whose daughter Elisabeth attended the WFA). Predominant accounts of the Klimt Affair have stressed how Jodl and the protesting professors framed their petition around a trope of aesthetic ugliness to distance themselves from the moral objections of the right-wing press.44 However, such interpretations that unproblematically cast Jodl as anti-Klimt and anti-secessionist have obscured his commitment to the secessionists’ educational program. Jodl lead the charges against Klimt precisely because of his commitment to the secessionists’ didactic program of bringing art to the masses. He believed the murals embodied indeterminacy via a “dark, obscure symbolism that can only be grasped and understood by few.”45 The progressive philosopher was not against the free expression of modern artists like Klimt, having recommended his canvases for acquisition by the Modern Gallery, but Jodl believed that the mural’s planned installation in a public university merited a more accessible allegorical program. Zuckerkandl led the counterprotest group in support of the installation on the grounds that Jodl and the objecting professors were merely “laymen” in matters of aesthetics.46 The competing aesthetic values brewing within the WFA demonstrate that support for progressive social and political causes hardly aligned with modernist (or anti-modernist) aesthetic practices in any predictable formula. Reflecting its founders’ progressivism, the WFA was not motivated by profits but a disinterested, humanistic model of Bildung in the sense of educational self-improvement and cultivation. Jodl explained that “anxiously holding to the kaufmännischen (businessman-like) standpoint would support neither our artistic or social goals, which


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for us stand behind secondary practical goals.”47 The WFA was not, Jodl insisted, another exclusive Malschule (painting school) for well-born daughters but an institution dedicated to recognizing “the unity of artistic life and feeling; the uselessness of sharp divisions between art and craft . . . [and] well-rounded artistic training.”48 The WFA’s self-described commitment to “open up a path to less well-off sisters filled with burning passion for education” led to a system of league-supported scholarships launched in 1897/98 to alleviate its high tuition, seven times that of the state-financed ABKW.49 Supported by league membership dues and large-scale donations from patrons like Albert Freiherr von Rothschild, Paul Wittgenstein, Leopold von Lieben, Ignace Ephrussi, and Albert Figdor, WFA scholarships increased to match rising enrollment numbers. In the 1897/98 academic year, 8 percent of the 64 total students received scholarships; in 1901/2, the number rose to 14 percent of the 197 total students; and in 1904/5, it was 21 percent of the 190 total students.50 By the time of the 1908 Kunstschau, no fewer than 22 percent of 227 students received full- or half-tuition scholarships. Scholarship students studied alongside women and girls from privileged families. The upper-class students even included Klimt group patrons like the Lederers, whose daughter Elisabeth found encouragement to pursue sculpture (first at the WFA, then at the KGS, and privately with Teresa Ries) from “Uncle” Klimt (who famously painted the Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer, 1914–16). This class mixing speaks to the institution’s socially inclusive, if incomplete, mission. Scholarships notwithstanding, the WFA was predominated by liberal, upper-middleclass families, particularly the stratum of moneyed Viennese Jewry linked to Klimt and the Secession: so much so that the school would be condemned as “Jewish” after 1938.51 It was, indeed, the sisters and daughters of privileged assimilated Jewish families who comprised a disproportionally high number of members—up to a third—of secessionist Vienna’s women’s artist leagues as well as the interwar Werkstätte.52 Prominent Jewish WW artists who trained (or partially trained) at the WFA include Wieselthier, Susi Singer-Schinnerl (1891–1965), Mitzi Otten-Friedmann (1884–1955), Fritzi Löw-Lazar (1892–1971), Heddi Hirsch-Landesmann (1895–?), and Marianne Perlmutter (1891–?). Other notable Jewish artists associated with the broader circles of the WW, the WFK, and the Werkbund included Marianne Saxl-Deutsch and Ella Iranyi (1888–1942), who both participated in the 1908 Kunstschau; as well as Sofie Korner (1879–1942); Lili Réthi (1894–1971); Lilly Steiner (1884–1961), and Grete Wolf-Krakauer (1890–1970). Limited by reliance on private funds until 1903/4, when the Ministry of Cults and Education commenced a program of annual subventions, the executive committee implemented its künstlerische Gesamtausbildung ideal gradually. The inaugural Hauptkurs (main course) in the 1897/98 winter semester was Seligmann’s “Painting and Drawing from the Living Model.” Pioneering feminist inquiry of the 1970s and ’80s has rightly framed women’s exclusion from life classes—the pinnacle of the academic system—as one of foremost reasons why few women artists have achieved the status of “greatness.”53 Practically impossible for women in conservative Austria, life studies could only be

obtained through costly individual private lessons or studies abroad. Paris became a veritable mecca for late nineteenth-century female art students from Austria, Germany, and across Europe due to coeducational ateliers like the Académie Julian (founded in 1868), where women could work from nude models in separate facilities.54 Further afield in Western Europe, women were only beginning to gain access to life classes on a strictly separate, gender-segregated basis.55 For instance, women’s 1897 admission to Paris’s Ecole des Beaux-Arts only ensued under separate facilities and discriminatory policies (including separate life classes and the lack of access to advanced ateliers and competition for prizes like the Prix de Rome), policies that were partially dismantled in 1900; London’s Royal Academy, where women were provisionally admitted in 1861, did not install a separate women’s life class until 1892 (it initially used draped models and finally switched to undraped models after 1903). The practice of offering female students access to this crucial element of academic training distinguished the WFA from Vienna’s other private art schools, which lacked the WFA’s rigorous anatomical instruction and which categorically tended to be short-lived, tethered to their operators’ changing career trajectories or teaching styles, with instructional methods demonstrating uneven levels of efficacy.56 The Allgemeine Zeichenschule für Frauen und Mädchen, established in 1874 by sculptor Franz Pönninger (and placed under the loose supervision of the KGS after 1876) offered women basic instruction in drawing and a restricted life class in which pupils worked from fully clothed models.57 But the director’s admission to ministerial officials that few of his pupils could “correctly comprehend the simplest surface ornament [or] draw a straight line” indicates that the life classes (and instruction) left something to be desired.58 Other private art schools, like that of Heinrich Strehblow (1899–1926), offered special “women-only” life classes with separate studios and entrance staircases for women (although it was highly unlikely that models were fully undraped).59 While traditionally reserved for advanced students, the WFA opened life classes to all student levels and provided instruction in all fields including decorative art and design. Beginning in January 1898, historicist sculptor Richard Kauffungen launched the school’s sculpture division with a parallel Hauptkurs for “Sculpture and Modeling from the Living Model.” Kauffungen’s sculpture course was unique in dividing students into beginner and advanced levels; all other courses integrated students of diverse levels and experience, from beginners to established artists with professional records. One such established artist enrolling to study with Böhm was Broncia Koller-Pinell, a member of the Klimt group active both as patron and artist. She exhibited at the 1908 Kunstschau and with the WFK in 1927.60 Seligmann was a leading critical protagonist for Austrian landscape painter Tina Blau-Lang (1845–1916), as well as her student, colleague, and VKFM member Mayreder. Wielding his influence as critic, Seligmann led a print campaign to convince the Viennese of the innovative qualities of Blau-Lang’s work, repeatedly stressing that, despite


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a general lack of recognition during her lifetime, she was the first to introduce principles of impressionism to Central European landscape painting.61 Now granted pride of place in Vienna’s Belvedere Museum, Blau-Lang’s monumental canvas Spring in the Prater (1882) famously provoked a furor at the Künstlerhaus in 1882, when the hanging committee, accustomed to muted atelier tones, feared that its bold colors and lighting effects might “rip a hole in the wall.”62 Additionally, while Blau-Lang was not directly affiliated with the Secession, Julie Johnson has rightly positioned her as an important secessionist “foremother” who produced aesthetically innovative works foreshadowing secessionist developments while not becoming so radical as to offend Seligmann, her critical “translator” (as she called him).63 Beginning in January 1898, Blau-Lang cemented her close professional relationship with Seligmann by joining the WFA faculty to offer a new Hauptkurs in landscape painting and still life. Unique to the WFA’s progressive curriculum, Blau-Lang’s courses incorporated plein air painting sessions into the parameters of academic study to get students out of indoor studios and “eye to eye” with nature.64 Blau-Lang instituted the open-air afternoon sessions in the meadows near her studio in the Prater, Vienna’s major public park, and, from 1902 onward, further afield in the Vienna Woods and the Kahlenberg, a hill on the city’s outskirts. Opposing the academic system of copying, Blau-Lang advanced the modernist principle of Sehenlernen (learning to see), which advocated for students to learn and paint directly from nature. In assessing her instructional methods, critics remarked how Blau-Lang commanded an uncanny ability “to find and cultivate uniqueness in the pupil” in contrast to the methods prevalent at other private schools, which tended toward the schablonenhaft (cookie-cutter).65 Blau-Lang’s cultivation of student individualism through direct observation of nature presents a stark contrast to the programmatic complaints enumerated in Schiele’s Neukunstgruppe Manifesto (1909), wherein the young artist railed against the way that “nature was only that which Herr Griepenkerl [his conservative teacher] recognizes.”66 For members of the Blau-Lang school, including artists like Iranyi, Wieselthier, and Singer-Schinnerl, the sort of artistic rebellion staged by Schiele and his academy classmates was unnecessary.67 In service of the secessionists’ künstlerische Gesamtausbildung, Blau-Lang introduced an auxiliary course in applied ornament in 1898 called “Studies from Nature for the Applied Arts.” In what became the WFA’s first of many decorative art courses, Blau-Lang’s students produced stylized, ornamental patterns based on floral and vegetal motifs, applying their designs to paper, glass, metal, and textiles. Blau-Lang’s students attended special extracurricular events such as Zuckerkandl’s 1905 color slide lecture, “Art Forms in Nature,” from which they took inspiration from the same single-celled organisms informing the ornamental backdrops of Klimt’s allegorical canvases.68 Executive committee members hailed Blau-Lang’s applied ornament course as fitting the spirit of the present “in which the applied arts have won such an important artistic and economic significance, and demand talent.”69 In mentoring the likes of Wieselthier, Singer-Schinnerl, and

Harlfinger-Zakucka, Blau-Lang decisively influenced the artist-craftswomen dominating the WW in its later expressive phases, despite the ways in which she, as an art-historical foremother, was selectively excluded from the male secessionists’ ancestor cult.70 While not officially affiliated with Austrian feminism, Blau-Lang provided an emancipatory role model of what the modern woman artist might achieve in terms of aesthetic innovation, critical recognition, and financial success. Aspiring students’ knowledge of the succès de scandale surrounding her painting Spring in the Prater might have “proven to them that there was also a chance, however limited, for them too.”71 Dedicated to mentoring female art students, Blau-Lang taught until 1915, when hearing and cardiac problems forced her retirement. To honor her legacy, in 1916 the WFA established a fund in her name for the annual purchase of an outstanding student work and organized celebrations for her seventieth birthday.72 After Blau-Lang died on October 30, 1916, WFA students accompanied her funeral bier to Vienna’s Central Cemetery, where she was eulogized by Hugo Darnaut, president of the artists’ guild. One student paid tribute to her mentor, remembering how “her presence refreshed you like the air from the mountaintops.”73 Building on Blau-Lang’s course, the WFA built its curriculum around the secessionist Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal. Beginning with a new Hauptkurs in decorative and applied art in the 1899/1900 school year (taught by Böhm from 1899 to 1910 and by fellow secessionist cofounder, Friedrich, from 1910 to 1932, encompassing fields like toymaking, paper collage, stenciling, printmaking, furniture and textile/fashion design), the WFA expanded its offerings in craft media previously excluded from academic studies. In 1902, König, another secessionist founder joining the faculty, introduced an auxiliary course in color woodcut printmaking, a medium featuring prominently in many of the Klimt group’s most important ventures (i.e., the 1902 Beethoven Exhibition catalogue, the 1908 Kunstschau, and periodicals like Ver Sacrum) while Georg Klimt introduced an auxiliary course in metalworking.74 Likewise bearing the stamp of Mehrfachkünstler/in interdisciplinarity, from 1899 onward WFA life classes integrated instruction in printmaking techniques like lithography and engraving. The courses were led by secessionists such as Tichy (employed 1899–1913), Jettmar (employed 1909–10), and Kurzweil (employed 1909–15, a close associate of Karl Moll and Klimt, who was active in color woodcut printmaking). Further auxiliary courses in textile design, including modern fashion design and batik technique, were launched by Friedrich in 1915, and Blau-Lang’s niece, Paula Taussig-Roth, taught embroidery in the Böhm school from 1901 onward. Jodl and the Mayreders touted the new courses as realizing their ideals of artistic versatility and meeting the most “buoyant popular reception” by students and families.75 A major thrust of the WFA curriculum was the elevation of handcraft media as art. In “recognizing no difference between ‘high art’ and ‘low art,’ between art for the rich and art for the poor,” the secessionists aimed, at least in theory, to demolish hierarchical notions that assigned lesser degrees of intellectual effort to art that was applied.76 Central to the WFA’s künstlerische Gesamtausbildung was the idea that arts-and-crafts education


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should extend beyond a mechanistic apprenticeship of hand and eye to encompass a broader humanistic cultivation of intellect and character. Art and handcraft were not, as Jodl reminded students, “manual Handarbeit (hand work) but intellectual Kopfarbeit (brain work).”77 To these ends, WFA pupils attended weekly university lectures by Athenäum League professors Zuckerkandl (in anatomy), Julius Tandler (in anatomy), Hans Tietze (in art history), Max Fabiani (in ornament), and Riegl (in art history and ornament). Many of the WFA’s most popular fields had (or came to have) particular associations with femininity. As will be discussed in chapter 4, modernist theorists equated toymaking with “women’s work,” despite the engagement of male architects and designers.78 Similarly, the secessionist revival of color woodcut printmaking was “an art form which owe[d] much of its progress to women” due to the concentration of female art students working in the technique.79 Becoming an important medium in interwar WFK exhibitions, the Indonesian wax-resist dyeing technique of batik attracted female art students who may have been drawn to its painterly visual effects. So strong were batik’s feminine connotations that anti-secessionist critic Loos equated the technique—which he lambasted as a distinctly unmodern form of decorative tattooing—with the interwar Kunstgewerbeweib’s use of handcraft media for expressive ends, claiming that it made a mockery of the male craftsman’s solid handcraft training.80 However, while certain media became critically linked to femininity, the gendered media hierarchies tethered to these fields unfolded in a manner distinct from the competitive gender dynamics between male and female students in coeducational design schools, where students and professors often demarcated certain fields as masculine or feminine. In fact, many early twentieth-century design schools reified the gendered hierarchies of art and craft they purported to eliminate despite accepting female students on supposedly equal terms. Even at progressive institutions, female art students were often valued for their industriousness, were expected to execute male teachers’ patterns, or were unofficially limited from pursuing “masculine” fields.81 Such gendered tensions marked the patently unequal status of feminine handcraft and masculine architecture in Hoffmann’s architecture school at the KGS, where female students were expected to decorate and accessorize spaces designed by male colleagues. These hierarchies persisted into the WW’s forerunner organization, the Wiener Kunst im Hause (WKiH, Viennese art in the house), despite its celebration by Mayreder’s feminist association.82 Similarly, in spite of its self-declared aim to eradicate traditional media hierarchies, the Bauhaus was permeated by a pervasive institutional sexism that funneled women into “feminine” media like textiles and ceramics.83 This is not to say that secessionist Vienna’s tout court association of fields like toymaking, textiles, or printmaking with femininity did not reflect a sexist or even misogynist critical climate. Rather, precisely because it was a women’s institution permeated by female collegiality, the WFA was immune from the gendered hierarchies dividing male and female students elsewhere.

Contemporary archival photographs of classrooms suggest that WFA professors and students interacted in a less hierarchical manner than the stiff comportment typically expected of Viennese art students. A photograph of a stenciling course, with Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská appearing on the far left, captures the casual, seemingly free interaction between pupils, teachers, and classmates, suggesting an atmosphere of informal, spontaneous collaboration (fig. 4). Photographs of relaxed studio parties show students staging dramatic tableaux from opera and theater or scenes from contemporary artworks, like Klinger’s Beethoven or Ferdinand Hodler’s The Chosen One. While it is unlikely that hierarchical roles disappeared entirely and that faculty members could truly become “an older, experienced friend and not . . . a school master,” the relaxed atmosphere that prevailed among secessionist professors clashed with the stultifying pretentiousness characteristic of Viennese art institutions, where, as Kokoschka remembered, “donning a velvet jacket and beret” was obligatory for aspiring artists.84 However polemical such an ideal of relaxed informality may have been, it paled in comparison to the debate surrounding female dilettantism in the arts, an issue on which the WFA took a bold, controversial attitude. Positive Dilettantism and the “Ideal Community of All Those Who Create and Enjoy Art” In secessionist Vienna, female dilettantism was the subject of a polemical debate within the fields of design reform, the women’s movement, and a growing community of professional women artists. The figure of the female dilettante was envisioned as a well-born dabbler, a lover of art without professional training who pursued it as a diversionary pastime and who conjured up a laundry list of negative qualities including domestic amateurism, creative imitation, superficial diversity over specialization, and engagement with “minor” genres, like flower painting, still life, and the so-called female handcrafts.85 In what represented the vehement highpoint of the pseudoscientific discourse against women artists, the widely influential 1908 work Die Frau und die Kunst (Woman and Art), German critic Karl Scheffler linked the dilettante’s limited artistic prowess to her biological role in procreation.86 Women, by virtue of their passive roles in sexual reproduction, were supposedly precluded from original artistic genius; in defying nature,


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4. Böhm school stenciling course, ca. 1903. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka and Minka Podhajská are visible at the far left. Private collection, Vienna. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.


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those seeking to replicate the heights of male creativity necessarily desexed themselves into hysterical hermaphrodites. As he thundered: “She is the imitator par excellence, the empathizer that sentimentalizes and scales down masculine art forms. . . . She is the born dilettante.”87 Never rising above “that which can be learned and taught,” women’s art was condemned to remain at a dilettantish, imitative level, unable to surpass “the echoable, decorative, and ornamental.”88 The cult of female dilettantism under debate in secessionist Vienna first took root in the eighteenth century when the term Dilettantin (female dilettante), adapted from the Italian dilettanti, carried more positive connotative resonances and was not yet collapsed with notions of partial knowledge.89 Circumventing their institutional exclusion, noble and upper-middle-class women pursued private lessons with many of the same artists who taught at the royal academies. Not destined for public consumption, the lady dilettante’s artworks, although often highly accomplished, were generally viewed as amateur, private diversions. Critically, however, the personal artistic practices of eighteenth-century aristocratic or royal dilettantes commonly intersected with active roles in artistic patronage. A prominent example includes Empress Maria Theresa’s favorite daughter, the Archduchess Maria Christina, a skilled practitioner of gouache and watercolors, and her younger sister Archduchess Maria Carolina, queen of Naples and Sicily. The latter commissioned portraits from Angelika Kauffmann while engaging the Vorarlberg-born painter, a founding member of the British Royal Academy, to tutor her daughters in drawing.90 In addition to the genres of portraiture, still life, and flower painting tethered to the trope of the lady dilettante, a vibrant subculture of domestic female handcraft prevailed among eighteenth-century amateurs, which was not without similarities to the postmodern DIY craft revival.91 Often lumped under the rubric of bricolage, such practices included embroidery, japanning, gilding, shellwork, fancywork, découpage, and other forms of papercutting, the latter two practices so popular that German printers sold readymade, cut-out sheets for collaging and découpaging.92 While typically dismissed by scholars as “mere pastimes that enabled women to while away their time while gilding the cage in which they were expected to reside,” newer waves of scholarship have probed the subversive potential of the amateur female handcrafter, examining her potential for self-expression and engagement with contemporary artistic discourses.93 Facilitated by industrialization, urbanization, and capitalism, processes that excluded middle-class women from all forms of productivity save childbearing, the nineteenth century widened the cult of dilettantism to encompass a broader swath of the middle class. Female dilettantism was duly reflected in the curriculum of the Austrian Lyceum, the predominant female secondary school focused on modern languages, literature, and art (including broad instruction in music, drawing, and handcraft).94 Feminist educational reformers, including WFA cofounders Hainisch and Minor, took an overwhelmingly negative attitude toward the Lyceum and its artistic curriculum, finding it little more than a finishing school and no substitute for the rigorous classical education

available at the male Gymnasium (which offered an eight-to-nine-year course of study based on classical Greek and Latin to prepare for university).95 The Lyceum included a superficial arts curriculum less out of concern for character-shaping Bildung than out of the desire to mold its pupils into pleasant household managers. Writing for feminist journal Neues Frauenleben, the critic Maja Ipold alleged, “We Austrian women . . . are still stuck in the thick of dilettantism. . . . If we continue to practice ‘indulgence and pleasure,’ to find inadequacy agreeable and the diverse interesting, we will continue to fragment ourselves rather than concentrating, working on the surface rather than going into depth, wanting to be everywhere instead of adhering to a point.”96 Voicing sentiments indicative of mainstream feminist thought, Ipold alleged that the lady dilettante not only endangered herself but posed an even greater threat to the reputations of women practicing art professionally. Late nineteenth-century design reformers shared the women’s movement’s low opinion of dilettantism. Part and parcel of what feminist design historian Penny Sparke describes as a systematic campaign by male taste professionals to rein in the perceived excesses of commercialized, feminine “taste,” design reformers like Eitelberger, founder of the MfKI, launched a comprehensive program to regulate and improve the level of female dilettante handwork, a program in which rigorous education was viewed as the crucial stepping-stone toward professionalism.97 In opposition to the “naïve” peasant handwork reformers valorized, dilettante embroidery tended to be associated with fashionability, imitation, and shoddy commercial patterns ill-suited to technique. The museum established a system of needlework schools at the imperial, provincial, and local levels in which models of “good taste”—necessarily defined in opposition to dilettante needlework—would be disseminated between center and periphery in circular fashion.98 Secessionist Vienna’s growing community of women artists similarly turned their backs on the lady dilettante, who was increasingly viewed as a cipher for superficial knowledge and amateurism. Throughout German-speaking Central Europe, professional women artists, architects, and designers hardly wanted “the dilettante card” to be played against them.99 Vienna presented no exception for, as Julie Johnson accurately surmises, “when women painters entered the public sphere to compete as professional artists, the issue of dilettantism was never far from consideration.”100 Indexing a variety of negative qualities such as superficiality, insufficient formal training, or concentration on “minor” genres like portraiture, flower painting, or still life, charges of dilettantism featured prominently in reviews of separatist women’s art exhibitions in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Vienna and further afield in Western Europe and America. Perhaps the best example of how the ideas of female dilettantism and amateurism clouded exhibitions of women’s work was the debate surrounding the Women’s Pavilion at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exhibition, an encyclopedic display of women’s progressive achievements in art, industry, handcraft, literature, and science.101 The way the pavilion


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lumped together the work of amateurs and professionals in such a separatist space made it problematic—if not impossible—for a generation of late nineteenth-century women artists seeking to uncouple themselves from the trope of the dilettantish lady amateur. It was, in fact, a misadventure with an invitation to exhibit at the Chicago Women’s Pavilion that hardened the lifelong resolve of WFA cofounder Blau-Lang to disassociate herself from leagues and exhibitions exclusively for women.102 Like other women artists across Europe and America, Blau-Lang strove for a model of gender-neutral professionalism, measured in terms of highly trained skill and progressive advancement through well-defined professional benchmarks, in an attempt to efface her gender from her work. As Olga Brand-Krieghammer (president of the Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs [VBKÖ, Austrian association of women artists], 1910–15) once quipped on Blau-Lang’s notorious refusal to participate in women’s exhibitions; “The otherwise so benevolent Old Mistress is a bitter enemy of any association of women in art.”103 But Blau-Lang’s attitudes toward professionalism, amateurism, and the women’s movement were far more complicated than Brand-Krieghammer let on; Blau-Lang’s legendary opposition to women’s collectives has obfuscated her deep engagement with the women’s movement via her teaching career at the WFA, where she mentored professionals and dilettantes alike. Given that dilettantism became the subject of intense scrutiny across Europe and was necessarily positioned in opposition to professional women artists like Blau-Lang, it seems curious that the WFA saw part of its founding mission as becoming a seedbed for “dilettantism in the positive sense.”104 Indeed, as Scheffler’s work became current among misogynist Viennese critics, charges of dilettantism would be used to collapse a supposed tendency for imitation to women’s reproductive capacities. Why, then, would an institution dedicated to providing women and girls with serious artistic training promote a revival of “positive dilettantism,” ideas to which even Blau-Lang, the unrelenting professional, subscribed? Paralleling its founding mission to annihilate divisions between fine and applied art and art for the elite and the masses, the secessionists harbored radical attitudes toward traditional notions of art, authorship, and art making, what can be dubbed its Künstlerschaft (community of artists) philosophy. Ideas explicated most forcefully by Klimt in his speech opening the 1908 Kunstschau, the secessionist Künstlerschaft was that of an ideal community of artists and creators that jettisoned traditional cleavages between amateurs and professionals, artists and the public, and active creation and passive receptivity.105 According to such an ideal, “all the arts have equal rank and ‘consumers’ and ‘creators’ together form that ideal community, the Künstlerschaft,” with consumption to be understood in a patently spiritual sense.106 Not unlike the eighteenth-century lady dilettante whose practice and patronage were analogous, a striking number of Klimt’s female patrons harbored creative ambitions and were active in art making, even if not professionally.107 Klimt believed that the skilled amateur had an important role to play within the secessionist Künstlerschaft—not only would her

own artistic practice foster a more receptive, sophisticated public for contemporary art but her aesthetic appreciation would enrich and inform her own creative output. Precisely for these reasons, WFA took a radically alternative position on the polemics surrounding female dilettantism. Prior to the installation of courses in academic painting and sculpture in 1918/19, the WFA imposed no special admissions examination for incoming pupils.108 It dedicated itself to training future professionals as well as, as Jodl phrased it in the VKFM’s general assembly on December 9, 1903, cultivating “the precious fruits of lesser talents” who were called not to practice art vocationally but to plant “the holy flame of art in hearth and home, to nurture a love and enthusiasm for art, to participate in the creation of works dear to all of us . . . forging an artistic-aesthetic culture.”109 Regardless of whether students “did not need or want to, due to various circumstances, earn money from their art as a career,” WFA founders stressed that the training its pupils received would be a rigorous künstlerische Gesamtausbildung to foster individual intellectual development: “The school’s goal is to provide serious artistic training to its members but not necessarily in the belief that a truly large number of active creative artists can be educated here. . . . Therefore we also want to give lesser talents the opportunity to educate and cultivate themselves, and to bring [their training] to fruition.”110 While training renowned artists and designers—to the extent that the WFA’s last director, Heinrich Zita (1932–39) boasted that “there was hardly a woman artist of note has not been a pupil at our institution”—the WFA remained dedicated to sowing bonds between the likes of Wieselthier or Harlfinger-Zakucka and their nonprofessional sisters in the secessionist Künstlerschaft.111 This attitude of implied equality between professionals and amateurs, artistic production and consumption, and greater and lesser talents amounted to a radical revaluation of gendered attitudes toward active creation and passive aesthetic receptivity. In the literature on the Central European Kunsterziehungsreformbewegung (art education reform movement), such ideas are commonly associated with the institutional practices of Alfred Lichtwark, a primary schoolteacher turned art historian, who directed the Hamburg Kunsthalle from 1886 to 1914 and made it the base of operations for an ambitious program of aesthetic cultivation and public education.112 Central to Lichtwark’s program was his promotion of dilettantism as a serious, positive concept that would foster greater aesthetic appreciation among the German bourgeoisie, who were all too focused, he extrapolated, on technology, science, and industry at the expense of aesthetic receptivity.113 Working through the Hamburg Society of Friends of Art (founded 1893), a group of wealthy art enthusiasts predominated by women, Lichtwark maintained that amateurs could achieve high levels of expression by applying themselves to art and handcraft with diligence and seriousness; he used the Kunsthalle to stage exhibitions of artworks produced by society members to “win back the respect that he thought amateur artists deserved.”114 He believed serious dilettantism would, in turn, lay the foundations for closer contacts between contemporary artists and the public and


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provide better-educated, aesthetically awakened consumers and museum-goers through the self-improving practices of the public at large. Lichtwark’s theories on positive dilettantism gained traction among artists, critics, and pedagogues in secessionist Vienna, including the circles founding the WFA. In an article for Ver Sacrum from July 1898, Zuckerkandl praised Lichtwark’s notion of positive dilettantism for inspiring a new “folk art” that would plant seeds of aesthetic appreciation among the masses, an invaluable asset for raising consumer taste to demand more aesthetic applied-arts products.115 What I want to put forth, however, is that despite overlaps with Lichtwark, the WFA’s alternative attitudes toward artistic productivity/ receptivity and amateurism/professionalism were informed by its connections to the visionary wing of the Austrian women’s movement: specifically, the close personal and professional relationship between feminist philosopher and WFA cofounder Mayreder, an amateur painter, and the preeminent “Old Mistress” of Austrian landscape painting, Blau-Lang. Like Seligmann, Mayreder (writing under the masculine pseudonym of “Franz Arnold,” a secret identity that likely became known to her teacher after May 1899) ranked as one of Blau-Lang’s most important critical supporters, maintaining that the secessionists had ignored the “home-grown” talent of Blau-Lang, particularly at the Secession’s Third Exhibition (1899) dedicated to contemporary foreign painting and predominated by Belgian symbolism.116 Such positive press was instrumental in encouraging the notoriously reticent Blau-Lang to hold more frequent public exhibitions, like her one-woman show at the Galerie Pisko (February–March 1899). As evidenced from their correspondence, Blau-Lang and Mayreder shared an intimate acquaintance that was artistic, professional, and personal, exchanging professional advice, discussing administrative matters relating to the school, and promoting student ventures like the WFA’s Nikolo-Markt (St. Nicholas market) in the 1900 Christmas season.117 Like other amateurs attending the school, Mayreder enrolled in Blau-Lang’s painting class at the WFA in 1899. With access to life classes and open-air painting sessions, the instruction she received was vastly superior to her prior private studies, which were based on copying ornamental patterns and plaster casts.118 Exhibiting her work at venues such as the Künstlerhaus, the Society of Viennese Watercolor Artists, and Salon Pisko, Mayreder garnered positive criticism as a painter of landscapes, flowers, and still lifes executed in watercolor or gouache. Her artistic development occurred around the same time she began to publish. Yet Mayreder never needed or wanted to practice art as a full-time vocation like her close friend Blau-Lang. Rather, the feminist philosopher used it as an intermittent source of “variation and regeneration” from her literary and intellectual pursuits.119 Prior to leading the WFA, Mayreder had cofounded the General Austrian Women’s Association in 1893, and she remained a leader of the “visionary” wing of the Austrian women’s movement throughout the period she and her husband ran the WFA’s executive board. In contrast to the platform of equal rights supported by Hainisch’s League of

Austrian Women’s Associations, which was focused on pragmatic goals like suffrage, economic parity, and employment, Mayreder’s ideologically oriented association favored a sweeping program of personal liberation and transformation of sexual relations on a micro- and macrosocietal level.120 Mayreder’s feminist philosophies called for the creation of a synthetic ideal of gender both on the level of the individual, as explicated in Zur Kritik der Weiblichkeit (1905, published in English in 1913 as A Survey of the Woman Problem), and for society at large, as propounded in Geschlecht und Kultur (Gender and culture) (1923).121 At the individual level, Mayreder enjoined women to throw off the shackles of the average norms of femininity, what she described as psychosexual characteristics rooted in humanity’s “original and primitive organic conditions,” toward the creation of a synthetic ideal, in which Geschlecht (sex or teleologically determined sexual characteristics) and Geist (intellect, which she believed was not sex-specific) would be perfectly harmonized.122 In the process of a “woman transforming herself from an object into a subject, from a thing into a person,” the synthetic individual would overcome the limitations of her sexuality without denying it: a challenging process since women’s reproductive sexual nature favored traits in opposition to intellectual and personal individuation.123 Mayreder’s philosophies are apparent in the WFA’s dedication to a broad künstlerische Gesamtausbildung that would not just sharpen an individual’s artistic prowess but aide in personal individuation and intellectual development. Ver Sacrum editor Wilhelm Schölermann encapsulated the WFA’s philosophies in an article for Dokumente der Frauen, the association’s official journal that Mayreder coedited: “The essence remains the striving and that, which through this striving for humanistic achievement and individual perception, is awoken and freed.”124 Whether or not students practiced art professionally, artistic self-activity would facilitate the formation of well-rounded, aesthetically sensitive individuals who would become a receptive audience for the secessionists’ didactic program. But the real thrust of Mayreder’s critique extended far beyond personal liberation to a sweeping critique of modern civilization that “reache[d] into the mechanisms of how institutionalized knowledge is constructed and maintained through the exclusion of women and . . . the feminine.”125 Women were not, according to Mayreder, just to enter public life and adopt masculine values but rather to revive an older civilizing mission as “schoolmaster[s] of the male sex [Lehrmeister des männlichen Geschlechts]” to usher in a wider transformation of progress-driven masculine Zivilization (civilization) through the moderation of a softer, more receptive, feminine Kultur (culture).126 To Mayreder, the crisis of modern civilization was not rooted in the increased presence of women in the public sphere, as antifeminists like Weininger alleged, but in the absence of women and feminine values; this situation was reflected in the ways in which culturally “feminine” traits, such as creative receptivity, multitalented versatility, and aesthetic sensitivity, were devalued over active, prolific, and innovative production. Paralleling the democratic tendencies of the Künstlerschaft ideal, Mayreder believed that masculine civilization


The Art of Unlearning


The Female Secession

was all too fixated on productivity achieved through one-sided technical expertise that limited the individual to ever-narrower fields, seriously threatening the individual’s capacity for aesthetic receptivity. The following passage from Gender and Culture shares an intellectual kinship with the WFA’s künstlerische Gesamtausbildung, intended both for the professional and, as in Mayreder’s case, the serious dilettante: “The overwhelming emphasis on productivity leads to a contempt of the value of receptivity; the prevailing modern viewpoint assesses intellectual standing solely on the former and does not recognize that the neglect and stunting of the latter make all productivity useless in the end. Indeed, one could ask of modern civilization whether its current conditions allow any room for art and true appreciation of art. The one-sided specialization of male education . . . seriously threatens receptivity to artistic experience.”127 While Mayreder never published on artistic dilettantism per se, her views on gender, culture, and civilization lent support to the WFA’s broad-based humanistic training. Mayreder’s entreaty that women “realize that their mission in social life must be different than that of men . . . [and] oppose dominant masculine values” forces us to rethink the sociocultural norms attached to masculine professionalism and feminine dilettantism.128 While professionalism seemed the obvious route to most women artists around 1900, Mayreder held that bending to masculine ideals of academic professionalism only perpetuated the continued marginalization of “feminine” values in institutionalized systems of knowledge and culture. Despite the ways in which professionalism seemed to present objective and supposedly gender-neutral criteria, professionalism constituted a profoundly gendered process wherein “the normative image of the professional was masculine—rational, independent, expert.”129 Stated otherwise, late nineteenth-century women artists identifying with masculine standards of professionalism—defined in opposition to stereotypes clinging to women’s artistic practices—delegitimized the artistic practice of fellow women as amateurish and closed off the possibility of meaningful cooperation with other women. But rather echoing Mayreder and Blau-Lang’s close artistic relationship, the WFA advanced serious artistic training and mutual feminist solidarity between amateur and professional alike. The WFA’s valorization of “serious dilettantism” was an idea to which Blau-Lang, otherwise a great critic of “women’s only” endeavors, subscribed. Despite the ways in which Blau-Lang is remembered for her uncompromising “march towards professionalism,” contemporary evidence suggests that she enthusiastically supported students pursuing art for professional and personal reasons and did not discriminate solely based on skill.130 Former students stress that Blau-Lang dedicated herself not only to prodigies but also to the sort of lesser but enthusiastic talents critical to the secessionist Künstlerschaft. As one remembered, “What was Tina Blau as a teacher! Even the smallest talent—as long as it was a genuine one—could count on active sympathy from the great artist. She was always full of the most loving understanding and empathy, the most selfless

sacrifice. . . . Only honest, internal strivings, serious work—that she demanded. And that she supported.”131 Observations on Blau-Lang’s role as a female mentor were not unique to students; contemporary critics and VKFM reports noted her selfless dedication to student mentorship. For every student showing “serious” but not necessarily professional artistic strivings, the painter always found “encouraging words of support.”132 Writing on behalf of Hainisch’s league in 1916, Minor framed Blau-Lang as a “warm adherent of the women’s movement” despite her opposition to separatist endeavors. In favoring an alternative set of artistic values—less hierarchical teaching methods, creative receptivity, the secessionist Künstlerschaft ideal, and the unity of art and craft—perhaps mainstream male institutions had something to learn from Blau-Lang and Mayreder as “schoolmasters of the male sex.”133 Mayreder implied the idea of women’s transformative role in artistic and cultural institutions when addressing the WFA’s graduating classes in 1905: “My honored young ladies . . . through your serious and persistent work, it lies in your hands to help realize the goals that hovered before us at [the WFA’s] founding. Remain united with our working endeavor to contribute, through this school, a modest part in that greater mission, which shall be accomplished in the near future through the participation of women in works of culture.”134 The fact that many of the curricular reforms implemented by the Women’s Academy—such as free choice of instructor, integration of pupils by ability or year of study, and educational methods attuned to developing students’ individuality—anticipated the demands for free, creative expression made by Schiele’s 1910 Neukunstgruppe Manifesto is ironic in light of the ways the younger generation of expressionists embraced the misogynistic currents sweeping through the Viennese art world after 1908. As I will show in part 2, Mayreder’s critique of institutionalized forms of knowledge made a lasting impact on former WFA pupils who explored the radical potential of handcraft and “women’s only” artistic culture in the interwar years. Although the WFA’s revival of positive dilettantism may have been controversial, what was arguably the boldest aspect of its curriculum were the methods of “free expression” pioneered in Böhm’s decorative arts course. In modernist art journals, Böhm was celebrated for his experimental “free expression” methods of art instruction and his overriding preference for pupils unfettered by previous artistic training. Yet to reactionary critics, Böhm’s radically permissive, nonprescriptive methods only fed the flames of old stereotypes of dilettantism—not in the positive and “serious” way that the WFA envisioned but in ways that collided with old stereotypes defining female creativity in terms of mechanical reproduction and the “low” arts.


The Art of Unlearning

Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts in the Böhm School

Böhm guides his students with great care, he lets them proceed, uninfluenced, on their own; the feeling of independence, self-activity, and conscious creativity seems to be present from the very beginning in his circle of students. The duties of the teacher only lie in relation to the determining characteristics of the material and technique. . . . [W]hat is present in the seed must be germinated. —Joseph lux, 1906


Make your schools into something else—make them into gardens . . . where flowers may grow as they grow in the garden of God. The teacher ought to learn to “hover like an invisible spirit” over his pupil, always ready to encourage but never to press or force. —fRAnz Čížek, 1921

One of the most potent applications of the secessionist ideal of “unlearning” crystallized in the WFA’s popular course for decorative and applied art, taught by Böhm (from 1899 to 1909) and continued by Friedrich (from 1909 to 1932). Informed as much by modernist design pedagogy as progressive currents in early childhood education, Böhm shunned traditional teacher-centered methods of instruction, professing that he did not teach but merely awakened awareness of material and technique through experimental self-activity. Saturating Böhm’s self-expressive rhetoric were horticultural metaphors equating educators to gardeners tending seedbeds of innate creativity and a preference for previously untaught pupils, whose perceived naïveté and institutional isolation resounded with the secessionists’ search for “primitive” design sources untainted by the



The Female Secession

confused proliferation of historical styles defining the culture around them. As design reformer Joseph Lux observed, “In Professor Böhm’s opinion, the entirely unspoiled, who have had no prior drawing instruction, are the most beholden material.”1 That such practices were to culminate not in specialized technical mastery but in the revelation of the pupil’s inner self amounted to a frontal assault on the methods of nineteenth-century design educators. Böhm’s pedagogy of unlearning took concrete shape in his students’ efforts to revive, reinvent, and reclaim forms of artistic practice linked with femininity, domesticity, and amateurism. Under Böhm’s guidance, Harlfinger-Zakucka, Singer-Schinnerl, Podhajská, Likarz-Strauss, and Maria Pranke (1891–1972) elevated paper cutting and stenciling to forms of artistic expression in dialogue with “fine” artistic developments: a revival evidencing the secessionist goal of raising Kleinkunst (minor art) to the status of easel painting.2 Through experimentation with stencil making and paper-mosaic collage, the Böhm school exploited the formal reductionism and stylized flatness inherent in both media to create pure “patches of color and harmonies of line,” making vital contributions to secessionist Flächenkunst (surface decoration).3 Artists and critics of the Klimt group brimmed with excitement about the expressive possibilities of Flächenkunst, an experimental field of abstract surface decoration applicable to “fine” and applied art as well as any two- and three-dimensional media. A series of stencil prints by Böhm’s students appeared in Die Fläche, an experimental journal serving as an incubator for the childlike cloisonné style of early Viennese expressionism. Inflecting the themes of vegetal rebirth and youthful regeneration pervading secessionist graphic art, Else Lott’s cover image for the first volume’s second issue (1902/3), a stylized figural composition in green and gray, dissolves into colorful, mosaic-like shapes punctuated by outlines of negative space (color plate 3). The white blossoms hover on the surface of the paper, their visual impact heightened by the delicately sponged gray background that simultaneously delineates folds in the figure’s flowing garment. The Böhm school similarly experimented with paper cutting in designing for the Wiener Werkstätte’s new line of artist postcards (launched in 1907), a venture providing critical opportunities to talented newcomers linked to the Viennese expressionist breakthrough. Flächenkunst is commonly connected to Klimt in his progression toward an increasingly surface-bound mode of visual representation. In an extended 1907 essay, Ludwig Hevesi traced Klimt’s Malmosaik (painted mosaic) principle through its genesis in the university murals (1899–1907), through its clear presence in the Beethoven Frieze (1902), and to its climax in the ornamental fields predominating his portraits of Fritza Riedler (1906) and Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907), which were both exhibited with the WW in Mannheim (1907) and at the 1908 Kunstschau.4 Like the crystalline fragments in a kaleidoscope that could be shaken and rearranged indefinitely, surface ornamentation provided Klimt’s decorative fantasies with inexhaustible creative possibilities in his trajectory toward a two-dimensional form of surface covering that combined the planarity of painting with

the materiality of mosaic, enamelwork, or tapestry.5 What concerns me here is how the Böhm school experimented with similar principles of rigid geometricity and spatial flatness in a mosaic-like Flächenkunst that affirmed its status as pure surface while anticipating developments in Viennese expressionism. Design historians have long noted the proto-expressionist tendencies present in secessionist Flächenkunst, with shared characteristics like flattened planes of jewellike colors, expressive contrast patterns, and prominent black outlines evoking mosaic or stained glass.6 To design historian Jane Kallir, the overall visual impact of the early WW postcards was that of a potently “childlike primitivism.”7 As helpful as such observations are, a more comprehensive picture of the pedagogical impulses underlying such primitivizing currents remains unexplored. Whereas the increasingly reductive, flattened qualities of secessionist Flächenkunst are typically explained by a sustained interest in Japanese art, accessible via the large collection of color woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) and textile stencil patterns (katagami) housed at the MfKI, members of the Böhm school found parallel influences in the formal qualities of stenciling and paper cutting whereby orientalism could coexist with, and complement, the primitivizing currents of children’s and folk art—and vice versa.8 In important Klimt group ventures, the Böhm school exploited intellectual linkages of femininity with folk cultures and children, harnessing a childlike formal vocabulary that played on these groups’ perceived naïveté and institutional exclusion. These developments unearth a dialectical process of unlearning whereby Böhm students—whose designs were believed to display “a similar fresh and vibrant character” as “primitive” peoples—were informed both by the visual qualities of “primitive” children’s art and folk art and by East Asian art and artifacts, as well as the discursive fields surrounding these categories.9 The cultivation by female art students of a deliberately childlike style then signaled a calculated rebellion against stale academic formulas, revealing their position as sophisticated interpreters of folk art, children’s drawings, and orientalism even as many genuinely embraced the possibility that they, as Jodl’s “pioneers,” could access certain forms of self-expression because of their gender. Böhm and Secessionist Free Expression Hevesi once described Böhm as a silent man of few words with a charming awkwardness, like a tamed bear both in his gentle, unforceful personality and his appearance, gesturing toward his short stature, black beard, and rotund torso.10 Contemporary photographs preserved in Harlfinger-Zakucka’s scrapbook suggest that Hevesi’s humorous observations were not inaccurate. A secessionist Mehrfachkünstler/in known for his hybridity between high and low art, Böhm produced an artistic oeuvre, much like that of his students, that ranged between textile design, book illustration, stucco relief, glass mosaic, furniture design, and decorative wall painting. As artist and educator, Böhm not only


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts


The Female Secession

participated in landmark secessionist exhibitions, contributing the abstract decorative mural Dawning Day to the famed Beethoven exhibition (the fourteenth secessionist exhibition, April 14–May 27, 1902) themed around Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze and Max Klinger’s polychrome Beethoven statue, but he also facilitated students’ participation in important Klimt group ventures and publication in prestigious design journals. During his tenure on Ver Sacrum’s editorial committee (1901–3), Böhm curated special issues of student stencilwork, including the September 1902 issue that featured on its cover Podhajská’s black-and-white vignette of swans that seem to melt into abstract, geometrical flecks (fig. 5). Böhm strove to fulfill the reformist dictum that secessionism was not an outward aesthetic to be copied or taught but an attitude of experimentation, regeneration, and rebirth. Less the imparting of technical dexterity, what Lux, a frequent commentator on design education, derided as “a mechanical sort of apprenticeship,” Böhm’s pedagogy was more of a “germinating what is present in the seed.”11 As instructor, Böhm avoided direct interference in students’ working processes in favor of guiding pupils to “the determining characteristics of the material.”12 A crucial aim of Böhm’s methodology was to plant principles of Materialgerechtig- und Zweckmässigkeit (suitability of material and purpose) through independent, multidisciplinary handcraft practice that would convey the emotional states and experiences of the students. An idea taken up in the WW’s experimental “artist workshops” (to be discussed more in chapter 5), Böhm’s students had complete freedom to choose the media and materials appropriate to a given design concept. In contrast to the academic curriculum that was based on the fundamentals of drawing, Böhm’s students created directly in handcraft media and were encouraged to work from memory so as to avoid slavish imitation of naturalistic detail. Böhm did not segregate pupils by age, ability, or year of study (Jahrgang) but allowed students of all abilities to learn from and teach one another. Duration of study was likewise elective: students could opt for one, three, or five years. As evidenced by the WFA’s annual reports, the decorative arts course met with great demand and remained the best-attended Hauptkurs throughout the WFA’s history. Böhm’s unconventional methods resounded with pupils conditioned, as Böhm student Singer-Schinnerl remembered, to the “unendingly boring copying of geometrical figures from patterns” typifying elementary drawing instruction elsewhere.13 Böhm’s teaching methodology overlapped with that of fellow Klimt group adherent and Kunstschau co-organizer Čížek. Dedicating himself to what contemporaries likened to “the artist in every child,” Čížek is regarded as the discover of the way untutored children’s drawings seemed to possess strikingly modernist tendencies in their formal simplification and eschewal of realism.14 Čížek’s internationally celebrated Jugendkunstkursen, incorporated into the KGS in 1904, operated according to the pedagogue’s philosophies of “werden lassen—wachsen lassen—sich vollenden lassen” (let children be—let them grow—let them complete themselves).15 Like Böhm, Čížek stridently objected


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts

5. Minka Podhajská, cover design for Ver Sacrum 5, no. 17 (1902): 247. 10 1/4 × 9 5/8 in. (26 × 24 cm). Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University.

to conventional methods of art instruction wrapped up in drafting skill and technical accuracy that quashed the inborn creative drives present in every child. Čížek described the rigid methods of nineteenth-century art instruction, based on practices of stymographic and net drawing, as “training in skill without any regard for creative work.”16 Schoolchildren were made to connect dots—progressively placed further apart—with straight lines before progressing to copying ornamental designs and then plaster casts. This situation, as Čížek recalled, in which “draw[ing] something from imagination, even to draw from nature” was entirely unthinkable, may explain why Böhm pupils like Singer-Schinnerl confessed to scribbling in the margins of her drawing notebooks. 17 Much like Böhm, who valued the untaught, supposedly unspoiled female pupil, Čížek believed that children were to be sheltered from the pernicious influence of books, art journals, and museums, for exposure to sophisticated adult models shattered the naïve springtime of artistic childhood that “never comes again.”18 The pedagogue’s motto


The Female Secession

that “a child, like a flower, must grow out of its own roots if it is to come to fruition” echoed the ways in which contemporary reviewers framed Böhm’s methods in terms of horticultural growth.19 Insisting, like Böhm, that his pupils remain free from outside influence in order to grow from their own roots, Čížek openly admitted his preference for naïve pupils over those tainted through overexposure.20 Čížek’s nonprescriptive methods resounded beyond the teaching of children and permeated modernist design pedagogy. The radically permissive methods employed by secessionist educators like Böhm and Čížek were direct antecedents to those used by Johannes Itten, a former schoolteacher who operated a private art school in Vienna from 1917 to 1919, in his famous Vorkurs (preparatory course) at the Weimar Bauhaus, which he led from 1919 to 1923.21 Itten’s Vorkurs, a six-month course designed to free students’ creative and spiritual powers while acquainting them with the fundamentals of material, composition, and form, is routinely celebrated for its radically permissive methods seeking to free students from prior learning through experimental self-activity and guided instructional exercises. Ultimately, the most innovative aspect of Itten’s pedagogy was applying reformist methods of early childhood education—the liberal lineage of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Friedrich Fröbel, and Maria Montessori—to the instruction of professional adult designers.22 While the precise methods used in secessionist Vienna and the Weimar Bauhaus varied, Böhm and Čížek cultivated a similarly experimental, playful, and creative atmosphere focused on the spontaneous, unmediated revelation of the pupil’s inner self; these methods anticipated and paralleled those employed by Itten and attested to the connections between Čížek, Itten, and Böhm (including fifteen Itten students who followed him to Weimar).23 Fostering direct linkages between ludic experience and experimental forms of art making—an atmosphere in which childhood stood for an “ability to wonder, to dream, to be spontaneous, to destroy, to create”—Böhm’s methods amounted to a wholesale rejection of the attitudes of nineteenth-century design educators who valued extensive prior training.24 In the eyes of modernist critics like Lux and Karl Kuzmany (a Viennese correspondent for Die Kunst für Alle and Hevesi’s successor at Kunst und Kunsthandwerk), Böhm’s methods yielded astonishing results in practice. Pupils who had no previous art instruction were able to spontaneously express themselves through recourse to quotidian materials. Lux, in observing the Böhm school at work, suggested that the beginner was better able to “cut her thoughts from bright paper” than with the pencil.25 He notes that Rosa Meyer, one of Böhm’s pupils, was not yet able to express her thoughts through drawing and felt a more immediate command of paper and scissors. She might turn to stencils, needlework, or printmaking in a later stage of development. Beginners would have worked side-by-side with more advanced students like Harlfinger-Zakucka, whose reputation as a promising “all-around-artist” typified how the Böhm school “took pleasure in every possible material,” as Kuzmany observed.26 For example, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s print Schönbrunn, depicting the park behind the Habsburg summer residence as abstracted

fields of unmodulated color, appeared in Die Fläche in 1902/3, during her fifth and final year of study (color plate 4). The color woodcut shows the park in the lush of summer pulsating with the decorative rhythm of the avenue’s receding diagonals and the use of negative space, a major design concept of secessionist graphic art.27 Kuzmany praised the image’s abstracted nature and “reduction to compressed patches” streamlined by its “unflinchingly garish” palette.28 But the possibility of Harlfinger-Zakucka as a great “decorative” artist still sits uncomfortably with received notions of artistic greatness, complicated, as Tobias Natter helpfully suggests, by the work’s diminutive scale.29 Exemplified by Harlfinger-Zakucka’s take on Schönbrunn, Flächenkunst represented the field in which the Böhm school’s students first established reputations as the Klimt group’s talented newcomers. In providing the printed face of secessionist idealism, graphic surface design was central to the Klimt group’s reformist curriculum, exhibition program, and didactic publications, and it thrived in a variety of media including posters, book art, and commercial graphics.30 Scholarship on Viennese poster art, a subset of Flächenkunst, has tended to focus more on the work’s iconographic content and less on the materials and techniques underlying such graphic impulses. In no uncertain terms has Klimt’s poster for the inaugural secessionist exhibition (depicting a triumphant Theseus slaying the Minotaur and reprinted in Ver Sacrum) been interpreted as indexing a generational struggle against academic conservativism.31 But the potency of the Böhm school’s proto-expressionist, childlike style lay not only in its visual content but also in the connotative resonances attached to the media, materials, and techniques with which the students experimented. Secessionist critics noticed how the Böhm school spearheaded a movement to reform traditionally feminine artistic practices compromised by machine production. In a series of articles on design education, Lux held that Austria-Hungary’s official system of craft schools was pervaded by “the art of cookie-cutter embroidery patterns,” in other words, by the outwardly modernist designs indiscriminately copied into inappropriate media or materials.32 Lux railed against this: “What is learned and practiced today in school and at home under the concept of the ‘female handcrafts’ has . . . nothing to do with art. The pattern (Schlablone) has suffocated every instance of independence and personal taste.”33 Only when a woman designed the pattern she executed, as in the Böhm school, would the needlework convey the personality of its maker and evoke the healthy vitality preserved in peasant embroidery. It was not accidental that the Böhm school reinvented artistic practices associated with mechanical reproduction, amateurism, and the “low” arts at a time when modernist critics like Lux sounded calls for women’s handcraft to move beyond the mere Schlablone. The stencil was a teaching tool Böhm offered his students to reduce representational objects to their two-dimensional essence, a medium they “cultivated particularly zealously.”34 As a method of printmaking and pattern design that teaches its practitioners to dispense with superfluous detail, stenciling, like papercutting, was favored by secessionist educators as an instructional tool for teaching art to children. It was popularized


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts


The Female Secession

by Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska’s pedagogical manual, The Stencil Book, and was also recommended as an ideal method for children’s book illustration.35 Covered in further detail in chapter 6, Zweybrück-Prochaska (1890–1956) was a pedagogue, designer, and children’s book illustrator who operated a progressive craft school and applied-arts commercial workshop based on principles similar to those of Cižek and Böhm. Her Stencil Book recommended the decorative stylization inherent in the technique as ideally suited to stimulating children’s creative powers, encouraging educators to exploit its formal simplification and teach children to use both positive and negative areas of the stencil plate. Discouraging naturalistic detail, Zweybrück-Prochaska encouraged children to find inspiration in the “primitive”—and simultaneously modernist—visual qualities of folk art to decorate the world around them: “As a rule, it is best to select plain figures like those which the peasants formerly used for their honeycake molds and religious symbols. Like those peasant motifs, our designs should represent the objects stripped of all accessory details, in . . . a simplified manner.”36 Much like Čížek’s paper-cutting manual, Zweybrück-Prochaska’s methods influenced adult artists specializing in design for children. Originating as classroom exercises, a specialty of the Böhm school was stencil prints for children. A series of children’s picture books was launched, which included a limited-edition Bilderbuch in 1901 featuring twenty-four stencil prints by Harlfinger-Zakucka, Podhajská, Adele Bettelheim, and Taussig-Roth. Böhm school stencilwork is characterized by an emphasis on reductive surfaces and geometry, exaggerated or seemingly “cropped” viewing angles, and the use of positive and negative areas of the stencil plate, as secessionist educators like Zweybrück-Prochaska recommended. Created out of both positive and negative space with diagonal lines evocative of rain, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s stenciled image from the 1901 Bilderbuch forsakes academically correct perspective to emphasize decorative surface rhythm (color plate 5). Here the artist exploits one of the technique’s foremost technical challenges—the problem of the bridges keeping the pieces of the stencil plate intact after the pattern has been cut to hold the template together—into the overall design. Visualizing the ludic experience central to modernist design pedagogy, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s bridges seem to playfully float in a terse dialogue between figure and ground, positive and negative space, background and foreground. Expanses of unadorned white paper do not merely function as background in the traditional sense, but by framing the stenciled motif, they emerge as integral to the design concept. The placement of equal pictorial weight on positive and negative space suggests that Harlfinger-Zakucka was likely influenced by Rudolf von Larisch, professor of ornamental writing and heraldry at the KGS (docent, 1901–5; professor, 1905–33), who also taught at the WFA (1903–33). Larisch’s theories not only led the secessionists to view typography and image as graphic elements of equal importance, but they put forth the idea that the blank white page could be given equal consideration in graphic design.

In assessing its flattened visual grammar, Dokumente der Frauen, the journal of Mayreder’s feminist association, hailed the Bilderbuch as an important pedagogical and artistic achievement. The simple images, free of text or programmatic narrative, offered children greater visual stimulation than the detailed illustrations found in commercial children’s books and were executed through stenciling, “the simplest possible means.”37 Historically, stenciling was used to reproduce decorative patterns over large surfaces. It was most widespread from the seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth century, when it was used for patterning wallpapers or as surface decoration among rural folk cultures. By the end of the nineteenth century, when mass-produced wallpapers became widely affordable, stenciling fell into artistic disrepute, degraded as “a plaything for amateurs or a labor-saving tool.”38 In contrast to its previous historical usage, the Böhm school elevated stenciling to a form of graphic printmaking in its own right, worthy of inclusion in Ver Sacrum. Ver Sacrum’s special September edition in 1902 was dedicated to Böhm school stencilwork and included designs by Henriette von Pokorny, Leontine Maneles, Frieda Doppler, Bettelheim, Harlfinger-Zakucka (see fig. 3), and Podhajská, whose swan prints adorned the cover (see fig. 5). An extensive collection of Böhm school Flächenkunst, including ornamental pattern designs, stencil prints, and color woodcuts, like Harlfinger-Zakucka’s Schönbrunn, appeared in both of the original editions of Die Fläche, circa 1902 and 1903. The experimental portfolio of surface decoration patterns (which continued in a new series in 1910) was published by secessionist educators who presented student work alongside their own. Intended to inspire a renaissance of fresh surface design, Die Fläche featured graphic art that was often distinguished by an unapologetic flatness, bold black outlines, and, in some instances, a childlike visual grammar—namely, what scholars have dubbed “a collective style of the Kunstgewerbeschule.”39 Die Fläche showcased pattern designs by KGS students and WW collaborators including Rudolf Kalvach (1883–1932), Urban Janke (1887–1914), Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel (1881–1965), and Moritz Jung (1885–1915), as well as female students like Jutta Sika (1877–1964), Therese Trethahn (1879–1957), and Marietta Peyfuss (1868–?), the latter three members of the WKiH. Although many Fläche contributors attest to the close institutional nexus of the KGS and WW, WFA students were just as prominent in the pages of Die Fläche as their KGS colleagues.40 Not unlike Klimt’s iconic portraits of women, a preoccupation with the expressive possibilities of textile patterns characterized Podhajská’s stencil prints in Die Fläche, such as her abstracted take on the magi in the Christian Nativity scene (fig. 6). Similar to Harlfinger-Zakucka’s Bilderbuch image, Podhajská uses the bridges to supply the design’s “drawing” in the manner of stained glass or mosaic to delineate figural contours and garment folds. She simultaneously explores the bridges’ expressive potential in how their swelling lighter lines seem to lead the magi to Bethlehem. Bringing to bear the artist’s penchant for formal idiosyncrasy and complexity, the notion that stenciling was a mechanical, labor-saving technique is negated by the multiple stencil plates


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The Female Secession

6. Minka Podhajská, stenciled image, ca. 1902. 6 × 6 1/2 in. (15.3 × 16.5 cm). From Die Fläche 1, no. 2 (1902): 109.

required to execute Podhajská’s design. This complexity is apparent in the intricate surface-patterns on the magi’s garments, redolent of the material qualities of brocade. In another image of a peasant wedding from the 1903 picture book Schablonen Drücke (Stencil prints) produced in collaboration with Harlfinger-Zakucka, the flickering surfaces of the female figure’s dress dissolve into mosaic-like shapes signifying embroidery (color plate 6). Framed by the blank page, the stencil print seems to pulsate with a dizzying, three-quarter-time tempo evocative of peasant dance, as the swirling motion of the foreground couple is echoed in the diagonal line of dancers behind them. The mosaic-like qualities of Böhm school stencil prints relate to the flattened mode of surface decoration Klimt was working out at the same time. Among the Vienna secessionists, only Klimt fully integrated Flächenkunst principles onto the easel canvas, as evident in the portraits of Fritza Riedler (1906) and Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) that he exhibited with the WW at the Mannheim Kunsthalle in spring 1907 (fig. 7).41 The portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer depicts her in a golden dress and robe,

seated in an armchair in a decorative surround imitating the semi-precious stones, enamel, and ceramics used on actual mosaics while making extensive use of gold and silver leaf. She appears as a precious, jewellike object, a modern-day princess visually and conceptually fused with the rich Flächenkunst engulfing her. In the 1907 Mannheim installation where the painting hung alongside George Minne’s Kneeling Youths (ca. 1898), the sitter’s material richness was heightened by the sparse geometrical interior with its black-and-white checkered floor designed by Hoffmann. Bloch-Bauer, a salon hostess noted for her support of women’s suffrage and progressive social causes, wears a reform-style garment invented by the artist.42 It appears indistinguishable from the chair above which she seems to hover since the figure and ground seem to blur. Writing three years after the Böhm school’s feature in Die Fläche, Hevesi praised Klimt’s progression toward an unabashedly flat style of painted mosaic as “an openly, freely acknowledged surface covering . . . composed of colorful gold and silver little geometrical pieces: not three dimensional but pure surface.”43 Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer and Podhajská’s stenciled image may have served different purposes within the secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk ideal: the high-priced portrait serving to frame its sitter as a precious artwork worthy of inclusion in the Künstlerschaft while the stencil books, likewise not democratically priced, were intended to entertain children. Differing purposes notwithstanding, Böhm school stencilwork shares with Klimt’s portraits a fascination with Flächenkunst’s radically flattened, mosaic-like qualities and the potential to bridge the gap between fine and applied art. While Klimt used Flächenkunst and applied-art techniques to call the autonomy of his portraiture into question, arriving at what Hevesi famously dubbed Malmosaik, a hybrid of painting and handcraft, the Böhm school used the Flächenkunst principle to bring the decorative arts in dialogue with “fine” artistic developments. Fascinating Klimt and the Böhm school alike, the lesson of Flächenkunst involved a radical simplification of visual reality into its most flattened essence, much like Klimt’s stylized depictions of real and invented Werkstätte textiles and Podhajská’s stenciled embroidery.


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7. WW exhibition, Mannheim Kunsthalle, 1907. Interior design by Josef Hoffmann. Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) is visible on the rear wall. From DKD 20, no. 12 (1907): 331.


The Female Secession

8. WW exhibition, Galerie Miethke, December 1905. From The Studio 37, no. 156 (1906): 169.

Yet the Flächenkunst principle could also be used in reverse, proceeding “from the page to the wall” to inspire three-dimensional objects of radical stylistic purity and reductionism. As Christoph Grunenberg rightly argues on the transmission of Flächenkunst from two-dimensional graphic art into three dimensions, “The elegant juxtaposition of empty field and work of art was first exercised in Vienna on the printed page. . . . [But t]he same principles of reductive order and strict geometric arrangement were applied in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, inventively integrating . . . ornament as surface decoration.”44 Böhm school pupils would apply the same principles of formal reductionism first explored in the pages of Die Fläche and picture books when designing three-dimensional objects for the WW’s new line of artistic toys debuting around 1904/5. A crucial junction for Böhm school Mehrfachkünstlerinnen like Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská was participation in the WW’s December 1905 Galerie Miethke exhibition. Under the artistic directorship of Moll, the Galerie Miethke became the unofficial commercial successor to the Secession before the schism. Resulting from long-simmering tensions between the Stilkünstler (stylists) and Nur-Maler (only-painters) on the relative value of the fine and applied arts, the progressive WW/Klimt group left the Secession in mid-1905 to work exclusively through the Galerie Miethke.45 In what amounted to the Klimt group’s first public appearance since their exodus from the “rump” Secession, the WW’s December 1905 exhibition not only marked the first general overview of its product lines to a domestic audience (preceded by exhibitions abroad and special themed exhibitions in Vienna) but inaugurated Miethke’s new salesroom at Graben 17. Commissioned by Moll, Hoffmann’s interiors featured innovative lighting and display features like the flexible hanging system that doubled as a decorative black-and-white frieze (fig. 8). These interiors functioned as “an enduring advertisement” for the WW’s geometrical style and signature “white cube” installation design.46 In exemplifying the geometrical style associated with the WW’s early purist phase (1904–6), Hoffmann’s and Moser’s work has received top billing in scholarship on the exhibition, which has focused particularly on their metalware designs (including the so-called Gitterwerk flower baskets, vases, and candleholders made of perforated metal grids) and Hoffmann’s architectural model for the Palais Stoclet (1905–11), a commission taken as the zenith of the secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk.47 Virtually ignored in the scholarship were the young art students, including Podhajská and Harlfinger-Zakucka, who exhibited with the WW


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts

9. Minka Podhajská, stenciled image from Schlablonen Drucke, ca. 1903. 9 5/8 × 8 3/4 in. (24.4 × 22.2 cm). Princeton University Library, Cotsen Children’s Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

as guests. Critically, the Werkstätte’s recruitment of fresh talent from the WFA and KGS coincided with a shift away from the geometrical style of its purist phase toward an engagement with the primitivizing currents of children’s and folk art. Contemporary reviewers like Zuckerkandl showed great excitement for the handful of “completely new figures . . . young forces” recruited by the WW for their new line of artistic objects for children including picture books, games, furniture, and turned-wood toys.48 Secessionist critics including Hevesi, Levetus, Lux, and Zuckerkandl explicitly referred to artistic toys designed by Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská in addition to murals and picture books suited to children’s naïve mode of visual perception.49 It was highly likely that stencil prints like those from Die Fläche and the Bilderbücher were shown as two-dimensional complements to the toys, as documented by these contemporary reviewers. Although it is impossible to reconstruct precisely which models were shown in the absence of a catalogue, the toys were derived from the same Flächenkunst principles first developed in stenciling and likely resembled the vernacular toys Podhajská depicted in prints (fig.


The Female Secession

9). Moreover, it is quite possible that some of the same toys photographed for a special twenty-three-page spread on WW toys in the January 1906 edition of Alexander Koch’s journal, Kind und Kunst, were on display at Miethke’s. The bold primary colors and deliberately crude forms of Harlfinger-Zakucka’s and Podhajská’s toys attracted praise from modernist critics, several of whom, including Levetus and Lux, positioned their work as reflecting inborn decorative drives similar to those of peasants.50 To many reviewers, the work of talented newcomers like Podhajská, Harlfinger-Zakucka, and KGS student and Werkstätte collaborator Franz von Zülow spoke a distinctly bäuerlich-primitiv (folkish primitive) design language. This assessment was based on the grammar and syntax of Zülow’s folk-art inspired decoration of Moser’s cabinet-on-stand (at the center of fig. 8) and the deliberately simplified qualities of modernist toys based on the vernacular versions seen in Podhajská’s prints (to which I will return in chapter 4). Assessing the Böhm school’s role in this nascent bäuerlich-primitiv style, Lux suggested that Podhajská’s and Harlfinger-Zakucka’s brightly painted furniture and toys had nothing to do with the imitation Bauernmalerei (peasant painting) fashionable since the nineteenth-century revival of folk art. Although evocative of vernacular toys, Lux believed toy designs by the Böhm school were thoroughly original and, in emphasizing their construction at the turning lathe, true to the modernist principle of Materialgerechtigkeit.51 While secessionist critics were captivated by this folk-art style, others looked askance at the primitivizing currents brewing among WW newcomers. One of the most critical voices of the exhibition—and the Klimt group’s broader philosophies on Zweckkunst (functional art)—was none other than WFA cofounder Seligmann, who penned a scathing polemic against the “mysterious things” on display at Miethke.52 Despite having championed the innovative qualities of Blau-Lang’s impressionism, the academician rejected the philosophies of younger Stilkünstler like Böhm and dismissed expressionism—what he deemed a wasteful expenditure of trained talent “to indulge in senseless doodles of line and color”—as symptomatic of mental and physical disease.53 Seligmann’s criticism targeted the Werkstätte’s misguided philosophies on Zweckkunst and an inauthentic naïveté he noted among their young guests.54 Fundamentally, Seligmann objected to the ways that WW artists collapsed the boundary between the practical and the aesthetic, for “beauty for the sake of beauty only belongs to the [pure] work of art.”55 While not denying that objects of everyday use might be aesthetic, the archconservative found it oppressive when an object’s function was suffocated by pretentious aesthetic ideas more appropriate to the pure artwork, necessarily divorced from any purpose other than its own beauty. But more disturbing than the Klimt group’s cross-pollination of the beautiful and the practical were the fundamental contradictions between the functional and decorative impulses of the “mysterious things” on display. Seligmann questioned the role of function in Hoffmann’s radically geometricized designs for silver flatware (i.e., the Flat Model of ca. 1904), which lacked the customary grooves between prongs or any sort of grip or

curvature to distinguish the top from the bottom, and in the Stoclet architectural model, which, as a radical juxtaposition of flat white facades lacking rustification, columns, moldings, or the slightest pitch to the roof, Seligmann dubbed a Wohnapparat (machine for living) that had “as little to do with art as a typewriter or a Kodak.”56 Accordingly, Seligmann suggested that Werkstätte Zweckkunst was laced with contradictions in that “the function of such completely unusual form[s] is not entirely clear to me.”57 While supposedly guided by pure function, WW Zweckkunst merely provided occasion for formal idiosyncrasy and a completely “functionless ornamentalism.”58 Seligmann drove the idea home by pointing out how various design elements of the showcased Zweckkunst, such as the “dust-gathering” decorative balls ornamenting the ends of the cutlery, lacked any sort of practical function. Symptomatic of the ways in which Werkstätte Zweckkunst fulfilled a desire for pointless decoration threatening to collapse the boundary between applied and autonomous art were the primitivizing currents favored by young art students in toy and furniture design. Suggesting that these talented newcomers had misused their training, Seligmann claimed the Werkstätte’s guests cultivated a decorative style that, in directly copying folk art models, lacked the very authenticity that modernist critics prized: “Here and there, clear borrowings from peasant and folk art are brought to bear. These cabinets and chests, painted with garish colors and naïve flower décor, are reminiscent of the household objects of Slovakian farmers, but without really possessing naïveté or originality.”59 Admittedly, Seligmann’s critique of the latent expressionistic currents visible at Miethke only comprised a small part of his column. Yet his polemics against the expressionistic tendencies cultivated by Böhm school students would become more forceful in the years to come. The most damning implication of Seligmann’s review was that the Böhm school’s supposedly naïve, uninfluenced qualities were entirely false, begging the question of whether Böhm’s radically permissive methods betrayed a subtler form of influence whereby students indulged their instructor’s preference for a radically flattened, “primitive” style inspired from children’s drawings, folk art, and East Asian art. In the years to follow, critical voices cast doubt on the authenticity of the Viennese model of free expression despite its international dissemination by pedagogues like John Dewey, Viktor Löwenfeld, and Zweybrück-Prochaska.60 Writing specifically on Böhm’s associate Čížek, American educator Thomas Munro cast doubt on the secessionists’ method of free expression.61 While progressive in granting pupils greater latitude than nineteenth-century art instructors, Munro wondered whether secessionist methods did not mask an equally pernicious sort of academicism springing from a similar set of restrictions and stylistic preferences as before.62 Munro noticed distinct stylistic similarities among students’ work, sharing much in common with the naïve qualities of folk art and possessing an uncanny resemblance to the secessionist Flächenkunst pervading everyday life.63 Despite its practitioners’ declarations that they were merely gardeners cultivating students’ innate seedbeds of creativity, Munro argued that students’ anticipation of instructors’ stylistic


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preferences unconsciously determined the formal qualities of their work, resulting in an artificially cultivated, even academic, “primitive” style. Secessionist educators’ “discovery” of the untutored female art student and the construction of her untapped freshness as a source of domestic primitivism was not accidental but a deliberate and timely rebellion against academicism. A critical category intersecting with longer-standing fascinations with folk art and East Asian artifacts, the Klimt group’s attraction to the untaught woman constituted a calculated rejection of evolutionary classifications of self-taught and “primitive” art as occupying the lowest rung on the nineteenth-century aesthetic hierarchy. Like many colleagues in the Klimt group, Böhm was trained at the conservative ABKW and understood that the flattened planes of his own decorative painting broke the rules of linear composition and perspective he had learned in an era defined by Ringstrasse historicism. His elective affinity with institutional outsiders, such as the untrained beginners in his decorative art course, was a means of strategically rejecting the academic values of his mentors’ generation and the prescribed pedagogical trajectory based on the emulation of historical sources (like the plaster casts that Myrbach famously banished to the KGS’s attic). But neither Böhm nor his students were naïve enough to believe that their work was as uninfluenced as it appeared, and they, in this regard, might have actually agreed with Seligmann. The primitivism of the female art students was the result of a deliberate and studied dialogue in unlearning whereby primitive visual influences from folk art and untutored children’s drawings combined with sophisticated elements of East Asian art and artifacts (rooted in a long-standing engagement with Japonisme). These varied stimuli were then superimposed onto modernist design principles. Elsa Kastl von Traunstätt, an aspiring sculptor from Ljubljana studying with Seligmann and Kauffungen at the time of the Miethke exhibition, confessed that the vast majority of her classmates, whom she labeled the “Secession maidens,” were intellectual, emancipated, reform clothing– wearing hypermoderne Grossstadtpflanzen (hypermodern hothouse creatures), whose preferences for writers like Henrik Ibsen, Immauel Kant, and Arthur Schopenhauer made her own literary tastes seem less advanced.64 The letters of Harlfinger-Zakucka effuse about exhibitions, museums, and gallery visits, and her photograph albums document how students eagerly followed the latest artistic developments and staged tableaux vivants of contemporary art exhibited at the Secession. Such an immersion in the contemporary art scene suggests that, rather than being uninfluenced, the Böhm school was conscious of, and influenced by, the latest developments in secessionist Vienna. It is therefore impossible to imagine that the Böhm school women would have been sealed away from contemporary trends, including the enthusiasm for Japanese art and design that Böhm shared with other secessionists. While often lumped together by contemporary artists and critics, the secessionist enthusiasm for Japonisme and folk art represented distinct yet overlapping phenomena encompassing instances of direct

formal borrowing as well as the idea, expressed by curator Johannes Wieninger, of the oriental object as an intellectual bridge attractive to the secessionists because it broke the “accustomed and studied rules” of academic composition.65 While an interest in East Asian art dated to the mid-nineteenth century, evidenced in the popular Japanese Pavilion at the 1873 Vienna World’s Fair, the secessionists vigorously promoted the relevance of Japanese art and design for contemporary art. Serving as a crucial source of inspiration for Viennese Flächenkunst was the MfKI’s large collection of katagami (stencils used for resist-dye textile printing), which, with their stark light-dark contrasts and repetition of small-scale surface-bound patterns, met “an early search for ‘expressionist’ motifs.”66 The abstract, stylized qualities of katagami patterns fascinated the secessionists, who published them in Ver Sacrum and appropriated the motifs for their own work, like Moser’s “Ver Sacrum” collection for textile manufacturer Backhausen. It is highly implausible that Böhm’s supposedly uninfluenced pupils would have been immune to the secessionist excitement for Japanese textiles, painted screens, and woodblock prints. The radical cropping, narrow viewing angles, and raised vantage points employed on many of the stencil prints may well have been informed by the compositional style of Japanese woodcuts shown at the sixth secessionist exhibition in 1900, for which Böhm designed the interiors. Likewise Harlfinger-Zakucka’s diagonal lines in her image from the 1901 Bilderbuch are strongly reminiscent of the way rain was rendered by Japanese artists like Hokusai, whose work was featured in a large monographic exhibition at the MfKI in 1901 (color plate 5). Böhm school artists were equally shaped by encounters with folk art objects disseminated to urban audiences through aristocratically sponsored house industry organizations and commercial distribution networks. The 1870s witnessed a rising critical interest in regional house industry products that in the following decades came to be conflated with the idea of folk art as a positive design source.67 Through the system of imperial, provincial, and regional design schools, Viennese curators and design educators promoted folk art as an authentic repository of previously undiscovered ornamental forms and techniques to the extent that Volkskunst became, as Stefan Muthesius argues, “a panacea for something that appeared both primitive and rationalist, that fused the poetic with the practical.”68 By the 1890s and increasingly after the secessionist schism, however, the preexisting interest in folk art became tethered to the authenticity, originality, and raw “crudeness” associated with the art of other “primitive” peoples.69 The Klimt group reinterpreted folk art through its own aesthetic values at events such as the MfKI’s 1905/6 comprehensive Exhibition of Austrian House Industry and Folk Art and the 1908 Kaiserhuldingsfestzug (emperor homage parade), a costumed, historical spectacle designed and executed by artists largely associated with the Klimt group and the Hagenbund that dramatized the dual monarchy’s present by juxtaposing past dynastic events with the apparently unchanging customs of its present-day peasantry.70 Likened by Hevesi to a “promenading ethnographic museum” admirable


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for its unspoiled freshness, the parade’s folk delegations reenacted peasant life and celebrations like weddings, harvest festivals, and hunting processions, similar to the ethnographic villages standard at World’s Fairs like those in Paris (1867) and Vienna (1873).71 Best reflecting the Klimt group’s fascination with primitive folk art was Group XIII (a harvest festival from the era of Josef II) from the parade’s historical section that presented viewers with an idealized version of the peasantry’s supposedly “authentic and fresh unspoiledness.”72 Berthold Löffler—KGS professor, Klimt group member, and WW collaborator—staged Group XIII and engaged students like Kokoschka, Kalvach, and Josef Divéky to design costumes and props merging folk-art influences with secessionist design. While it remains unknown whether Böhm school students were among the parade’s five hundred thousand onlookers, they contributed to many of the same Klimt group ventures as the Löffler school (like Die Fläche, the 1908 Kunstschau, and so on), making it likely that Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská followed the jubilee festivities. The Klimt group’s idealized Bauernschwärmerei (peasant mania) was not without its critics. Published eleven years before the Miethke exhibition, the 1894 study by art historian, curator, and WFA lecturer Alois Riegl entitled Volkskunst, Hausfleiss und Hausindustrie (Folk art, house labor, and house industry) polemicized against the contemporary Volkskunst movement.73 He argued that much of what was understood under the rubric of Volkskunst—a category supposedly representing a timeless wellspring of artistic creativity operating outside of market capitalism—was nothing more than Hausindustrie (house industry), which in its production and distribution for the contemporary market was hardly as “pure” or untainted by commercial contamination as its protagonists imagined.74 Presenting the craze as yet another fashion in the unending search for a contemporary style, Riegl famously likened the fin de siècle Volkskunst fixation to a drink of fresh spring water by an overly civilized champagne drinker, who would eventually find its waters boring and reach for something “spicier.”75 Insisting that true Volkskunst was only found in objects produced for daily use in the home (i.e., Hausfleiss), Riegl insisted that efforts to revitalize folk art through expanded commercial distribution networks only resulted in an exploitative system of cottage industry, the so-called Verleger (publishing) system, that only compounded the economic and cultural backwardness of the monarchy’s peripheral regions.76 Riegl’s polemics, however, did little to dampen the Klimt group’s enthusiasm for folk art’s primitive visual qualities, a situation that female art students, themselves perceived as sources of undiscovered energy and freshness, could use to their advantage. Designing for the WW in the years to follow, Böhm school pupils harnessed their outsider status to progress toward a style that was increasingly folkish and childlike in its visual qualities. While they were intrigued by the possibility of an uninfluenced creative vitality they possessed because of their gender, the pupils were also aware of the power of self-image through which Austrian expressionists, via autobiographical texts and public performances, positioned themselves in opposition to mainstream

bourgeois value systems.77 Similarly playing the role of institutional outsider, budding expressionist Kokoschka once admitted that he shaved his head in 1909 to “look the part” that critics had assigned him, adroitly manipulating his reputation as a criminal social outcast.78 While Böhm school artists did not resort to such measures (since Kokoschka’s self-stylization as a tattooed social outcast was not, in light of their gender, the most effective method of calling attention to the innovative character of their work), the female art students did carve out a design language that capitalized on critical perceptions of their supposedly uninfluenced creative vitality, as seen in Miethke reviews, and a genuine belief that they, abetted through unlearning, possessed this vitality to a greater extent than their male contemporaries. Proto-Expressionism in the Wiener Werkstätte Postcard Series As I will explore in chapter 5, the predominant interpretation of the Viennese expressionist breakthrough is that of an emphatic rejection of the beautiful surface in favor of formal distortion, inner expressivity, and the psychological interior. But early Viennese expressionism was stamped by an interdisciplinary, “boundary-defying character,” with frequent overlaps between major and minor, commerce and art, and drama, music, and literature.79 Implicit in this turbulent period—from the 1905 Miethke exhibition to the antidecorative backlash following the 1908 Kunstschau—was the idea that surface and expression were not yet viewed in the mutually exclusive way they later came to be. Much like Kokoschka’s color lithographic prints that accompany his stream-of-consciousness tale of adolescent sexual awakening, Die träumenden Knaben (The dreaming youths), commissioned by the WW in 1907–8, the defining characteristics of proto-expressionist graphic art included flattened planes of jewellike colors; employment of black outlines; a raw, agitated angularity; and appropriation of childlike and folk-art derived imagery (color plate 7). In his influential study, Schorske framed The Dreaming Youths as a critical premonition of how the younger generation of Viennese modernists would cut through their mentors’ fixation with beautiful surfaces to reveal the deeper psychological reality beneath.80 Similarly, design historian Elana Shapira reads Kokoschka’s sixteen WW postcards, many of which, like Flute Player and Bats (postcard no. 73, 1907), are assembled from basic geometrical shapes in the manner of paper collage, as evidencing a “new artistic journey inside Vienna” in which the artist appropriated “childlike imagery and the crude aesthetics of non-Western ‘primitive’ artworks” in Vienna’s Ethnographic Museum to draw attention to the innovative quality of his work.81 Not only for Kokoschka but for fellow KGS students active in the Kaiserhuldigungsfestzug, like Rudolf Kalvach and Josef Divéky, the emulation of a childlike visual vocabulary represented “an artistic stratagem to break the ‘grown-up’ artistic language codes.”82 Similarly feted in the literature on the Viennese expressionism is Schiele, a protégé of Klimt, who delivered three postcards designs to the Werkstätte in 1910 (nos. 288–90). All portraits of women, the postcards are characterized


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts


The Female Secession

by an expressive linearity that has been interpreted as signaling a transition away from decorative Flächenkunst toward a signature use of the body as an expressive landscape.83 But female art students were embarking on their own inner journeys to tap similar primitivizing currents without abandoning the expressive possibilities of the decorative. Predating Kokoschka’s illustrated fairy tale and Schiele’s postcards was Editha Moser’s (née von Mautner-Markhof ) 1906 Sezessionstarock (Secessionist tarot), which, with its rigid black outlines, bold primary colors, and stiffly posed figures, anticipates the awkward gestural language and primitivizing currents defining The Dreaming Youths (color plate 8). Moser was no longer a student when she designed the cards, having just completed her studies at the KGS (1902–5). At the school she met WW cofounder Koloman Moser and married him in 1905, exemplifying a not uncommon practice between secessionist professors and female students. Her Sezessionstarock was produced for the WW in limited editions by J. Berger as presents for the Mosers’ friends. The cards were dotted with vernacular toys and human figures whose forms echoed the stiff rigidity of the Bauernspielzeuge (peasant toys) collected by Klimt group members. Whereas the frozen gestural language of Kokoschka’s gaunt protagonists was inspired by the animalistic and pantomimic aspects of modern dance, the awkward rigidity of Moser’s figures was derived from the limp, inanimate gestures of toy figurines and dolls, whose uncanny qualities—lifelike but lifeless and exaggerated in their animating movements—made them metaphors for the human condition.84 The ever-irreverent Hevesi was so taken by the cards’ “primitive, healthy little vignettes, in their childish palpability, pieced together in naïve primacy colors in a mosaic-like fashion” that he proceeded to immediately play with his set.85 Freely mixing reality and fantasy, human figures and doll-like stand-ins, the cards were profuse with idealized images of the artist’s own childhood: the garden façade of the country estate where she was born (XVI); the yellow façade and rolling beer kegs of the Mautner-Markhof family brewery (XX); a stylized Noah’s Ark (XV), a popular subject in rural toymaking regions; a childlike rendering of the Prater’s Giant Wheel (XVIII); and an afternoon Jause (coffee/tea time) scene (III), which cleverly matched the number of the card with the time on the wall clock, as Hevesi observed (color plate 9).86 Shown at the 1908 Kunstschau in the same gallery as Kokoschka’s illustrated book and tapestry cartoons for the Werkstätte, Moser’s figures disappear into pieces of surface ornament reminiscent of the flattened Malmosaik tendencies Hevesi observed in Klimt’s work. While both Moser’s and Kokoschka’s art is informed by the formal qualities of children’s drawings, folk art, and the flattened tendencies of Japanese printmaking, only the latter is celebrated as “the breaking and crossing points between Jugendstil and Expressionism.”87 The historiographical neglect of proto-expressionistic graphic art by Moser and other talented female newcomers is hardly accidental. It is rooted in the gendered hierarchies of art and craft reemerging after the 1905 secessionist schism. While leading male Neukünstler (expressionists) like Kokoschka and Schiele would be encouraged to

leave their commercial and decorative roots behind, becoming the celebrated “heroes” of Austrian expressionism, members of the Böhm school never made such a transition away from the decorative but explored similar ideas as the male expressionists through handcraft media like ceramics and toymaking. An important breakthrough in Viennese expressionism ensued in late 1906 and 1907, when the primitivizing currents first surfacing at the December 1905 Galerie Miethke exhibition took hold in a new line of picture postcards providing critical opportunities to the Klimt group’s talented newcomers. The Werkstätte treated the picture postcard as an experimental graphic medium for small-scale works of art. They used the series to advertise product lines and the Gesamtkunstwerk ideology driving the 1908 Kunstschau, the Kaiserhuldingsfestzug, and Cabaret Fledermaus, outfitted by the WW in 1907 as a venue for avant-garde poetry, theater, and dance.88 Recruited from the Böhm school were “all-around-artists” like Singer-Schinnerl, Pranke, Otten-Friedmann, Löw-Lazar, Gabi Lagus-Möschl (1887–1939), Likarz-Strauss, and Jesser-Schmid. Like their contemporaries Kokoschka and Schiele, also debuting at the 1908 Kunstschau, numerous members of the Böhm school took part in the Kunstschau’s Art for the Child gallery and later joined forces with Harlfinger-Zakucka’s radical women’s art collective, the WFK. Directly influencing Werkstätte proto-expressionism were secessionist methods of paper cutting for children, laid out by Čížek in his popular pedagogical manual, Papier-Schneide-und Klebearbeiten, which underwent multiple editions and translation as Children’s Colored Paper Work. Čížek prized vernacular and amateur traditions of paper cutting, including silhouettes and folk art Scherenschnitte (literally, scissor cuts), as models of simplicity, authenticity, and adherence to the fundamental laws of the material, evoking the same positive qualities modernist critics like Lux found present in the Böhm school. Čížek encouraged educators to explore the expressive possibilities of paper cutting, “reduc[ing] all representations to the surface,” free of superfluous detail and spatial perspective.89 To ensure that work corresponded to a spontaneous inner necessity, children were instructed to cut their designs directly into the paper using scissors; alternatively, paper could be torn to produce an agitated contour, like the parade-themed children’s collages shown at the 1908 Kunstschau. The method, however, Čížek deemed most constant with the “decorative, ornamental, and rhythmic” character of the medium was the Papiermosaik (paper mosaic): a simple technique whereby small fragments of brightly colored paper were to be pasted alongside or on top of one another in the manner of mosaic.90 Around the time of the Miethke exhibition, Čížek’s students created flower baskets and bouquets using a combination of paper mosaic and symmetrical folding techniques (fig. 10). The visual overlaps of the children’s paper mosaics with secessionist Flächenkunst raise the possibility, however, that Čížek’s students were not as uninfluenced or “primitive” as he liked to believe, a likelihood corroborated by former students admitting to secessionist design influences.91


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts

10. Paper-mosaic collages, undated. From Franz Čížek, Children’s Coloured Paper Work (Vienna: Anton Schroll, 1927), plate 3.

Among those critically influenced by the paper cutting methods taught to children were Pranke, a Böhm student and Art for the Child participant known for her illustrated children’s books and toys for the WW, and Leopoldine Kolbe (1870–1912), a student of Moser, Löffler, and embroidery/textile instructor Leopoldine Guttmann at the KGS. Since Kolbe worked as a teaching assistant in Čížek’s art classes for children, she would have been familiar with paper mosaics like the stylized fruit baskets (fig. 11). Postcards and broadsheets, like Kolbe’s WW postcard no. 32, debuted to the public at the WW Artists’ Garden Party on June 6–7, 1907, in Weyl’s Dreher Park, where they were sold by Werkstätte protagonists like Zuckerkandl (fig. 12). Kolbe’s six postcard designs depict floral arrangements in what seem to be Gitterwerk-style metal baskets, leading scholars to interpret her designs as “a free interpretation of one of the Wiener Werkstätte’s product lines,” specifically Hoffmann’s and Moser’s Gitterwerk metalwork 92 shown at Miethke’s in December 1905. Without discounting the possible influence of the Gitterwerk motif, I want to propose children’s paper cutting as an alternative source of influence. Like the basket shown in figure 11, which was actually woven using long strips of paper, the rhythmic patterning of Kolbe’s basket is echoed in the geometrical, ornamental surround. Not unlike Kokoschka’s postcards from the same period, Kolbe’s rigidly stylized blossoms and leaves have been affixed, as if cut and pasted, to the surface in a deliberately disjointed manner. Completing this chain of influence is the likelihood that the children creating the paper collages Kolbe emulated were aware of Werkstätte metalwork or “squarey-style” textiles (or commercial knock-offs thereof ), raising the convoluted scenario that Kolbe might have been “unlearning” from the example of children who were “learning” from secessionist design. Pranke similarly emulated a childlike visual style in her eleven cards. She joined Böhm’s class at the WFA in 1906 and followed her mentor when he was appointed at the KGS in 1909, studying further with Moser, Roller, and Larisch (from 1910–14). Given her specialization in children’s book illustration, it is not surprising that Pranke worked as an assistant to child-art pedagogue Zweybrück-Prochaska, perhaps using her position to study the children’s artwork. In its bold contouring heightened by a limited palette of black, yellow, and white, WW postcard no. 190 (1909) took inspiration from folk art

Scherenschnitte, even as its design was inflected with secessionist design, particularly the black background and white lettering (fig. 13). While her cards were ultimately printed using chromolithographic technology, Pranke’s original design was cut and pasted in a combination of symmetrical fold and mosaic cuts. Among the numerous Böhm school members active in WW postcard design, only Pranke (who disappears from exhibition records after 1914) did not join the WFK together with Jesser-Schmid, Lagus-Möschl, Löw-Lazar, Otten-Friedmann, Singer-Schinnerl, Likarz-Strauss, and other WW designers. Female art students likewise experimented with expressive design elements in fashion-themed postcards. A primary form of advertising at a time when fashion photography was still in its fledging stages, the series was launched in spring 1911 to promote the WW’s new fashion workshop (founded in 1911) and textile workshop (founded in 1910), famous for its block-printed fabrics, inflecting the colors and patterns of folk art, and the use or emulation of batik techniques.93 Part and parcel of its expanding product lines, the fashion workshop synthesized principles of the Central European reform dress movement (often perceived as unaesthetic or unflattering to the wearer) with the stylish aesthetic principles of Parisian fashions and Austrian-style neo-Biedermeier influences.94 The vast majority of fashion-themed postcards were designed by the artist-craftswomen dominating the interwar WW’s experimental Künstlerische Werkstätte (KW, or artist workshops), when its directors “discovered” them as wellsprings of artistic vitality. A case in point is found in the career of Singer-Schinnerl, a scholarship student who studied under Blau-Lang, Böhm, and Böhm’s successor, Friedrich, from 1909 to 1915. She was recruited for the Werkstätte’s new ceramics workshop in 1917 by Hoffmann precisely


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts

11. Paper-mosaic collage (fruit basket), undated. From Franz Čížek, Children’s Coloured Paper Work (Vienna: Anton Schroll, 1927), plate 4. 12. Leopoldine Kolbe, Blumenkorb (Basket of flowers), 1907. WW postcard 32. Lithograph, 5 1/2 × 3 1/2 in. (14 × 9 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Museum accession, transferred from the Library. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Art Resource, New York.


The Female Secession

13. Maria Pranke, Froher Ostern (Happy Easter), 1909. WW postcard 190. Lithograph, 5 1/2 × 3 1/2 in. (14 × 9 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Museum accession, transferred from the Library. Image © Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Art Resource, New York.

because of her lack of formal training in the medium.95 Best known for her naïve style of expressionist ceramics, Singer-Schinnerl began her career with the WW while still a student, contributing fifteen postcard designs between 1910 and 1912 that bring to bear a fluidity between fashion and “fine” artistic developments, such as the Klimtian ornamental fills on postcard no. 631 (1912). Designs like postcard no. 754 privileged expressive combinations of flattened surface patterns set against a void white background over legible depictions of actual clothing in the WW’s fashion lines (color plate 10). Rendered in a jagged manner in linocut that suggested woodcuts, the skittish, agitated linearity of the zigzagging on the gaunt figure’s coat contrasts with the spiral patterns on the dress and stylized wavy hair. The expressive angularity of Singer-Schinnerl’s design relates to the scratchy, distorted style distinguishing a series of linocut fashion prints published as Mode Wien 1914/15, which were executed by many of the same artists (including Likarz-Strauss and Jesser-Schmid) active in the postcard production and textile workshop. Expressive in terms of both the visual style (in the brutal distortions and angularity characterizing the prints) and the illustrated fashions themselves (which elongated the torso by exaggerating the lower body through long jackets or voluminous pantaloons), commercial fashion illustration participated in the same impulses driving more canonical examples of expressionist graphic art, as Sherwin Simmons and Houze rightly argue.96 Experimentation with abstract surface patterning characterized the postcard designs of Singer-Schinnerl’s classmate, Likarz-Strauss, who studied with Böhm and Friedrich at the WFA (1908–10) and with Hoffmann and Anton von Kenner at the KGS (1911–15). Commanding a strong reputation for multitalented versatility in handcraft, decorative art, and interior design, Likarz-Strauss was recruited for the WW in 1912 while still a student and became their most prolific textile designer. She contributed more than two hundred patterns, many of which take inspiration from abstract painting and applied art, and codirected the fashion department with Max Snischek from 1922 to 1932. Postcard no. 769 (1912) features the artist’s own textile design in a softened background that seems to recede to away from the viewer even as the contoured female profile is fused with the surface of the card itself (color plate 11). Not unlike the elaborate ornamental backdrops characterizing Klimt’s later portraits of women, the jagged angularity of Likarz-Strauss’s textile background is at odds with the figure’s self-contained, contemplative inwardness. The expressive use of surface patterning confounds typical expectations of fashion advertising in which models are little more

than clothes hangers. Similarly manifesting the interdisciplinary and boundary-defying character of early expressionism, a series of Likarz-Strauss postcards evoked developments in contemporary art, music, and dance—for instance, nos. 880–85 (1912) depicting Léon Bakst’s costumes from the Ballet Russes production of Schéhérazade. The graphic work of Mela Koehler, who studied under Hoffmann, Moser, von Larisch, and Rosalie Rothansl at the KGS (1905–10), also used contrasts of brightly colored geometrical surface patterns. Koehler contributed around 150 postcard designs between 1907 and 1912. She was particularly known for her fashion postcards depicting historical clothing, actual WW fashions (by Hoffmann, Peche, and herself ), and imaginative combinations thereof. A series of cards, including no. 603 and no. 605 from 1912, were intended as place cards (color plates 12–13). They take an unusual square format, situating fashion models against highly contrasting Flächenkunst backdrops relating to the elaborate surface patterns found on Klimt’s later portraits, which, in perfectly circular fashion, were themselves loosely informed by real WW fashions and textiles.97 Köhler’s decorative Flächenkunst ground immediately captures the viewer’s attention. It was inspired by actual WW textiles, often described as “primitive” or “expressionist” in their interpretation of East and Central European folk art.98 In Klimt’s portrait of language teacher Johanna Staude (1917/18), the subject wears a blouse in Martha Albers’s “Leaves” textile. The surface patterning of Staude’s couture garment could be easily exchanged with the backdrops of Koehler’s cards, demonstrating how expressive Flächenkunst patterns could be shared between “high” and “low” media (color plate 14).99 Not unlike Adele Bloch-Bauer, Staude (who described herself as an artist later in life) is depicted as a decorative icon, a living Gesamtkunstwerk worthy of membership in the secessionist Künstlerschaft, who immediately declares her patronage through her outfit. But the coded references to Egyptian and Byzantine art characterizing Klimt’s earlier painted mosaics—stylistic developments climaxing in his Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907)—have given way to an overriding concern with folk-art inspired Flächenkunst patterns in Johanna Staude and to the “exotic” East Asian ornamental fields in later portraits like Eugenia Primavesi (1913/14) and Friederike Maria Beer (1916). That Klimt took inspiration not only from the East Asian art decorating his studio but from the collection of East European textiles designed by his lifelong partner, couturier Emilie Flöge, is well known in the literature on Viennese modernism, and it is interpreted as a primary example of how “exotic,” “oriental” sources influenced the sophisticated variant of primitivism taking root in Vienna (a phenomenon, however, that is still generally believed to exercise minimal overall influence on Viennese modernism).100 The fact that the much-discussed influence of Japonisme coexisted and intersected with a different set of primitive sources like children’s art and folk art suggests that primitivizing currents made deeper inroads into Viennese expressionism than has been previously assumed. Born out of and defined by the decorative surface as much as it rebelled against it, proto-expressionist graphic art like Likarz-Strauss’s postcards or Moser’s Sezessionstarock


Surface Decoration and the Female Handcrafts


The Female Secession

helps us to critically rethink the cherished historiographical notion that the Viennese expressionist breakthrough necessarily involved an antagonistic relationship between the decorative surface and cerebral interior. Secessionist Flächenkunst was an important crucible for Viennese expressionism, substantiating the idea, as Houze argues with regard to textiles, that leading Austrian expressionists “turned as much to the dynamic expression of the surface as they did to the psychological interior.”101 Like the examples surveyed here, experimental Flächenkunst by female art students was a primary locus for the Klimt group’s cross-pollination between major and minor, surface and expression, and the commercial and autonomous work of art. Seligmann’s critique of the primitivizing currents surfacing at the Werkstätte’s 1905 Galerie Miethke exhibition was hardly isolated but part and parcel of broader artistic divisions in the WFA. In the following years, Seligmann regularly polemicized against primitivism, expressionism, and the interplay of art, architecture, and design represented by Werkstätte Zweckkunst. Frictions between the WFA’s secessionist and anti-secessionist faculty crystallized in the years leading up to the 1908 Kunstschau, a situation that led to the departure of progressive faculty like Böhm, who accepted a position in decorative painting at the KGS from 1909 until 1925 (joining him at the KGS were Likarz-Strauss, Jesser-Schmid, Lagus-Möschl, Löw-Lazar, Otten-Friedmann, and Pranke). While the WFA never abandoned its commitment to the decorative arts, the institution was increasingly plagued by internal factionalism not unrelated to the broader divisions in the post-secessionist artistic landscape. The WFA offered a reformed curriculum integrating decorative art and handcraft into the parameters of academic study, with teaching methods aiming to guide students to individual manners of expression uninfluenced by teachers. Yet even as the WFA gained official institutional recognition after 1908, it increasingly came to represent a convenient excuse for barring women from the ABKW. Countering the ideas of feminist cofounders Mayreder and Blau-Lang that genius transcended sexual difference, conservative faculty members began to argue that the continued maintenance of single-sex education was nothing less than a moral imperative to uphold natural sexual difference. Chapter 3 turns to the increasingly fraught relations between the WFA’s secessionist and anti-secessionist factions, examining how conservative faculty hammered out a model of academic training—and a distinct feminine aesthetic—very much at odds with the secessionist unlearning powering the Böhm school.

Separate but Equal? Academic Accreditation and the Question of a Female Aesthetic at the Viennese Women’s Academy, 1908–28

In the years following the Miethke exhibition, the WFA gained increasing recognition on Vienna’s mainstream institutional landscape. In 1908, the same year as the Kunstschau, the WFA was invested with rights of public incorporation, a development that allowed graduates to become state-certified drawing instructors in middle, secondary, or vocational schools. In the 1918/19 school year, the WFA was equipped with state-accredited schools of academic painting and sculpture, supervised and financed by the Ministry of Education, which “offered instruction in the same manner as the state art academies.”1 From 1921 onward, the WFA benefitted from “living subventions,” the First Republic’s policy of subsidizing women’s higher education by employing league-sponsored instructors as civil servants by funding the employment of five instructors and an administrator (first on a contractual and, after 1927, on a permanent tenured basis).2 The WFA was praised in the Austrian parliament as “one of Vienna’s best educational institutions,” fulfilling “its public educational mission in women’s art education, especially in fields suited to women” and bolstering Vienna’s reputation in decorative art and handcraft.3 With its staff now officially able to claim the title of Professor and eligible for state insurance and pension benefits, the WFA carried the prestige of a state-accredited institution, a status reflected in its redesigned logo (fig. 14). Like the institutional trajectory of the post-schism Secession, which ceased to be a platform for Vienna’s most progressive artists, the WFA gradually abandoned its founding idealism and became compromised by increased state recognition and financial support. The status of the WFA’s decorative arts courses, originally a vital locus for secessionist pedagogy, became perilously unclear in light of the state-accredited classes in academic painting and sculpture that were granted official institutional parity with those of the ABKW in 1919. The decorative art and handcraft instructors, who were predominately women, were not given the Professorin title like their male academic




The Female Secession

14. WFA logo, ca. 1926. From Prospekt der Wiener Frauenakademie und Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst, ca. 1926.

counterparts. Ministerial rulings throughout the 1920s upheld the parity of the WFA’s state-accredited academic courses but the status of its decorative arts division—tethered to deep-seated notions of craft-oriented Frauenkunst—came to occupy a more ambiguous, if not patently unequal, status. WFA students, resisting the post-1908 backlash against the decorative, fought for the validation of their credentials and recognition of female handcraft instructors. The WFA’s tenuous position as a quasi-state institution relates to larger questions of separate-but-equal facilities preoccupying gender historians, exemplifying what Joan Scott describes as feminism’s “irresolvable dilemma” of equality versus difference—that is, should women’s equality be based on absolute sameness or were women “entitled to equal treatment . . . because of or in spite of their difference”?4 The motivations for the WFA’s state support after 1908 were complex, representing a genuine liberal desire to support women’s education according to the “equality of difference” philosophy shaping Austrian feminism at the time while simultaneously reflecting sexist attempts to circumscribe women’s artistic practices. Despite the ways in which institutional sexism made separate but equal a critical impossibility, female art students used the WFA’s all-women environment to forge a collective feminist identity reclaiming their supposedly “natural” connection to decorative art and handcraft while demanding an end to the gender-based exclusions motivating its founding and, more problematically, its continued maintenance. This chapter reveals how anti-secessionist professors hammered out a model of academic training and ideas of a distinct Frauenkunst (women’s art) that would complement rather than compete with men’s art. If the 1908 Kunstschau represented the highpoint of the Klimt group’s attempts to level the boundary between the fine and applied arts, 1908 represented a similar turning point as the WFA began to sacrifice its reformist idealism and principles of “unlearning” under the strains of official institutional accreditation. With the installation of state-accredited courses in academic painting and sculpture in 1918/19, the WFA adapted rigid curricular and admission requirements mirroring those of the ABKW and retreated from the theories of positive dilettantism guiding its early years toward an unequivocal professionalism in which the decorative arts occupied a patently inferior status. As we saw, secessionist educators conferred theoretically equal status to decorative “women’s art,” valorizing the decorative as a means of expressing discontent with nineteenth-century academic value systems. Harboring clashing values on the gendered hierarchy of the arts, the anti-secessionist faculty members gaining ground after 1908 posited women’s inborn talent for decoration

but under the assumption that the decorative or “minor” arts entailed lesser degrees of intellectual effort.5 It was precisely this second-class status of the decorative that motivated the interwar renaissance of radical women’s art covered in part 2 of this book. Recasting itself as “academic” in the traditional sense brought the WFA much closer to the conservative social and artistic values of the state ABKW. How and why the WFA was reinvented in the hands of its new conservative leadership must be understood against the backdrop of growing demands for women’s admission to the ABKW. Modernist Battleground: Women’s Admission to the ABKW The Viennese Academy of Fine Arts commands a singular reputation as an archconservative institution, a longtime bulwark against demands for women’s equality.6 Although references to women (as widows claiming pension benefits or as benefactors of scholarships or prizes) abound in its archives, the first reference to women as potential ABKW applicants surfaces in 1871.7 Written by the Lower-Austrian Chamber of Commerce, an inquiry on the status of women’s education in the fine and applied arts was brought to the academy’s attention on December 4, 1871. The chamber was alarmed by the rising numbers of female students enrolling at the KGS, which, as shown previously, was founded to train artisans and designers in conjunction with the MfKI’s encyclopedic teaching collections. Women had accounted for 10 percent of the student body when the KGS opened its doors in 1868, but by the 1870s they constituted between 17 and 19 percent of the student population, peaking at around 26–27 percent between 1883 and 1885.8 This influx of female students came from a distinctly higher social milieu than the KGS’s male students, whose fathers tended to be artisans or peasants. The female students were generally daughters of civil-service bureaucrats and other educated professionals, much like the social profiles of the WFA students dominating the interwar Werkstätte.9 The disparate class origins of male and female students fueled design educators’ suspicions that the KGS was being misused as a sort of backstreet ladies’ academy (Damen-Winkelakademie) by well-heeled dilettantes who had been denied official training in painting and sculpture.10 Such tensions were not unique to Austria-Hungary and also plagued design educators in late nineteenth-century England and France, where, despite the ways in which the state conceived of women’s art education in purely industrial terms, a culture of “fine” artistic practices emerged among rebellious female pupils refusing the circumscribed roles assigned to them.11 Analogous to the situation in secessionist Vienna, state-sponsored design schools for women in London and Paris, founded to provide the artisan classes with earning power in industrial art and handcraft, were frequented by rising numbers of middle-class women pursuing training for self-fulfillment or pleasure. The KGS Board of Directors ruled that the school would only accept female students pursuing careers in the industrial arts. To meet the needs of women harboring “higher”


Separate but Equal?


The Female Secession

artistic ambitions, the KGS Board recommended a system of private ateliers to be overseen and financially supported by the Ministry of Education.12 Such was the position laid out by Eitelberger, MfKI founder and initial director, in “On Regulating Art Instruction for the Female Sex” (1872), a critical policy document issued to the ministry in response to the petition for female life and figure painting classes covered in chapter 1.13 Rejecting the possibility of female life classes as “against the rules of propriety and good German morals,” Eitelberger’s memorandum established a precedent for all imperial art academies: responsibility for women’s artistic training would be delegated to private institutions overseen by the state. The ABKW Faculty Council unanimously assented to Eitelberger’s guidelines when it convened to discuss the inquiry in March 1872. In response to the inquiry, the ABKW Faculty Council issued a ruling rehearsing the same arguments it had repeatedly invoked before (in 1904, 1907, and 1912) against the growing demands for women’s admission by citing the so-called Platzfrage (question of space) and perceptions of women’s limited prowess for artistic greatness. Repeated throughout the official correspondences and memoranda leading up to women’s admission was the phrase “The academy has never spoken out against women studying on principle”—a linguistic sleight of hand implying only practical concerns such as lack of space and funding prevented the acceptance of female students.14 Meant to deflect attention from its socioinstitutional sexism, this opinion was first voiced, albeit retroactively, by a special faculty committee consisting of Rudolf Bacher, Alois Delug, Ferdinand Schmutzer, Rudolf Jettmar, and Josef Müllner that convened in early 1920 to discuss women’s provisional admittance. The rhetorical position assumed by ABKW faculty held much in common with the objections hedged by French academicians in the struggle leading to women’s 1897 admission to the École des Beaux Arts: what Tamar Garb describes as a prolonged pattern of official prevarication fluctuating between theoretical support and practical obstructionism.15 Using the pretext of the Platzfrage, the ABKW ruled in 1871: “The present confines of space at the Academy . . . represented one of the most important reasons why the faculty has spoken out against admitting women to the academy.”16 It was a foregone conclusion by the faculty that the solemn dignity of the male life class could not be maintained in the presence of women. Following Eitelberger’s prescriptions, the Faculty Council reasoned that “any unbiased observer” would concur that “ladies drawing, painting, and modeling from the nude life model in the company of men cannot be permitted.”17 If, theoretically, women were to be admitted, then they would necessitate separate facilities, separate classes, and importantly “women-only” life courses. The academy’s recommendations were entirely consistent with the politics surrounding women’s admission to art academies in Western Europe and America. Even for progressive institutions like the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where women gained admission much earlier than in Vienna, women’s admission was achieved on a “strictly [gender] segregated basis,” where the separate life class was viewed as the ideal innovation to preserve female students’

respectability and decency.18 Despite the ABKW Faculty Council’s supposed support for women’s admission, the specter of separate female life classes presented grave, if not impossible, logistical challenges. Given the school’s already overcrowded conditions and lack of funds to expand, the Faculty Council recommended the indefinite postponement of female admittance. The same pattern of hypothetical support and logistical prevarication was consistently invoked until 1920. The ABKW Faculty Council clarified that while “in no way . . . denying the female sex’s right to practice art,” women’s educational interests would be better served in a school of applied art.19 According to the Faculty Council, women’s artistic talents tended to flourish not in the monumental genres of history or allegorical painting but in the “lesser” genres indexed as feminine: “Many young ladies have achieved [something] not insignificant in the fields of landscape, flower, and portrait painting, the very subjects not taught at the Academy at all. . . . [T]hus it is impossible for girls to conduct their studies in the company of young men in good conscience without damaging the peace and order of the institute.”20 Embedded in this discourse was an attempt to claim certain fields as more prestigious and cerebral than others: a project assuming newfound urgency with the academy’s elevation to a Hochschule (institution of higher learning) in its 1872 statutes. The secessionists bitterly opposed this institutional development since it caused the removal of the applied arts from the curriculum. To solve the logistical and moral problems presented by coeducational studies, the Faculty Council recommended the creation of a separate women’s academy, an ideal solution, the report implied, in that such a school might cater to feminine areas of artistic strength.21 The academy was not confronted with the issue of women’s studies again until 1904. But in the interim since 1872, when the Künstlerhaus held a monopoly on the reigning taste for history and genre paintings in its famed spring exhibitions, Vienna’s artistic landscape had evolved considerably. The previous generation’s focus on professional credentials, memberships in art unions, and academic training became less relevant in a newly pluralistic field of commercial dealers and elite exhibition societies, together with the redefinition of genius as dependent on inner revelation and expressivity. Most important, Vienna now had a Women’s Academy, although it did not supply the conventional academic instruction typical of similar league-supported schools in Munich (1884) and Berlin (1868). Such women’s academies were often linked to state academies officially through state funding and curricular supervision and unofficially through the employment of moonlighting academicians as instructors.22 In response to the continued petitioning of female students, in 1904 the ABKW established a new commission, consisting of Georg Niemann, Edmund Hellmer, William Unger, Bacher, and Griepenkerl (familiar to most as Schiele’s teacher) to tackle the problem. The committee again dwelt on the Platzfrage before pointing to the moral impossibility of coeducational studies and women’s limited capacities for the monumental: “Experience proves that, not infrequently, women are highly talented, as long as they


Separate but Equal?


The Female Secession

stand under the guidance of their teacher and distinguish themselves through their teachability, industry, and pure diligence; but rather, with few exceptions, women are excluded from creative genius in the field of monumental art . . . and stand helpless before serious tasks.”23 The committee advised against admitting women on the logic that the recently founded WFA might offer separate academic training, identical in manner and purpose. The committee’s endorsement was not unrelated, I would argue, to the state subventions funding the WFA the same academic year, the rights of public incorporation bestowed on the school in 1908 and 1910, and ultimately the installation of courses in academic painting and sculpture in 1918/19, theoretically equal in value and content to Schillerplatz degrees. If the ABKW faculty wanted to use the existence of a supposedly separate-but-equal women’s academy as justification for keeping the “real” academy exclusively male, then this was a ploy that the WFA’s anti-secessionist leadership was willing to play into despite or perhaps because of their support for women’s artistic training. As we have seen, in its early years the WFA embraced an anti-academic reformist curriculum seeking to demolish ideas that handcraft was less cerebral than painting or sculpture. No hierarchy existed among its courses in painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts, in which students of all abilities were free to enroll. The school likewise privileged radically permissive teaching methods, “individualized . . . and adapted to the needs and ability of students,” that, in the Böhm school, even implied the renunciation of prescriptive instruction.24 Students made vital contributions to the field of secessionist Flächenkunst and artistic toy design, becoming the WW’s most celebrated designers in its later phases. But in the years following its public incorporation, anti-secessionist professors recast the WFA as catering to a distinct Frauenkunst (women’s art) and to its female art students’ special pedagogical needs. Its founders had emphasized the decorative arts as important to female art students not only due to the secessionist valorization of the decorative but because of the potential earning power of employment in the applied arts, presumably for scholarship students. Jodl, as we saw, framed women’s newness to the artistic profession as an asset since it distanced them from stale academic formulas. But the question of a female aesthetic—a separate and distinct women’s art that somehow expressed, if intangibly, the feminine subjectivity of its makers—was noticeably absent from the WFA’s early public pronouncements. In the years following its academic accreditation, the WFA’s conservative leadership under Seligmann and Kauffungen pontificated on natural sexual difference in art and the urgent need for separate education to maintain it. It is not accidental that they espoused ideas identical to the ABKW commission but part and parcel of their plan to bring the WFA closer to the Schillerplatz and further from the “shrieking and teeth-grinding” that Seligmann believed characterized “the cupola-crowned house on the Naschmarkt” (a humorous slight at the Secession’s famed ‘golden cabbage’ dome).25 At precisely the juncture when the secessionist movement began to lose its initial dynamism, Seligmann and Kauffungen hoped to move the WFA

away from the nonprescriptive, permissive instruction that Böhm valued toward a more classically structured—in short, more academic—curriculum. While not as conservative as Seligmann or Kauffungen, growing numbers of faculty members in the interwar period were associated with the less dynamic, post-schism Secession, including Hermann Grom-Rottmayer (academic painting and drawing, 1918–26; set design, 1916–26), Richard Harlfinger (landscape and still life, 1917–39; academic painting and drawing, 1918–39), Ferdinand Kitt (academic painting and drawing, 1927–47), and Christian Ludwig Martin (painting, drawing, and academic graphic art, 1921–25). A sizable minority of these individuals, including Harlfinger (who was president of the Secession, 1917–19) and Grom-Rottmayer, actively supported the radical women’s art movement, while others, including Martin and Grom-Rottmayer, left the WFA for positions at other state academies (the ABKW and the Technical University, respectively). A turning point came when Kauffungen was appointed the inaugural school director in 1908. He held the post until 1926, when he was succeeded by Seligmann, who was director until 1932. The appointment of a school director, representing the official face of the academy to the state and answering to imperial school inspectors, was necessitated by the legal changes accompanying the rights of public incorporation (Öffentlichskeitsrecht) that were bestowed on the school by Gustav Marchet, minister of education (1906–8) and liberal supporter of women’s education. The WFA was first provisionally granted these rights in 1908 and then acquired them on a permanent basis in 1910.26 Now able to issue publicly accredited degrees, the Öffentlichskeitsrecht brought the WFA’s credentials closer in value to those of state institutions. The league’s annual report hailed the Öffentlichkeitsrecht as speaking to “the increased value of our diplomas” for graduates hoping to practice art professionally.27 A further development connected to its public incorporation was that graduates were now eligible for careers as state-certified drawing instructors in middle, secondary, or vocational schools (Fachschulen), provided they passed civil-service examinations. In exchange for this institutional accreditation, the WFA was subjected to rigid forms of official oversight absent from its early years. Ultimately answerable to the director, the entire faculty, school, and curriculum underwent annual inspections by imperial bureaucrats, which, given the notorious conservatism of imperial officials toward new teaching methods, put unspoken dampers on experimentalism and instructional permissiveness. When, for instance, progressive educational reformer Eugenie Schwarzwald (1872–1940) defended Kokoschka (who was employed teaching drawing in her school’s continuing education division despite a lack of certification) as an unrecognized genius in an audience with the minister of education (Max Hussarek v. Heinlein), the minister replied “Genies sind nicht im Lehrplan vorgesehen” (Geniuses are not provided for in the curriculum).28 The WFA’s newfound accreditation attracted favorable press in feminist periodicals. An article in Der Bund heaped praise on the ministry for granting rights of public


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The Female Secession

incorporation and increasing levels of funding: “Thanks to the benevolent co-operation of the Ministry for Education for its decision to allow state-certified school diplomas to be issued. . . . During the past ten years, its Executive Committee may very rightly claim to have acted true to the motto of ‘No rest, no rust.’”29 Another article in Neues Frauenleben (launched in 1902 by Auguste Fickert as the new organ of the General Austrian Women’s Association), praised the WFA as a “praiseworthy exception” to the rule of women’s exclusion from academic training that was distinguished by its progressive teaching methods in contrast to the “mindless copying” characterizing other private schools.30 The WFA’s participation in the 1908 Kunstschau seemed to confirm its rising position on the institutional landscape. What these commentators did not foresee was how the WFA’s conservative leadership would postulate the notion of a specific feminine aesthetic to justify the institution’s continued existence after women’s integration into the ABKW in 1920. This newfound stress on a distinct feminine aesthetic or Frauenkunst was articulated by the school’s anti-secessionist faculty. Associated with the conservative Künstlerhaus, Seligmann and Kauffungen had reputations as reactionaries representing the model of the nineteenth-century Auftragskünstler (commission-based artist), benefitting from the historicist building projects lining Vienna’s Ringstrasse. A noted opponent of the Klimt group, as apparent in his review of the Miethke exhibition, Seligmann was a permanent member of the Künstlerhaus and received the guild’s silver medal for lifetime achievement upon retiring as WFA director in 1932. He specialized in history painting, and his best-known works include the Billroth Lecture Hall (1890), depicting the operating theater of the famous surgeon, and The Reading of the Pragmatic Sanction (1912), completed to celebrate the three-hundredth anniversary of the complex legal settlement allowing Empress Maria Theresa to come to the throne in 1740. Similarly associated with the historicist culture that the secessionists rejected, Kauffungen was one of the most sought-after monumental sculptors of the Ringstrasse era. Training privately with Edmund Hellmer and at the ABKW with Carl Kundmann, Kauffungen contributed to many of the Ringstrasse’s most important civic monuments. Ranking among his best-known public commissions is the allegorical figural group Justitia und Clementia (1895) commissioned for the Hofburg’s Michaelertrakt, an over life-size Thucydides (1896) for the ramp of the parliament building, and a series of relief monuments for the Arkadenhof of Vienna University (1899–1919). Like Seligmann, Kauffungen frequently exhibited in the Künstlerhaus’s annual spring exhibitions and received its gold medal for lifetime achievement in 1936. His lack of public commissions after the fall of the monarchy and the new sociopolitical climate, which had little in common with his “golden Ringstrasse years,” may explain why he recast himself as a pedagogue.31 The WFA’s new direction was laid out by Kauffungen and Seligmann in a series of essays on the specific feminine aesthetic or Frauenkunst: a project that aimed to ensure not only the WFA’s continued institutional existence after the Schillerplatz opened

to women but also that art would express and reinforce natural sexual difference. If their ideas seem vague and amorphous, it is helpful to remember that historical ideas of “women’s art” commonly emerged as prescriptive projections on the part of male artists and critics and that “virtually any essentialist argument about ‘woman’ could be brought into play, to defend or condemn her practice.”32 In the analysis below, I do not mean to suggest that belief in the existence of an essentialist feminine aesthetic was the singular prerogative of anti-modernist commentators or that conservative aesthetic values somehow corresponded to conservative viewpoints on women’s art education or “the woman question.” Recent scholarship on late nineteenth-century women’s artistic culture has shown that support for “women-only” exhibitions tended to be unrelated to critics’ aesthetic preferences or stance on political feminism. Foresworn opponents of women’s emancipation often lent their support to professional women artists under the assumption that art was compatible with women’s traditional roles and hence represented a “relatively unthreatening” field.33 Some of secessionist Vienna’s most progressive critics harbored notably unfavorable and overtly misogynist attitudes toward women artists: attitudes that, despite their stances in the modernist critical camp, overlapped with Kauffungen’s and Seligmann’s. As shown in chapter 5, expressionist critical protagonists such as Roeßler were deeply misogynistic, believing that Frauenkunst was, by nature, condemned to the level of mere decoration. As progressive aesthetic values hardly translated to progressive attitudes toward women artists, it is hardly my intention to castigate Kauffungen and Seligmann as strawmen for a culture in which Weininger’s pseudoscientific theories on women’s inferiority held currency. Rather I wish to show how their attitudes toward Frauenkunst were the site of articulation for a broader critique of the Klimt group’s Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal and valorization of the decorative. At the forefront of the anti-secessionists’ arguments for the continued maintenance of a separate women’s academy were fears that coeducation would force women to take on unfeminine or virile forms of expression. Defending single-sex education in a series of feuilletons, Director Kauffungen rehashed many of the same stereotypes, such as women’s penchant for imitation of stronger male models, consistent with what the ABKW Faculty Council expressed in 1904: “When men and women are educated together in the realm of art, it frequently occurs that women, aspiring to be like . . . more impulsive men, do not bring their own true womanly personality to fruition, [but] fall prey to imitation and apathy, which . . . accordingly leads to an impersonal and therefore less valuable practice.”34 Female art students, Kauffungen lamented, have all too infrequently recognized their own way but rather have “striven to be holier than the pope” by competing with male colleagues caught up in avant-garde movements. In no uncertain terms, Kauffungen’s prescriptions for a more personal, womanly art can be read as a cipher for more polished, academic styles rather than the “nervous and violent expressionist style” gripping too many students.35 Kauffungen then outlined the harmonious nature of gendered artistic practices fostered by “natural” sexual difference


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The Female Secession

and single-sex education: “The real, true woman has her particular field, the man of a genuinely masculine disposition likewise has his; the more personally, the more artistically they each express themselves in their work, the less they can be competitors; they can never pit themselves against each other because their activities complement each other while running along parallel lines.”36 Such a vision of “natural” femininity as expressed through art was not, the director assured readers, an empty pipe dream but was evident in WFA exhibitions where a distinct Frauenkunst was patently present.37 Leaving the specific visual qualities of Frauenkunst to readers’ imaginations, Kauffungen suggested that its influence was particularly strong in graphic art, book illustration, and handcraft, where woman could apply her prowess for small-scale, manual tasks. Kauffungen’s attempts to tout the WFA as a separate-but-equal institution catering to a separate feminine aesthetic were fraught with tension. On the one hand, he seemed to endorse women artists’ educational and professional advancement on the basis of their unique and supposedly inborn talent for fields such as portraiture, landscapes, and the graphic and decorative arts. Paradoxically, despite the ways in which Kauffungen presented Frauenkunst as an intangible expression of natural sexual difference, these “most specifically feminine facilities” had to be actively cultivated through separate training.38 Here, Kauffungen’s circular logic brims with the same tension that craft theorist Glenn Adamson encapsulates with regard to the moral imperatives attached to nineteenth-century female needlework as “an artificial training that pretended to gender-based naturalness.”39 The maintenance of a separate women’s academy was indispensable, Kauffungen suggested, so that the woman artist would “tap into a field, still underdeveloped, but will be more and more fruitful the more it is recognized.”40 Part and parcel of Kauffungen’s and Seligmann’s stress on natural gender difference as constructed through separate artistic training—which may strikes modern readers as paradoxical in that what was biologically determined would not seem to require further societal instruction or indoctrination—was an appeal to women’s different physiological, neurological, and physical makeup. In a clever tactical maneuver, Kauffungen recast the founding idealism of the Women’s Academy—its nonprescriptive teaching methods, free choice of instructor, and individualized instructional methods—as catering to the idea that “[art] instruction for women, if it is to be effective, must be conducted in a fundamentally different manner than for young men.”41 Female art students, due to their delicate constitutions, physical weaknesses, and nervous afflictions, allegedly had less drive and desire to work than men; even the intensity of their talent was found “to be subject to frequent and extraordinarily strong vacillations.”42 Kauffungen further cited female art students’ psychological sensitivity to praise or criticism and supposed creative influenceability as added motivations for instruction catered to “expressions of the female psyche.”43 Such a line of reasoning based on pseudoscientific appeals to biological weakness was noticeably absent from any official documents from the WFA’s early years and directly contradicted its original reformist aims. But it was on the basis

of this line of reasoning that Kauffungen successfully appealed to the ministry for the permanent rights of public incorporation in 1910.44 The secessionists’ broad-based reform program for art education—a curriculum summarized under the motto of Sehenlernen (learning to see), independent of historical precedent and prior knowledge—had not only been compromised at the WFA; the school had been reformulated as a model institution catering to an essentially defined sexual difference.45 Overall, Kauffungen’s discussion of the particular strengths and weaknesses of female art students—familiar stereotypes of women artists’ flair for color and design but deficiency in composition and drafting as well as their supposed impressionability and dependence on male teachers and physical and psychological frailty—betrays a narrowly circumscribed vision of the very Frauenkunst he deemed so essential to Viennese artistic life.46 The project of supporting a Frauenkunst inscribed by biological difference entailed special accommodations to the supposedly unique psychological needs of female art students. Seligmann’s career as critic and teacher had convinced him that, unlike male students who were impetuous and independent by nature, female students were more susceptible to stylistic dependency on stronger male models, a situation related to their emotional nature and oversensitive nervous systems. As the academician reasoned, “In women, a need for love and affection is stronger than in men. Female art students who switch to a different teacher begin working in the shortest time in the style of the latter.”47 The fact that in artists’ marriages the female partner tended to adapt the male partner’s artistic vision—so much so that “her works are difficult to distinguish from his”—only underlined the natural female proclivity for creative reproduction.48 Yet he readily admitted that female students often exceeded men in “intelligence, ambition, and energy” due to the hurdles facing them.49 Seligmann summarized female art students’ strengths and weaknesses as follows: “It has been my experience that in female painting students their sense for color, in comparison to their male colleagues, is generally developed disproportionally stronger than theirs for large plastic forms; precise feeling for linear perspective is also rather seldom; a talent for composition, often in combination with ingenuity, humor, and poesy is often present in illustrative fields; in grand matters, which demand intellectual penetration and perfect command of the figural, especially in grand style, something is left to be desired. This applies to Frauenkunst in general.”50 Exceptions of women artists reaching the level of monumental greatness, he continued, were few and far between. Seligmann believed that book illustration, fashion design, flower painting, and decorative handcrafts were far more valuable and appropriate to women’s ornamental drives than “large, oil-smeared canvases.”51 That these fields should represent quiescent loci of femininity is not surprising in light of the ways in which nineteenth-century handcraft’s “most visible and urgent function” was to signify their maker’s intangible feminine subjectivity, taste, and manual dexterity.52 What divided Seligmann from secessionists like Böhm was his belief that the decorative arts were suited to those lacking “truly great talent but [possessing] taste and inventiveness which,


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to some degree, is teachable” and required little more than manual skill.53 If the Klimt group’s split from the Secession had implied a further valorization of the decorative arts vis-à-vis easel painting, then Seligmann and Kauffungen were determined to reestablish the traditional hierarchy.54 Kauffungen’s and Seligmann’s stances on the decorative clashed with the cross-pollination of art, handcraft, and design favored by the Klimt group. As shown in chapter 2, Seligmann inveighed against the Werkstätte’s Zweckkunst, believing it neither functional nor artistic. Writing around the time of the WFA’s public incorporation, Seligmann tacked on a particularly damning charge to his criticism. The premise of a feuilleton devoted to the Zweckkunst dominating the 1908 Kunstschau was that secessionism and the Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal it represented was but a passing fashion nearing the end of its lifespan; in contrast, Seligmann reasoned, the timeless, “eternal” historical styles do not age but become more valuable with time, like a quality wine or musical instrument.55 Alleging that secessionism had outlived its fashionability—since collectors and industrial-art manufacturers “do not want anything modern anymore,” and the same individuals who furnished their homes “secessionist” last year “have now bought new furniture and redecorated their apartments as ‘old’ or in some kind of inconspicuous compromise style”—Seligmann cut to the quick of the movement’s legitimacy.56 Laden with connotations of superficiality, femininity, and derivativeness, notions of fashionability clung to Viennese secessionism, posing a threat to its adherents because “they might be connected to temporary modishness, something that would not remain significant in the history of art.”57 Seligmann alleged that one such instance of a passing fashion, seemingly important to the moment but that would be thrown away with tomorrow’s rubbish, was the Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal of artistic training that collapsed the material and intellectual boundaries between fine art and handcraft. Proof, to the educator and critic, was the fact that students educated in “modern” applied-arts schools, unfamiliar with historical design sources, had difficulty finding jobs. The work of applied art, he insisted, was necessarily bound to its material status as the primary artistic element in handcraft lay in the handling of precious materials refined through complex working methods and “in the exploitation of material effects.”58 But the autonomous work of fine art, in seeking to emancipate itself from the material and its imperfections, was exactly the opposite in that “here the material is only a necessary evil, a medium to express an artistic idea.”59 Arrested by a failure to uphold these boundaries, the Secessionist Mehrfachkünstler/in, in Seligmann’s estimation, tended to confuse decorative stylization with the work’s essential purpose to the extent that its fashionable dress masqueraded as its essence. His scathing assessment of the Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal betrayed unmistakable dismay that properly trained “real artists” did not take up more monumental (masculine) tasks: “As good as it was for the development of applied art that real artists, trained in drawing, painting, and sculpture and capable of difficult tasks, did not hold it beneath their dignity to take up these things, which nonetheless might be counted as

2/3 handcraft and 1/3 art, so harmful was this penetration of craft-based design techniques into fine art.”60 The painting, sculpture, and decorative art showcased at the 1908 Kunstschau were plagued by an “unsolvable inner contradiction” making them neither art nor craft but something in between.61 As Seligmann had it, WW decorative art and handcraft attempted “to pass themselves off with far too much pretension as ‘artworks,’” whereas many paintings, privileging decorative effects of color and emulation of rich materials, might have been better conceived as craft.62 Ultimately, Seligmann found the Klimt group to be guilty of an exaggerated sense of self-worth, collectively blind to anything but the fashions of their circle. The conservative critic recognized individual members of the Klimt group for their technical abilities and even praised the Werkstätte’s organizational aims.63 To Seligmann, Klimt commanded a stunning technical virtuosity, a fine feeling for color and line, and an extraordinary decorative fantasy.64 Establishing an interpretative framework taken up by Max Eisler in the first Klimt monograph (1921)—that the artist was condemned to remain at the level of monumental decoration through his misguided use of handcraft techniques— Seligmann found Klimt stymied by his penchant for imitating the material qualities of tapestry, marquetry, and cloisonné.65 Writing specifically on Klimt’s Malmosaik portraits, Seligmann assessed Klimt’s failure to uphold the boundary between art and craft, “When Klimt paints human flesh like inlaid mother-of-pearl, paints his backgrounds as pieces of differently patterned tapestry, and actually gilds parts of his pictures, etc., this is just pure tomfoolery by a fine and unique talent.”66 As much as Flächenkunst principles were praised by modernist critics like Hevesi, Seligmann likened Klimt’s integration of these ideas onto his easel canvases to a dangerous form of formal play disregarding the conventions of “high” art. But a far greater danger was posed by the seductive economy of fashion driving the social dynamics of the Klimt group, charges directly implicating the WW’s talented female newcomers.67 In Seligmann’s assessment, younger, less talented members of the Klimt group were driven to imitate such cross-pollinations of art and design not out of a genuine inner drive but “formulaically . . . from the pure joy of opposition,” as a sort of inauthentic “genius bred on a cold path” according to a “rationally constructed irrationality.”68 Polemicizing against the boundary-defying decorative art examined throughout this book, Seligmann pleaded with readers that WW Zweckkunst, lacking depth beyond its fashionability, consisted of mere decorative baubles that would not stand the test of time: “Most of these works are like sponges, swollen to seemingly huge sizes, soaked full of the ideas of a problematic and confused era and the eccentricities of fashion. If this [fashion] is suddenly over, the content evaporates and they shrink to pathetic, dried-out images. A more healthy future era . . . will . . . only regret that a great deal of talent and effort has been wasted on mostly petty, absurd, or worthless things. They will be seen as curious experiments, amusing toys.”69 Precisely which objects Seligmann was referring to remains unclear since his feuilleton addressed the concept of Zweckkunst rather than specific works in the Kunstschau’s


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15. Böhm school artistic toys, exhibited at the 1908 Kunstschau. From DKD 23, no. 1 (1908): 69.

WW gallery (room 50). But his words on the Werkstätte’s “curious experiments” might have applied equally to Michael Powolny’s allegorical ceramic putti (ca. 1907), installed on pedestals in the gallery’s corners, Carl Otto Czeschka’s elaborate silver vitrine (1906–8), inlaid with semiprecious stones, enamel, and ivory, showcased in the center of the gallery (a work that famously took two years to execute and cost 15,000 Kronen in materials), or the artistic toys designed by Böhm school students like Podhajská, Harlfinger-Zakucka, and Pranke (shown in the display cabinet in fig. 15). Harlfinger-Zakucka’s artistic toys (visible on the second and third shelf ) took inspiration from the “primitive” visual qualities of vernacular toys and folk costumes. The taller figure on the far right of the second shelf was labeled as a representation of a particular folk costume by the artist. The abstract yet anthropomorphic miniature sculpture at the far left of the third shelf (nearly identical to another figure she crafted with different legs and no scrolled decoration [fig. 16]) playfully hints at the attributes of a human face via the ball ornament suggesting a nose, the alternating row of dots evocative of eyes and a mouth, and the turned-wood legs and feet. The toy makes ornamental use of simple geometrical shapes, much like the balls decorating Hoffmann’s “Flat Model” cutlery that Seligmann mocked for its functionless ornamentalism. The pressing question on the mind of Seligmann and other critics, however, was whether children would understand the playthings’ sophisticated visual references to folk art and avant-garde design. In light of their attitudes toward female art students’ impressionability and penchant for creative plagiarism, the writing on the wall was all too clear for Seligmann and Kauffungen. Female art students had to be protected from the seductive fashions and artistic “isms” of the moment, including the trend for decorative oddities categorizable as neither art nor craft but somewhere in between and the radically permissive pedagogical theories of “unlearning” derived from early childhood education. In their capacity as pedagogues, both artists envisaged the WFA as a space to cloister women from the Klimt group’s Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal. Rejecting the expressive methods of secessionists like Böhm—methods they believed produced pretentious but technically incompetent artist-craftswomen ultimately programmed to imitate their teachers—Kauffungen and Seligmann believed that female art

students needed prescriptive and rigorous artistic training “if it [their talent] is to rise above dilettantism.”70 Such instruction would be provided by the WFA’s new academic classes, modeled on and granted official institutional parity with the state academy at what theoretically represented a separate-but-equal state facility. But in practice, the institutional recognition touted by the WFA’s conservative leadership remained tenuous.71 Despite state financial support, curricular oversight, and employment of professors as civil servants, the WFA’s academic status hovered unclearly between a state program, a state-accredited curriculum, and a private institution. That the decorative arts came to occupy an indeterminate and patently unequal status suggested just how far the school had diverged from the künstlerische Gesamtausbildung privileged by its founders.


Separate but Equal?

Academic Classes and the Gendered Hierarchy of the Arts A milestone in Seligmann’s and Kauffungen’s efforts to secure official recognition for their separate-but-equal institution was the installation of state-accredited classes of academic painting and sculpture in winter 1918/19, which were financed by the state in the amount of 10,000 Kronen per year. The specified purposes of the courses was “to provide women and girls who want to dedicate themselves to art professionally the opportunity for artistic training in painting and sculpture in the same manner as it is conducted at the state art academies.”72 On the cusp of women’s admission to the Schillerplatz, the WFA’s anti-secessionist faculty made concerted attempts to convince the general public that the WFA was a prestigious state institution offering an education equal in content and value to the ABKW. Official statues and informational flyers advertised that its training was “equal to that offered at the state art academies” while contemporary press articles boasted of the institution’s prestigious Hochschulcharakter (university character).73 But it was largely anti-secessionist professors like Kauffungen and Seligmann, rather than the state or general public, who were most convinced that its academic classes were truly equal. Kauffungen prepared to defend the WFA’s continued existence as the ABKW was forced to accept female students in the winter 1920/21 semester. Impelled by a parliamentary motion of May 23, 1919, sponsored by the German People’s Party, women’s admission ensued after a heated battle between Undersecretary of Education Otto Glöckel and the academy’s Faculty Council, which continued to stall for time citing the Platzfrage.74 Showing little patience for the logistical ruse, in December 1919 Glöckel commanded ABKW director Edmund Hellmer (Kauffungen’s teacher) to take the immediate practical steps in preparation for admitting women. While the general public knew few details surrounding women’s admission—such as the fact that only fourteen women

16. Fanny HarlfingerZakucka, artistic toy, ca. 1908. Private collection, Vienna. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.


The Female Secession

were actually admitted or the frantic correspondences dispatched between Hellmer and Glöckel on the timely completion of a separate women’s Aktsaal (life-drawing hall)— the Frauenstudium affair attracted widespread popular attention. Viennese sculptor, journalist, and former WFA student Rosa Silberer (1873–1942), who exhibited with the Hagenbund and with Eight Women Artists (an informal exhibition society active 1901–9) and regularly published art criticism in the 1920 and ’30s, penned an acerbic front-page editorial for the Neue Freie Presse. To Silberer, the academy’s admission of women was merely a face-saving measure covering its long-term obstructionism. “After the doors had been opened wide everywhere else,” she quipped “even the Art Academy couldn’t keep theirs closed any longer.”75 The greater question to Silberer, however, was whether the WFA’s doors would remain open too. With the ABKW’s first incoming female class, Director Kauffungen faced a grave legitimation crisis and was even confronted with petitions for integrating male students into his school. Founded as a corrective to women’s institutional exclusion, notions that the WFA was becoming superfluous gained traction among feminist groups. Other women’s academies in Central Europe—such as the Munich Women’s Academy (1884–1920) on which the WFA was modeled—closed with women’s integration into state academies. During and immediately following the Great War, secessionist Vienna’s “women-only” institutional network was scrutinized for impeding rather than advancing women’s equality in the arts.76 Such criticism from within the women’s movement—both from the General Austrian Women’s Association and the more moderate League of Austrian Women’s Associations—indexed a critical shift in attitudes toward institutional separatism in that feminist journals in the prewar period regularly covered and unfailingly endorsed art exhibitions of solely women’s work. In a controversial feuilleton published at the beginning of the winter 1920/21 semester, Kauffungen argued that the academy’s opening to women only represented a “superficial form of equality” in that demands for institutional integration implied that “women-only” establishments were of inherently lesser value.77 He insisted that women—and separatist institutions—enjoyed a sort of equality precisely because of and due to essentialist sexual difference. Differing with unnamed “modern psychologists” who apparently found women of lesser intellectual value, Kauffungen asserted that “they are of equal intellectual value but their intellect is different than men’s intellect and cannot compete with it. It is God’s plan that women are different!”78 Kauffungen thus maintained that single-sex education upheld a natural biological order visualized and materialized through artistic practices. Coeducational studies disadvantaged both men and women—especially women since they were driven “to take on men’s manner of expression” to the detriment of their natural femininity and “feminine” modes of expression (presumably meaning conservative modes).79 The director explained, “Art is heightened humanity; every human must first find himself or herself in his or her own person. . . . [M]an will only find man in himself, woman will only find woman, and, accordingly, their manners of artistic expression.”80 A separate institution would allow an

unthreatening, womanly Frauenkunst to come into focus, whereby “women would not effectively be educated to be men, but to complement men’s accomplishments.”81 Attesting to the reactionary nature of Kauffungen’s views, an editorial addendum stated that the Neue Freie Presse was in no way responsible for Professor Kauffungen’s sentiments. Protests against Kauffungen’s defense of the WFA surfaced immediately. Former students active in the VBKÖ alleged that the state’s apparent elevation and official recognition of the WFA amounted to a ploy to keep women out of the state academy in significant numbers. In 1920, former WFA student Hedwig Brecher-Eibuschitz (1880–?), who studied printmaking under Ludwig Michalek and Martin and regularly served on VBKÖ juries, hanging commissions, and executive committees, rebuffed Kauffungen in a spirited counter-feuilleton; she wrote that Vienna knew only one academy, and it was not the one crammed into rented facilities and improvised attics. The ABKW’s opening to women, she maintained, would necessarily attract the best talents, leaving the WFA as a second-rate dumping ground for dilettanti whose credentials would never be recognized as legitimate: “Precisely to save and preserve ‘Frauenkunst’ . . . we stand by the belief in equality of men and women in every learnable art.”82 Was the situation that Brecher-Eibuschitz forecasted a deliberate tactical maneuver on the part of Kauffungen and the ABKW? Officially, the ministry maintained that in no way was its support of WFA academic classes related to women’s studies at the state academy.83 Nonetheless, academy professors exploited the ministry’s support of Kauffungen’s separate-but-equal academy to preserve the male academic citadel as long as possible. Rump-secessionist Bacher, who sat on several special committees handling women’s admission, admitted in a confidential memorandum that the academy’s erstwhile support of Kauffungen’s academic classes might “dam up” an influx of female applicants to the Schillerplatz.84 Ultimately, state support of Kauffungen’s institution represented a tidy solution for all parties involved: the WFA maintained its existence in the face of calls for coeducation, the ABKW was no longer stigmatized for not accepting women, and the ministry maintained its impartial support for women’s art education. Presenting the WFA as a prestigious state Hochschule, Kauffungen and Seligmann modeled the academic classes directly on those of the Schillerplatz. Students in the WFA’s academic classes progressed through a prescribed three-year curriculum (extended to four years in 1922), organized by year and disciplinary concentrations in sculpture (instructed by Kauffungen), painting (Seligmann, Grom-Rottmayer, and Harlfinger), and, from 1925 onward, graphic art (Martin). All academic students were required to attend common evening life classes with live, unclothed models (figs. 17–18). Interdisciplinary or dual concentrations were strongly discouraged and permitted only as exceptions.85 Academic students, in complete opposition to the secessionist notion of unlearning, had to demonstrate extensive preknowledge of perspective, shading, and composition through drawings from nature, sketches from memory, and a closed entrance examination according to predetermined compositional themes.86 Like the state academy,


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The Female Secession

17. WFA academic painting class, 1937. From Österreichische Kunst 8, no. 6 (1937): 24. 18. WFA academic sculpture class, 1937. From Österreichische Kunst 8, no. 6 (1937): 24.

academic students progressed through a required sequence of theoretical lectures: first-year students took anatomy and perspective (offered at the WFA itself ); second-year students took history, art history, and design history; and third-year students took chemistry and color theory. In a series of negotiations with Rudolf von Förster-Streffleur, head of the ministry’s Department for Art, Kauffungen brokered an agreement whereby secondand third-year students would attend theoretical lectures as special guest auditors, free of tuition, at the ABKW and KGS.87 Despite the official financial justification that the lectures required additional teaching staff beyond the WFA’s means, the arrangements represented a stratagem for Kauffungen to ensconce his Women’s Academy into the mainstream institutional network, allowing it to function next to the state academies without competing with them. Finally, in what Plakolm-Forsthuber compares to the celibacy requirements placed on nineteenth-century women schoolteachers, every academic school applicant was required to pledge in writing that she would practice art professionally—a demand not made of ABKW students.88 With a new stress on hierarchy, disciplinary specialization, and stringent professionalism, Kauffungen and Seligmann turned their back on the theories of positive dilettantism that guided the WFA’s secessionist educators. Dilettantism, as we saw, clung to perceptions of women’s artistic practices and proved problematic for women hoping to establish themselves according to gender-neutral professional standards. Given that private schools carried reputations as havens of dilettantism, Kauffungen and Seligmann were keen to disassociate their academic programs from derogatory notions of dabbling, amateurism, or superficiality. Indeed the written pledge to professionalism must be understood in light of Brecher-Eibuschitz’s fears.89 With the new stress on stringent professionalism, the WFA’s general division would become “a preparatory and nursery school for later academic training” and remain open to dilettantes who did not need to practice art as a full-time vocation.90 Yet Kauffungen’s Frauenkunst essays betrayed a shift in the rhetorical field surrounding the female dilettante. Whereas WFA founders

had encouraged positive dilettantism in terms of individual self-realization, Kauffungen set a dangerous precedent whereby the dilettante’s role in fostering aesthetic sensibility was circumscribed according to biologically defined gender roles.91 That is, Kauffungen validated the female dilettante but largely—if not solely—insofar as her practice enriched the circle of family and children. Precisely for these reasons, he insisted that money spent on artistic training was not wasted even if a woman married in the middle of her studies. A far cry from the porous nature of amateur/professional informing the Klimt group’s self-aware female patrons, such attitudes on dilettantism would resurface during the National Socialist period. Meanwhile, the Mehrfachkünstler/in ideal guiding secessionist educators like Böhm receded into the background, replaced by a clear hierarchy between the fine and applied-arts curriculum. The decorative arts division, now housed at a separate, less prestigious location (Henslergasse 3) than its centrally located main premises (Stubenring 12 and Bäckerstraße 1), remained the WFA’s most well-attended classes through the 1920s and ’30s, when upward of 350 students attended the school. Under the aegis of Otto Friedrich (1910–32), the curriculum expanded to include specialized workshops for metalwork, graphic art, ornamental writing, bookbinding, enamel and porcelain painting, theater and set design, and fashion design. Already in the 1920s and ’30s, critics noted a new stress on fashion design, a pedagogical shift foreshadowing the WFA’s instrumentalization as a fashion school under the National Socialist dictatorship.92 In the interwar period, Friedrich’s students became internationally recognized costume and set designers for film, theater, and opera. One prominent example was Erni Kniepert-Fellerer (1911–1990), who joined the WFK. Studying with Friedrich from 1930 to 1932, Kniepert-Fellerer garnered a reputation for experimental costume and fashion design. She drew inspiration from contemporary art, like clothing she modeled for a special 1934 issue of Österreichische Kunst. Regularly collaborating with leading theaters, Kniepert-Fellerer designed costumes for some of the mid-twentieth century’s most iconic operatic productions, including the 1955 production of Fidelio to celebrate the Vienna State Opera’s postwar reopening, the 1960 production of Der Rosenkavalier to inaugurate Salzburg’s Grossesfestspielhaus, and Otto Schenk’s 1968 production of Der Rosenkavalier, which is still performed at the Vienna State Opera today. But artist-craftswomen like Kniepert-Fellerer represented the end rather than beginning of an era. In a confidential 1919 memorandum, Kauffungen outlined a proposal for adding academic courses in applied art, marked with the addendum that such courses were “particularly important for women!”93 Exactly how these academic courses were to be structured remained unclear, but the implication was that they would stress exacting standards of technical prowess in contrast to secessionist “unlearning.” This proposal, along with the outlandish scheme to transfer all female KGS students to the WFA (on the grounds that certain unnamed KGS professors did everything within their power to impede female students’ advancement and would “hardly object”) was never realized. Kauffungen


Separate but Equal?


The Female Secession

instead enacted other curricular changes to suppress experimental secessionist methods in favor of praxis-driven handcraft instruction.94 From the onset of the academic classes in 1918, instruction in the decorative arts division followed a more structured, specialized trajectory aimed at training technically competent craftswomen who commanded mastery of specialized fields rather than the ideal of the “all-around” artist. All students were now required to attend Friedrich’s preparatory course on studies from nature for the applied arts before enrolling in advanced workshops, which, in contrast to the permissiveness of the free-expression method, offered prescriptive instruction for each craft métier. Precisely what the secessionists had rejected in their reforms—specialized instruction, trained manual skill, and overemphasis on technical achievement—now occupied an increasingly important position in the WFA’s decorative arts division. We must understand the predominance of female instructors in the applied-arts workshops, many of whom were WFA graduates, in the context of the gendered hierarchy of art and craft that reemerged after 1918. Two of the most distinguished decorative arts instructors were Taussig-Roth, niece of Blau-Lang, who was a longtime instructor (1901–34) of embroidery, textiles, lacemaking, and handweaving and a member of the WKiH, and silversmith Elfriede Berbalk, a student of Friedrich and Georg Klimt at the WFA, who famously became the first Austrian woman to pass the guild examination in gold- and silversmithing in 1924 after apprenticing in the WW’s metal workshops. Taussig-Roth operated in the traditionally feminine field of embroidery, studying from 1894 to 1899 with needlework reformer Therese Mirani at the imperial Fachschule für Kunststickerei (Trade school for art embroidery) before enrolling in Böhm’s course (1901–4). In contrast, Berbalk strove to attract women to the traditionally masculine field of metalwork and only took on female apprentices in her eighteenth-district workshop, which she opened in 1924. Women, Berbalk claimed, were ideally suited to the exacting technical processes required of hand-formed silver due to their penchant for detail, patience, and industriousness. A member of the WFK and Austrian Werkbund, Berbalk won prizes at important decorative arts exhibitions, like her bronze medal at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris, her gold medal at the 1930 Exhibition of Industrial and Decorative Art in Monza, and her silver medal at the 1937 Exposition internationale des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne (International exposition of art and technology in modern life) in Paris. Her silver cases shown in Paris in 1925 featured enameled decoration by Salzburg-based artist Maria Cyrenius (1872–1959), a fellow WFK/Werkbund member who frequently collaborated with Berbalk (fig. 19). Trained in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and at the Weimar Bauhaus after studying privately with Itten in Vienna, Cyrenius’s enamelwork was informed by Itten’s teachings on the expressive use of contrasting color and participates in the same abstractionist movement as contemporary painting. Other female instructors included Hedwig Kohn (porcelain and enameling), Mina Hadrboletz (tailoring), Martha Reich (fashion), and Adelheid Paukert (porcelain painting).

Despite reputations as accomplished professionals, female instructors of decorative art and handcraft did not enjoy the same privileged status as their colleagues in the academic division, a situation protested by former students. On the occasion of the WFA’s thirtieth jubilee, WFA cofounder Prager petitioned the ministry to bestow honorary titles like Regierungsratin (state-councilor) and Professorin on longtime faculty and staff members Seligmann, Taussig-Roth, and Helene Roth (Taussig-Roth’s sister and secretary since 1899). While almost all the requests were granted without issue, Prager’s petition to have Taussig-Roth recognized as Professorin of embroidery was denied due to the medium’s lingering association with domestic amateurism. The bureaucrat handling the case commented that “because the matter concerns an institution standing closer to a school of applied art,” bestowing the prestigious title was impossible.95 Another disparity concerned the unequal status of credentials from the WFA’s decorative arts division, which were eventually recognized—albeit tenuously— as equal to those of the KGS.96 Notably, the battle for the official recognition of decorative-arts degrees was waged not by the school’s anti-secessionist leaders but by former students for the purpose of professional advancement. In 1929, Marianne Zels, a former student instructing fashion and textiles at the KGS, applied for a promotion and needed to demonstrate official confirmation that her educational credentials were completely equal in value to those of state design schools.97 In response to the Zels inquiry, on May 7, 1929, the Ministry of Education granted official institutional parity of WFA decorative-arts degrees.98 But related cases from graduates from the interwar successor states (including Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Austria) demanding clarification to the precise legal status of their degrees suggested that the issue of institutional parity for the WFA decorative-arts division had never been fully settled.99 Indeed, while undocumented, it likely that Böhm school students like Podhajská, who moved to Prague in 1919 and taught at the State School for Domestic Industry from 1922 to 1939, faced similar struggles.100 Kauffungen’s fight for the parity of his academic courses was fraught with contradiction. A major victory came with the 1921/22 systemization (or incorporation as state employees) of six positions (including the directorship, four professorships, and an administrative officer) as the result of a January 1921 parliamentary motion by German People’s Party deputies Emmy Stradal, a Lower Austrian housewife turned politician, and Viktor Zeidler, a former Gymnasium instructor.101 Contending that the opening of the ABKW only represented a chimeric triumph since qualified female applicants were being turned away because of lack of space, the motion argued that WFA academic schools, equipped “with the same rights, duties, and direction” as the ABKW, could accept greater


Separate but Equal?

19. Elfriede Berbalk, silver boxes, shown at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris. Enamel work by Maria Cyrenius. From DKD 57, no. 1 (1925): 84.


The Female Secession

numbers of female students and provide special accommodations to their psychological needs.102 In truth, only fourteen women were admitted to the ABKW in the winter 1920/21 semester, comprising 5.3 percent of the total students; this number rose to 8.5 percent and 8.9 percent in 1921/22 (in the winter and summer semesters, respectively), 10.4 percent and 9.6 percent in 1922/23, 14.5 percent and 14 percent in 1923/24, 16.2 percent for both 1924/1925 semesters, and 15.7 percent and 16.5 percent in 1925/26.103 Of the inaugural class, the vast majority (70 percent) enrolled in the painting school, a field of practice harmonious with traditional feminine norms, followed by 23 percent in sculpture, and 7 percent in architecture, statistics that remained consistent throughout the 1920s.104 The implication of the parliamentary motion was that a “women-only” environment might give female students greater leeway to choose concentrations, free of socio-institutional sexism, and isolate them from adverse competition or pressure from male peers. Yet while the ministry approved the motion, the details surrounding the case made Kauffungen’s victory a pyrrhic one. The high-ranking official handling the case, Rudolf von Förster-Streffleur, expressed grave doubts on Kauffungen’s pretentions to being a state institution, arguing that the motion “seems to have been based on the false assumption that state academic classes have been attached to the institution in question.”105 Förster clarified that “in no way are these academic classes a state institution” but that their running costs were merely underwritten by state subventions.106 Nor did state support for WFA academic schools “stand in any sort of connection with the Academy of Fine Arts, as this [women’s admission] was only allowed two years after the establishment of the academic classes in question, specifically in 1920,” a claim that seems highly dubious in light of Bacher’s confession to the contrary.107 As Förster’s reaction to the systemization paperwork demonstrated, much confusion surrounded the WFA’s supposed status as a state academy, a situation to which the ABKW contributed. When, in 1922, Kauffungen petitioned the ministry that his academic students should receive the same rights as ABKW students with regard to state scholarships, prizes, appointments, and possible transfer into the academy (proposing exemption from entrance examinations), Kauffungen received the unhelpful answer from the ABKW that ministerial decree Z.23280 of September 17, 1918, had already confirmed the equality of WFA academic schools and “further legal confirmation of these terms” was unnecessary.108 While the academy supported Kauffungen insofar as his interests served its own—that a separate women’s academy might prevent an unfortunate feminization of the ABKW (like the KGS in the 1880s)—its response demonstrated that it was not willing to intervene in clarifying Kauffungen’s separate-but-equal claims and that, moreover, his academic pupils would not be freed from an additional entrance examination.109 Kauffungen’s request that students be granted the same privilege of free or reduced admission to public museums and exhibitions as other art students was more successful. But, despite ministerial directives to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Belvedere Gallery, the Secession, the Hagenbund, and the Künstlerhaus, the issue

continued to beleaguer pupils into the 1930s, when ticket sellers at the Belvedere refused to recognize students’ identification cards.110 Kauffungen’s boldest attempt to shore up the WFA’s status as a Hochschule came in May 1925 with the proposed adoption of new statutes and a more prestigious name. The new statutes contained important changes such as the incorporation of academic classes in the graphic arts, proposed master classes, and the adoption of “Wiener Frauenakademie für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe” (Viennese women’s academy for fine and applied art) as the school’s and league’s new designation. Although informally called Damenakademie or Frauenakademie since its founding, the school officially went by its founding name, Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (Art school for women and girls). While the ministry had no objections to the curricular changes, it expressed “deep reservations” about the new name and consulted Academy Rector Bacher.111 Bacher insisted the designation of Frauenakademie did not befit the character of an Austrian Hochschule, especially with regard to the title’s inclusion of the “lesser” applied arts.112 Considering that the painter sided against the Klimt group, Bacher’s insistence that the applied arts not be equated with academic studies is hardly surprising. Both state and municipal authorities agreed with Bacher that “according to the present school organization, a hochschulmässig (university-caliber) operation of its applied-arts instruction is absolutely not planned for at the present time.”113 Kauffungen was also forced to overhaul his plans for master classes, resubmitting the statutes to municipal authorities under the new name of Wiener Frauenakademie und Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst (Viennese women’s academy and school for fine and applied art). This more modest title was approved on August 11, 1925, delineating its academic Hochschule-like offerings in the fine arts from its less prestigious schools of decorative art and handcraft.114 The zenith of the WFA’s institutional prestige coincided with its thirtieth anniversary and the 1927 pragmatization (or extension of tenured contracts with full eligibility for insurance and pensions) of the six state-funded positions. In appealing for the added funding, Seligmann (director from 1926 to 1932) recast the WFA’s founding mission as catering to a specific feminine aesthetic while reminding the ministry of its renown as a separate-but-equal facility: “It has been acknowledged as one of the best educational institutions in Vienna and prized for its national educational mission of providing artistic education to its pupils in such areas that are particularly suited to women.”115 However, whatever prestige Kauffungen and Seligmann had wrested for their academic classes would be preempted by the shifting political winds of the 1930s. With the departure of several key faculty—Kauffungen’s retirement in 1926, Seligmann’s resignation of his directorial post in 1932, and additional faculty departures—the academy came into the hands of sculptor Heinrich Zita (1882–1951), a consummate opportunist ready to sacrifice the academic classes to curry favor with National Socialist leaders. During its reinvention as the Modeschule der Stadt Wien (MSW, Viennese municipal fashion school) under


Separate but Equal?


The Female Secession

National Socialist leadership, the institution was no longer an art academy dedicated to educating outstanding individual artists but a trade school educating anonymous and obedient artisans. Frauenkunst would once again be collapsed with handcraft and the decorative. Yet in light of the instrumentalized MSW’s mission of providing solid handcraft training in dressmaking without pretension to artistic status, the new pedagogical principles were entirely at odds with its secessionist roots. While we return to the WFA’s institutional history in the conclusion, part 2 moves thematically through important pre- and postwar exhibitions of decorative art, drawing case studies in the fields of artistic toy and furniture design, ceramics, and architectural and interior design. We begin with the Böhm school’s contributions to the landmark 1908 Kunstschau exhibition and then continue into the WFA’s role in the WW in its later expressive phases and in the radical women’s art and design collective, the WFK. Negatively informed by the notion of a separate feminine aesthetic held up by the WFA’s anti-secessionist leaders, rebellious students sought to reclaim the fixed stereotypes surrounding women’s art and the decorative and the fusion of art, craft, and decoration for which the Klimt group stood. Such gestures of provocative rebellion invested the critical category of Frauenkunst with liberatory potential and related to the ways in which Viennese expressionists forged bonds of self-identification with socially marginalized or less powerful groups, such as criminals, children, and the insane in which “the very markers of otherness” were recast as “signs of self-definition and even pride.”116 In a very real way, discursive associations between the mental and psychological closeness of women and children allowed members of the Böhm school to exploit their supposed naïveté as artistic pioneers. That art educators made access to training in the applied arts easier for women is not surprising in light of their efforts to categorically exclude women from original creative genius. What such individuals may not have expected was how the interwar artist-craftswoman created decorative handcraft that refused its status as mere decoration, with intellectual claims to “thinking through craft” on the same level as “high” art.117 Against the WFA’s turbulent institutional history, we now turn to the story of interwar Vienna’s female Secession.

color plates

1. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka and Minka Podhajská, Schachspiel (Chess set), detail: knight figures, ca. 1906. Executed by the WW. Painted wood, heights: 2–3 1/2 in. (5–8.7 cm). Photo © bel etage, Wolfgang Bauer, Vienna.

2. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Der Klavierunterricht (The piano lesson), ca. 1903. Color woodblock print, 10 1/4 × 9 5/8 in. (26 × 24 cm). Reproduced in Ver Sacrum 6, no. 7 (1903): 151. Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

3. Else Lott, cover design for Die Fläche, ca. 1902. 7 1/2 × 6 7/16 in. (19.1 × 16.3 cm). From Die Fläche 1, no. 2 (1902): 97.

4. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Schönbrunn, ca. 1902. Color woodcut print, reproduced in lithograph, 6 1/8 × 6 7/16 in. (15.6 ×16.35 cm). From Die Fläche 1, no. 2 (1902): 172. Photo: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

5. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, stenciled image from Bilderbuch der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1901. 9 5/8 × 8 3/4 in. (24.4 × 22.2 cm). Bilderbuchmuseum Burg Wissem, Troisdorf, Germany / Sammlung Friedrich C. Heller. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

6. Minka Podhajská, stenciled image from Schlablonen Drucke, ca. 1903. 9 5/8 × 8 3/4 in. (24.4 × 22.2 cm). Princeton University Library, Cotsen Children’s Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

7. Oskar Kokoschka, Das Mädchen Li und ich (The girl Li and I), from Die träumenden Knaben (The dreaming youths), 1907, printed in 1908. Color lithograph on paper, 9 1/4 × 8 1/2 in. (23.5 × 21.5 cm, edge of picture). Published by the WW, printed by August Chwala (text) and Albert Berger (lithographs). Neue Galerie New York. © 2018 Fondation Oskar Kokoschka / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zürich. Photo: Neue Galerie New York / Art Resource, New York.

8. Editha Moser, Secessionstarock (Secessionist tarot), printed by Alfred Berger, 1906. Fifty-four playing cards, color lithographs, card size: 4 9/16 × 2 3/16 in. (11.6 cm × 5.5 cm). Private collection. Photo © Christie’s Images / Bridgeman Art Library.

9. Editha Moser, Secessionstarock (Secessionist tarot), printed by Alfred Berger, detail, 1906. Color lithographs, card size: 4 9/16 × 2 3/16 in. (11.6 × 5.5 cm). Private collection. Photo © Christie’s Images / Bridgeman Art Library.

10. Susi Singer-Schinnerl, Mode (Fashion), 1912. WW postcard 754. Lithograph, 5 1/2 × 3 1/2 in. (14 × 9 cm). MAK—Austrian Museum for Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna. Photo © MAK.

11. Maria Likarz-Strauss, Mode (Fashion), 1912. WW postcard 769. Lithograph, 5 1/2 × 3 1/2 in. (14 × 9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Museum accession, transferred from the Library. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Art Resource, New York.

12. Mela Köhler, Mode (Fashion) (place card), 1912. WW postcard 603. Lithograph, 3 1/2 × 2 3/4 in. (9 × 7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Museum accession, transferred from the Library. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Art Resource, New York. 13. Mela Köhler, Mode (Fashion) (place card), 1912. WW postcard 605. Lithograph, 3 1/2 × 2 3/4 in. (9 × 7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Museum accession, transferred from the Library. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Art Resource, New York.

14. Gustav Klimt, Johanna Staude, 1917/18. Oil on canvas, 27 3/5 × 19 7/10 in. (70 × 50 cm). Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna. Photo © Belvedere, Vienna.

15. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Spanish courtier, ca. 1906. Painted wood. Private collection, Vienna. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

16. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, “Turk” figurines, ca. 1906. Painted wood. Private collection, Vienna. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

17. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, Rococo ladies with cavalier, ca. 1906. Painted wood. Private collection, Vienna. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

18. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka and Minka Podhajská, Schachspiel (Chess set), ca. 1906. Executed by the WW. Painted wood, heights: 2–3 1/2 in. (5–8.7 cm). Photo © bel etage / Wolfgang Bauer, Vienna.

19. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka and Minka Podhajská, Schachspiel (Chess set), detail: queen figures, ca. 1906. Executed by the WW. Painted wood, heights: 2–3 1/2 in. (5–8.7 cm). Photo © bel etage, Wolfgang Bauer, Vienna.

20. Magda Mautner von Markhof, Puppenhaus (Dollhouse), ca. 1908. Painted wood, overall dimensions, 50 2/5 × 59 3/5 × 35 in. (128 × 151.5 × 90 cm). Photo courtesy Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe. 21. Magda Mautner von Markhof, Puppenhaus (Dollhouse), detail: dining room, ca. 1908. Painted wood. Photo courtesy Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe. . 22. Magda Mautner von Markhof, Puppenhaus (Dollhouse), detail: interior staircase, ca. 1908. Painted wood. Photo courtesy Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe

23. Gustav Klimt, Mäda Primavesi, 1912. Oil on canvas, 59 × 43 1/2 in. (149.9 × 110.5 cm). Gift of André and Clara Mertens, in memory of her mother, Jenny Pulitzer Steiner, 1964 (64.148). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Art Resource, New York (Schecter Lee).

24. Vally Wieselthier, Kopf mit Blume (Head with flower), 1928. WW model no. 527. Polychromed glazed red earthenware, height: 14 3/5 in. (37 cm), width: 7 1/2 in. (19 cm), depth: 7 1/10 in. (18 cm). Galerie bei der Albertina–Zetter, Vienna. Photo © Galerie bei der Albertina, Vienna.

25. Vally Wieselthier, Obstschale (Fruit dish), 1927. Tin glazed earthenware, height: 4 7/10 in. (12 cm), width: 9 2/5 in. (24 cm), depth: 8 7/10 in. (22 cm). Gift of Dr. E. R. Meyer, in memory of his daughter, Margit H. Meyer, 1982 (1982.79). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Art Resource, New York.

26. Susi Singer-Schinnerl, Chinese mit Pferd (Chinaman with horse), 1920. WW model 560. Glazed earthenware, height: 8 1/10 in. (20.5 cm), width: 8 3/10 in. (21 cm). Photo © Kunsthandel Kolhammer, Vienna.

27. Maria Likarz-Strauss (designer), evening bag, ca. 1925. Manufactured by the WW, 1903–33. Glass beads, kid leather, height: 7 1/2 × width: 5 1/2 in. (19 × 14 cm). Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Modernism Collection, gift of Norwest Bank Minnesota, 98.276.166. Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Kinderkunst and Frauenkunst at the 1908 Kunstschau

The idea that modern art and design can resemble the efforts of children has long persisted as a trope for dismissing radical innovations privileging access to “childlike” inner expressivity, spontaneity, and freshness over skilled academic rendering.1 But to the artists and critics of the Klimt group, as well as other avant-gardes across Europe, drawings made with the “innocent eye” of untutored children embodied the same untainted qualities found in the arts of so-called primitive tribal peoples from Africa, Oceania, North America, and the prehistoric past.2 While the Klimt group was not singular in its admiration for children’s art (paralleling the Blue Rider, the Stieglitz circle, and the Russian primitivists), it was one of the first avant-garde collectives to reclassify such production as “art” and deem it worthy of hanging next to modern work: a provocative gesture amounting to a battle cry against the Künstlerhaus’s formerly reigning taste for polished history painting.3 Educational reforms inspired by the Vienna Secession, a movement whose leaders placed great faith in the “spirit of youth through which the present always becomes modern,” were responsible for stimulating the avant-garde’s serious interest in art for and by children.4 Implicit in the Klimt group’s preoccupation with childhood as a site and metaphor for creative innovation was the notion that adults had something to learn from the aesthetics of untutored children’s drawings—lessons that female art students understood quite well. Frequently conflated with folk cultures and children, women occupied a similar position as gendered others due to their supposed closeness to nature and marginalization from academic institutions. Yet female art students in secessionist Vienna harnessed their perceived naiveté and closeness to children to transcend the trivializing stigmas attached to women’s art; they, too, had lessons to teach male secessionists. This chapter explores the nexus of women, children, and primitivism in secessionist Vienna through the lens of artistic toy design.5 Women artists managed to use the




The Female Secession

gender-specific ideologies into which they were slotted—women’s “natural” connection to child-rearing and the belief that women were “biologically more attuned than men to the psychological, emotional, and physical needs of children”—by reclaiming these ideas on their own terms. Female art students experimented with designing objects intended to plant seeds of artistic sensibility in children’s souls, artistic toys participating in the broader “Art for the Child” movement.6 The toys and furniture for children unveiled at the 1908 Kunstschau were inspired by the aphorism that, as curator, design reformer, and “Art for the Child” propagandist Julius Leisching put it, “An artistic impulse [Kunsttrieb] lies hidden in every child. . . . [P]lay is nothing other than a type of Kunsttrieb.”7 Building on the educational reforms discussed in part 1, the female art students exhibiting their work in the Kunstschau’s Art for the Child display privileged a deliberately stylized primitivism informed by traditional carved wooden Bauernspielzeuge (peasant toys) and the grammar and syntax of children’s drawings. The artist-craftswomen believed that references to folk art and children’s drawing spoke a design language that would stimulate children’s imagination and inborn creative instincts. As Lux reasoned, artists “must see the world with the eyes of a child, naively, without presuppositions.”8 Likewise, progressive critics felt that the simple forms and reductive geometry of objects displayed in Art for the Child would plant adult principles of good design in the young. New feminist perspectives on the 1908 Kunstschau arise by analyzing artistic playthings designed by the Böhm school’s talented newcomers and the intellectual genealogy of these objects in the theories of free expression championed by secessionist educators. The 1908 Kunstschau was an ambitious exhibition of art, architecture, and design intended to introduce visitors to the concept of a coherent artistic style shaping all facets of everyday life: the so-called Zweckkunst that anti-secessionist critics like Seligmann deemed an impure cross-pollination of high and low art. Regarded as the zenith of the secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk, the landmark art show was organized by the Klimt group (including Klimt, Hoffmann, Böhm, Moser, and Čížek), the rebellious offspring breaking away from the Vienna Secession in 1905: a split, as seen previously, largely connected to the valorization of the decorative by the WW. Given their preoccupation with metaphorical and stylistic youthfulness, it is not surprising that Kunstschau organizers devoted unusual energy to supporting younger artists, among them self-styled enfant terrible Kokoschka and the Böhm school’s students. The works of Böhm’s students, displayed in room 29 of the Kunstschau as Art for the Child, ranged from graphic works and illustrated books, to carpets and tapestries, to artistic toys and children’s furnishings. Böhm school artists superimposed the lessons of children’s drawings onto Flächenkunst design principles to create artistic toys based in depictions of the adult world but reduced to their most abstract, stylistic essence, akin to the way children draw. Taking part in Art for the Child were Singer-Schinnerl, Pranke, Otten-Friedmann, Löw-Lazar, Podhajská, and Harlfinger-Zakucka, familiar to us from their role in secessionist Flächenkunst. Of utmost importance to developments in the coming chapters was

Harlfinger-Zakucka, an acclaimed Böhm school Mehrfachkünstlerin who founded the WFK in 1926, reclaiming the notion of decorative “women’s art” and a separate female aesthetic. Internalizing the Klimt group’s philosophies on Zweckkunst and the interpenetration of art, craft, and life after the 1908 and 1909 Kunstschauen, Harlfinger-Zakucka increasingly realized that she could not take on the stereotypes surrounding “women’s art” within the bounds of a traditional artists’ union. Like Klimt’s visions for the Kunstschau and the progressive Bund österreichischer Künstler (League of Austrian artists) he founded in 1912, Harlfinger-Zakucka wanted the WFK “not to function within the tired-out, conventional parameters of a league” but to organically unite “a small circle of women artists in all fields [of fine and applied art].”9 The WFK placed special emphasis on the Klimt group’s philosophies on Raumkunst (spatial art), the principle of spatial harmonization between art and its architectural surroundings in a unified stylistic program.10 Participation in the Kunstschau thus left a lasting impact on former WFA students and fanned the flames of divisions within the warring camps of interwar Austria’s so-called female Secession. The degree to which reviewers and the general public were willing to take lessons from traditional artistic outsiders like women and children unfolded in surprising ways. Critical reactions to Art for the Child revealed the discursive similarity of women’s and children’s art in the eyes of conservative and progressive critics alike; whether this affinity was praised or condemned indexed critics’ broader attitudes toward the secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk and the limits of women’s inclusion in this project. While even anti-secessionist commentators like Seligmann approved of reformist methods of teaching children, the application of child-based methods of education to professional artists’ training seemed grossly inappropriate. Ultimately the question of whether female designers’ stylization of childish aesthetics was valued or trivialized became a primary locus for attitudes toward the Klimt group’s valorization of decorative “women’s art.” Primitivism, Folk Art, and Artistic Toys Secessionist educational reforms provided inspiration for a new language of toy design looking to the primitive rawness and stylized awkwardness of children’s drawings and Bauernspielzeuge (peasant toys). Children’s drawings had been the subject of serious academic study by pedagogues and child psychologists throughout the nineteenth century, but it was only around 1900 that children’s art began to be emulated as a source of aesthetic value. It was not child psychologists but the avant-garde artists of the Klimt group who led the charge in reevaluating the aesthetic qualities of “the innocent eye” that nineteenth-century theorists had variously dismissed or not seriously considered. Although technically not the first to recognize the aesthetic qualities of children’s drawings, the Viennese artist, pedagogue, and secessionist Čížek, familiar to us from chapter 2, was “the first to offer an art class with the express purpose of providing children with


Kinderkunst and Frauenkunst


The Female Secession

creative liberty and the chance to work from their imagination.”11 Čížek’s celebration of the honesty and directness of what he termed “child art”—a unique stage of artistic expression that he believed followed its own rules—posited explicit links to the art of the “primitive”; it was precisely the primitive state of nature that Čížek and his secessionist colleagues so prized, as children were believed to be blessed with the same uncorrupted aesthetic vision associated with isolated, vernacular cultures. The secessionist discovery of child art was rooted in the nonprescriptive teaching methods espoused by Čížek, Böhm, and other secessionist educators.12 While studying at the ABKW in the mid-1880s, Čížek offered informal art classes to neighborhood children and became fascinated by the rhythmic, expressive qualities of children’s drawings that seemed to follow “eternal laws of form.”13 Čížek soon realized that children had more to teach him than the academy did, and he consequently began taking child art more seriously than his painting career. The enthusiasm of secessionist colleagues like Klimt, Hoffmann, Moser, and Myrbach for child art encouraged the pedagogue to publically register his celebrated Jugendkunstkursen (youth art classes), open to children aged four to fourteen, in 1897.14 Seeking to unlock the inborn creative drives he believed resided in every child, Čížek encouraged pupils to release inner experiences through drawing, painting, sculpture, and handcraft media like paper cutting, as discussed above. Like Böhm, Čížek did not interfere in children’s working processes or correct mistakes in proportion, perspective, or color since such “errors” were essential to children’s expressivity. Rather, he claimed to guide pupils to release internal images, untarnished by adult models, in whatever materials appealed to them.15 The course’s aim was patently nonvocational—to broadly nourish children’s imaginations without a specific professional trajectory—and it was popular among Klimt group patrons, like the Primavesi and Lederer families, who also supported the “Art for the Child” movement. The untutored art of children and that of “less civilized” prehistoric or ancient peoples were positively conflated in the minds of secessionist commentators. So enthused were Klimt and his contemporaries about the spontaneous authenticity of children’s drawings that they, according to Čížek’s assistant, almost found it unnecessary to “go back to the Chinese, Japanese, ancient Egyptians, and Negroes [when] here [in child art] was that which they sought.”16 Similarly, in reviewing the children’s drawings shown at the Hagenbund exhibition Kunst im Leben des Kindes (Art in the life of the child) (April–June 1902), Hevesi spoke of finding “the dark recesses of beginnings from which something like a proto-culture arises.”17 Drawing its title from the broader movement to instill aesthetic receptivity in young children, Art in the Life of the Child (a traveling exhibition organized by the German Book Trade Association in Leipzig) showcased artistic decorations for home and school, private collections of historical dolls, card games, furniture, contemporary children’s book illustration, and children’s drawings reflecting recent instructional reforms. Assessing the children’s drawings included as part of the latter category, Hevesi concluded that children’s art was like “Urkunst (primeval art), instinctive and unconscious.”18

Hevesi was not alone in pointing to the connections between the dawn of humankind and the dawn of each human life: commentators like Lux, a supporter of Böhm’s progressive teaching methods, and architect and cultural critic Loos also acknowledged such evolutionary parallels. Yet secessionist critics like Hevesi praised children’s art for precisely the same reason that Loos, the famous anti-secessionist opponent of ornament, censured it. Arguing that each child repeated developments that took humanity thousands of years, Loos insisted that drawing instruction should “help children to leave their primeval condition” not cultivate it.19 Loos’s views on children’s drawing are part and parcel of his broader critique of ornament and the applied-arts Gesamtkunstwerk. Indeed, given that he lumped women and children in the same discursive category as that of supposedly less civilized people due to their mutual propensity to ornamentation, Loos believed that the pretensions of secessionist toys in seeking to fuse Kunst and Handwerk only served to debase art rather than elevate craft.20 Hevesi’s sentiments on children’s drawings aptly summarize the primitive qualities Böhm school toymakers emulated in their designs. The critic found “many rather ‘modern’ characteristics” in children’s art.21 Not only did children exhibit a will to stylize, but, like contemporary artists, they preferred to draw from memory or imagination, reducing the natural world to essential details. Not necessarily accurate but emotionally expressive, child art rendered content above all, even depicting “visionary moments . . . like little X-rays.”22 The critic gave the example of a young girl’s drawing of her kindergarten in which she depicted her teacher without arms, which was logical, according to Hevesi, since the teacher did not work with her hands. As Lux stressed, children tended to see summarily or impressionistically, leaving out the unessential. Children’s manner of dealing with spatial perspective also exhibited a tendency for stylized abstraction, which “made the child into a little ancient Egyptian.”23 Handling the nose and the second eye and ear when drawing in profile tended to present children, like Egyptian artists, with similar problems. Rather than dismiss such incorrect representations, secessionist educators pointed to the spontaneity, integrity, and even monumentality with which such art was executed. To the adult eye, a child’s drawing of a promenading family may look stiff, rigid, and technically flawed, with frontal eyes in profile heads and other spatial distortions (fig. 20). Yet if the pedagogue had to defend the drawing’s artistic qualities to skeptical adults, he could declare: “Look at the strength of these figures. They are as monumental as the Sphinx, as powerful as figures in a bas-relief of Ancient Egypt. How characterized they are and what rhythm there is in spite of their stiffness.”24


Kinderkunst and Frauenkunst

20. Gertrude Brausewetter, Untitled, undated. From A Lecture by Professor Čižek (London: Children’s Art Exhibition Fund, 1921), 12. Photo: Harvard University Fine Arts Library, Digital Images and Slides Collection.


The Female Secession

21. Folk-art toys from the collection of Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska. From Der Wiener Kunstwanderer 2, no. 3 (1935): 7.

Secessionist artistic toys adopted the formal reduction and abstract stylization of child art while referencing the “sincere and honest” qualities contemporary ethnographers admired in folk art.25 Rejecting the fin de siècle oversaturation under the influence of secessionist “unlearning,” toy designers tapped two main sources for inspiration: children’s drawings and traditional turned-wood Bauernspielzeuge (particularly those produced in the Grödnertal in southern Tyrol and the Erzgebirge bordering Saxony and Bohemia). Such carved and turned wooden toys were collected by artists and pedagogues including Hoffmann, Dagobert Peche, Schiele, and Zweybrück-Prochaska. Zweybrück-Prochaska in particular amassed an extensive collection of international folk art toys—a collection based on the wooden toys that fascinated her as a child— including hand-carved chicken and doves (fig. 21). She displayed her toy collection in a hand-stenciled display cabinet, which grafts a sense of childlike naïveté onto the Central European tradition of brightly painted Bauernschränke (peasant cabinets).26 It is important to reiterate that ethnographic studies frequently conflated the work of women, children, and folk cultures, with positive appraisals of such linkages tending to reveal avant-garde critical stances.27 Valuing the connection between women, children, and vernacular culture, Čížek conceded that women’s intuition and “delicate emotions” made them particularly well-suited for early-childhood education.28 It was logical for secessionist professors to appreciate female art students as wellsprings of similarly untapped creativity—students who then in turn exploited their supposed psychic coidentity with children and folk cultures. Secessionist Mehrfachkünstlerinnen did not view the practice of toymaking as a frivolous or secondary pursuit. Curiously, even though better-known male artists, canonical “greats” like Hoffmann, Moser, and Peche, also made toys, secessionist playthings have, at least until quite recently, been relegated to design history’s waste bin or pigeonholed as “women’s work.”29 The situation was analogous at German design schools like the Bauhaus, both during its Weimar (1919–25) and Dessau (1925–32) periods, the former of which represented the peak of the school’s toy production as a complement to its initial focus on handcraft. Despite the fact the notable male teachers like Paul Klee (an enthusiast for children’s art, like fellow Bauhaus master Wassily Kandinsky) and Lyonel Feininger designed puppets, dolls, and other playthings, such toy designs have been “conspicuously and continually marginalized from their oeuvre.”30 Apparently, toymaking was more palatable to contemporaries and subsequent historians when practiced by female students like Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, best known for her 1923 Bauspiel-Schiff

(Ship building set), an interlocking twenty-two-piece building set that can be arranged in multiple configurations.31 Yet as curator Michelle Fisher rightly argues, “Toy design must be seen as part of an interdisciplinary practice”; for both male and female Bäuhausler, toymaking afforded the opportunity to wed practical design skills to the ludic experience of Vorkurs (preliminary course) pedagogy.32 Reflecting a similar interdisciplinary spirit as the Bauhaus, the Vienna secessionists revived a preindustrial model of toy production whereby finely crafted playthings were handmade by skilled artisans. Karl Gröber encapsulates this preindustrial production model in his landmark cultural history of toys, in which he claims toy production belonged to the greater output of master craftsmen. As Walter Benjamin put it in his review of Gröber, this was a time when “one found carved wooden animals at the turner’s, tin soldiers at the tin and copper founder’s . . . , [and] wax dolls at the candle maker’s.33 The nostalgia shared by Gröber and secessionist artists for the preindustrial “golden age” of Central European toys must be weighed against contemporary perceptions of toymaking (and children’s book illustration, as seen previously) as particularly suitable for women. In the words of the Studio correspondent and pro-secessionist critic Amelia Levetus, toymaking was “essentially suited to women, for they better understand child nature than men; they are nearer to them in thought, and sympathize with them in a way that men rarely do.”34 Since “one who does not understand children could hardly turn his thoughts in the direction of toymaking and invading the children’s domain,” Levetus continued, “by employing women-designers possessing the necessary qualities, much good could be achieved and the field of toymaking greatly enlarged.”35 Appropriating the gender-specific ideology into which they were slotted, Böhm school artist-craftswomen subverted the idea of toys as minor side pursuits through their conscientious mode of working and devoted themselves to studying appropriately “primitive” models with the utmost seriousness. Carved wooden toys from the Grödnertal and Erzgebirge provided formal and conceptual inspiration for secessionist toymakers. Woodcarving had flourished in these regions as sources of supplemental income since the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and they were the main areas of production for Nuremberger Wares (playthings) sold in the imperial capital. Peasant craftsmen originally sold their carved goods at seasonal markets or peddled them in rucksacks. By the nineteenth century, a vigorous cottage industry system developed whereby so-called Verleger (literally, merchants who “put out” production orders, but best understood as toy wholesalers) coordinated distribution and marketed the cheap toys to mass markets via illustrated catalogues and sample books. The crudeness of the forms admired by the secessionists partially resulted from the pressure on the exploited rural manufacturers to produce higher output for lower wages in the face of competition from mechanized factory production. Increasingly specialized methods of production and simple technologies such as the turning lathe were introduced to speed up manufacture. Above all, it was the stylized


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The Female Secession

22. Linocut of Bauernspielzeuge (peasant toys) from the collection of Josef Hoffmann, undated. Princeton University Library, Cotsen Children’s Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

anonymity and crude distortion of form brought about by lathe-turning methods that fascinated secessionist toymakers. Secessionists critics praised the simplicity and supposedly childlike innocence of handmade vernacular objects—for instance, the turned-wooden Puppe mit Wickelkind (Doll with infant) from the collection of Hoffmann—for their potential to nurture the creativity of children and adult artists. Like Zweybrück-Prochaska, Hoffmann acquired a large collection of peasant toys and displayed them in a cabinet in his office at the WW for students and coworkers to study. As Lux declared in praise of vernacular prototypes, “For centuries, our mountain villagers have produced cheap toys, which the people carve themselves from wood, according to their innocent, childish perceptions: Bauernspielzeuge.”36 Linocuts of the hand-turned figurines show them as crudely, even imperfectly formed, only summarily describing the mother and child and market scene they represent (fig. 22). Lux claimed that city-dwellers might nonchalantly dismiss such objects, saying, “There is nothing to them.” Yet therein, he argued, lies the charm; such simple objects created by peasants were conceived “with the eyes of a child.”37 Just as the very young recorded details of the world around them in summary or in impressionistic ways, peasant toys had simple forms that were merely shorthand for objects and characters to be animated by the child’s imagination. Secessionist toymakers like Zweybrück-Prochaska concurred with Lux, admitting that her modernist toys were born “out of the spirit” of the vernacular and emulated their “abstract, symbolic” qualities.38 Leisching, who organized important exhibitions of modernist and traditional toys in his capacity as director of the Brünn/Brno Museum of Applied Arts, shared similar attitudes and praised women as commanding “a particular calling” for toymaking.39 Leisching observed that “everywhere the truly artistic trajectory in modern toymaking is focused on simplification” for such honest forms could teach children much more about the world than the “brilliant mechanism of an automatic machine.”40 Even Berlin-based art historian Paul Hildebrandt, who generally prioritized accuracy in miniaturization, conceded that traditional wooden toys “have something personal, individual about them, and there are such wonderfully worked figures that one might almost know their creators.”41 Pedagogical reformers believed that the simplified and even imperfect shapes of artistic toys encouraged children’s creativity because they merely suggested relationships to the real world of things. Unlike commercially produced miniatures replicating the adult world in painstaking detail, artistic toys let the children and not the toy do the

playing. Intricate technological toys or mechanical “living dolls”—those that groomed middle-class boys for technical careers and prepared girls to be mothers and domestic managers before letting them grow as individuals—were believed to be harmful for dampening children’s fantastical and creative impulses.42 The true value of a plaything was, to quote Lux, “not what it is, but what it could become in a child’s hands.” 43 In the “perfect world” of technological miniatures, then, the only possibility for creative self-activity was destructive—“to destroy, in order to build it up again.”44 Lux’s fixation on children’s impulses to destroy elaborate mechanical miniatures was not unique. Reform toy proponents in the journal Kind und Kunst repeatedly pointed to this tendency, as well as how the invented toys of peasant children (inanimate objects such as blocks of wood that could become anything in their hands) were infinitely better than the elaborate playthings of the rich; ironically, it was the parents of these privileged children who owned secessionist art and subscribed to “Art for the Child.”45 Ranking as secessionist Vienna’s most acclaimed toymakers were Böhm school classmates Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská, familiar to us for their contributions to Ver Sacrum, Die Fläche, and the WW’s December 1905 Galerie Miethke exhibition. Informed by the primitivizing currents of folk art and children’s drawings, Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská experimented with woodcarving and lathe-turning techniques to produce stylized versions of traditional Bauernspielzeuge, devoting the same exactitude to play figurines as to painting or furniture design. To Böhm school Mehrfachkünstlerinnen like these artists, toymaking was hardly a secondary pursuit but exemplified the secessionist credo that art, architecture, and design should form a harmonious aesthetic environment. Harlfinger-Zakucka’s toys were constructed of simplified rounded shapes turned at the spindle lathe with minimal addition of limbs, much like traditional prototypes. For her so-called Viennese types, she often employed the typical “bowling pin” shape that, according to Leisching, “children’s eyes loved” (fig. 23).46 In emulating the stiff awkwardness and formal simplification celebrated in child art, Leisching believed that Harlfinger-Zakucka’s figurines assumed a childlike visual perspective suitable for her playthings’ intended users. Harlfinger-Zakucka could have very well studied the children’s drawings shown at the Hagenbund or at the Čížek school’s regular exhibitions. Her turned and painted figurines recall the stylized exaggerations and formal simplifications of children’s drawings (see fig. 20), while depicting fashionably dressed ladies, gentleman, children, governesses, and a bishop. The style evokes the simple fashions of the Biedermeier era, the period stretching from the Vienna Congress (1814/15) until the 1848 revolutions. Closely associated with high culture, middle-class domesticity, and family life, the Biedermeier period possessed deep cultural relevance to the secessionists, who looked to the formal simplifications of its fashions, furniture, and accessories as “an earlier manifestation” of a distinctly Austrian variant of modernism.47 The artist’s proclivity for formal reductionism and stylized distortion is also evident in the figurines loosely inspired by elaborate Spanish baroque dress associated with the sixteenth- to


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The Female Secession

23. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, artistic toys, ca. 1908. From Obrázkový Vzorník Hořických Hraček (Hořice: 1909), n.p. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka. 24. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, artistic toys, ca. 1906. From The Studio 38, no. 159 (1906): 217. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

seventeenth-century Habsburg Golden Age, a period of artistic cultural efflorescence when the Spanish Habsburgs presided over a global empire (fig. 24). Despite these historical references, the artist again filtered historical costume elements—the doublets, leggings, and starched collars—through a humorous, childlike eye, omitting nonessential details and reducing the figurines’ bodies to comical ovoid shapes. The handling of the figurines’ facial features shows her preference for a simplified, childlike manner of expression in the button eyes and rounded pink cheeks derived from traditional prototypes (see fig. 22). Harlfinger-Zakucka’s childlike visual references can be best observed in photographs of toys now preserved in a private collection. A Spanish courtier shows the artist’s preference for formal reductionism that lends a humorous note to the stiff court costume (color plate 15). Like the child artists who omitted nonessential pictorial information, Harlfinger-Zakucka reduced the shape of her figure to its essentials, greatly exaggerating the broad swell of the dark cloak over spindly legs. Her figurines, including the rococo pair similar to those perched atop her Kunstschau cabinet, are far from being anatomically correct yet render court dress with a seemingly naïve simplicity of expression (color plate 17). Referencing the way that traditional turned-wooden toys were made from as few pieces as possible, Harlfinger-Zakucka omitted the hands and arms as distracting from the figure’s evocative mood (cf. figs. 21 and 22). Indeed, with its childlike manner of depicting a furrowed brow, the figurine seems mysteriously, if not humorously, suggestive of courtly intrigue or mischief despite its minimal markings. A similar trend toward extreme formal simplification and humor can be seen in Harlfinger-Zakucka’s take on the trope of the “Turk” figurine, a stock character traditionally manufactured in toymaking centers as a functional decorative object (color plate 16). In light of the historical relationship between the Ottoman Turks and the Habsburgs—wherein the Habsburgs represented the Western world’s easternmost bulwark against the Ottoman infidels and defeated them in a momentous victory at the 1683 siege of Vienna—such caricatures of Turks would have been charged with meaning for Austrian audiences. They conveyed similar sorts of racial stereotypes as caricatured figurines of blacks in the United States, which were often produced in the form of toys or mechanical devices like banks that could be animated with jerky, puppet-like motions.48 Traditional nineteenth-century versions, like the Turk candleholders and incense-burners produced in the Seiffen region of the Erzgebirge, featured

stereotypical attributes like the pipe, turban, and moustache; despite the formal simplification of the construction, the figures often demonstrate sophisticated painting and decorative use of gold leaf. Compared to traditional models, however, the formal simplicity of Harlfinger-Zakucka’s figurines is more extreme and left out limbs entirely, suggesting hands only through painted decoration. This minimalism recalled children’s drawings but was atypical of traditional models. All three Turk figurines were constructed from the same generically turned forms, but each was personalized through detailed painted decoration. As Levetus observes of the artist’s working process: “She paints each figure herself, no two of them being alike, and delights in her work.”49 A tendency toward abstraction and humorous stylized distortion is even more exaggerated in the figurines of Marianne Roller, sister of set designer for the court opera Alfred Roller (KGS director, 1909–34) and handcraft instructor at the League for Women’s Employment in Brünn. In her take on a traditional market scene, the bodies of the market shopper and vendor have been reduced to crude conical abstractions, stiff and inanimate, which ostensibly tasked much to the child’s imagination to bring such figures to life. An emphasis on idiosyncratic form marked the toy designs of Harlfinger-Zakucka’s colleague Podhajská, who became one of interwar Czechoslovakia’s most celebrated toy designers and pedagogues.50 Translating the design language of her graphic work into three dimensions, Podhajská favored stylized zoological and fantasy creatures, including the Krampus figure (a folkloric character who punished naughty children before Christmas), a roaring lion, pigs, a camel, and strutting flamingos (fig. 25). Regarding such toys’ stylized manes, fur, and feathers, one reviewer jested, “They seem proud of their coiffures . . . and rightly so.”51 In comparison to the generalized bowling pin shapes favored by Harlfinger-Zakucka and Roller, Podhajská’s toy designs were marked by a daintiness of construction and unusually intricate use of traditional turning methods. Whereas painted decoration lent the generalized shapes of Harlfinger-Zakucka’s figurines their individual character, the originality of Podhajská’s toys was rooted in the figurines’ delicate construction and unique formal qualities, such as the elongated legs of the flamingos and the stylized manes of the lions. While Harlfinger-Zakucka took inspiration from traditional figurines (similar to those influencing Zweybrück-Prochaska, Harlfinger-Zakucka, and others), she used the turning lathe to produce visual effects atypical of cottage industry prototypes. While it was not uncommon for folk artists to glue pieces to turned bases, the formal complexity and delicacy of Podhajská’s attached limbs differed from traditional models, which were generally constructed in a time-saving, economical manner. Like the lion’s mouth,


Kinderkunst and Frauenkunst

25. Minka Podhajská, artistic toys, ca. 1906. From The Studio 38, no. 159 (1906): 217.


The Female Secession

elements of her figurines could often be moved or manipulated with strings. While it was unlikely that “Fräulein Podhajská never decides what she is going to make till the lathe has done its work,” as Levetus would have us believe, her working process was guided by the formal possibilities of the lathe-turning technique.52 The same year as the Kunstschau, artistic toy deigns by Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská began to be produced commercially at the Hořice Spielwarengenossenschaft (toy cooperative) in northeastern Bohemia. The association founded by Czech pedagogue and designer Jan Kyselo (1870–1923) was unique in uniting industry, design, and reformist pedagogy.53 Artists and designers from the Prague-based Artěl, an art and design union similar to the WW of which Podhajská was a founding member, cooperated with Viennese artists to manufacture toys according to traditional technologies. Whereas nineteenth-century toy catalogues were based on wide selection, the Hořice cooperative produced fewer models, but each one bore the stamp of its respective designer. Sales catalogues trumpeted the value of their trademarked designs in awakening children’s imagination; “hořice toys are not commercial junk, they are artistic products.”54 Interestingly, while Artěl members touted the products as speaking a particularly Czech language of design, such claims ultimately say more about fin de siècle cultural nationalism than the designs themselves.55 In spite of relatively low prices and international marketing, the cooperative could not compete with mainstream products and folded after World War I. Artistic toys like those produced by the Hořice workshops were not universally well-received within the “Art for the Child” movement. Anti-secessionist commentators believed that alternative toys stymied children’s aesthetic appreciation because the playthings’ stylistic distortions and exaggerations introduced children to “incorrect,” even contrived, forms of expression. Hildebrandt, for instance, believed that toys should play crucial roles as a sort of Kleinplastik (miniature sculpture), stimulating feelings of aesthetic appreciation in youngsters. But was it not presumptuous, Hildebrandt pleaded, to assume that children’s aesthetic preferences were as primitive as adult artists imagined? He worried: We must be wary against nothing greater than the affected imitation of children’s creative fantasy, which forms the simplest block into a man, animal, bench, or house. Such imitation on the part of adults is equally unbearable to children as when one imitates their awkward childish speech. . . . The child wants to imitate . . . , but if the adult gives the child a doll or horse which is to some extent made according to childish models . . . , it could easily come to pass that the artist could be found more preposterous than the toy, a situation which we want to avoid.56 Hildebrandt’s concerns about artistic toys’ primitive simplicity—an aesthetic he believed spoke less to children’s authentic preferences than adult artists’ juvenile

tendencies—relates to the historiographical debate surrounding the discovery of secessionist child art.57 Indeed, not all children’s drawings were classified as child art in the primitive way that the Klimt group imagined, showing how the critical category of child art was more of a discursive invention reflecting the Klimt group’s own aesthetic sensibilities than a category of characteristics universally inherent in children’s drawings. Čížek openly admitted his preference for the naïve, supposedly uninfluenced pupil and believed that creativity flourished in inverse proportion to the socioeconomic status of a child’s family. The very children who owned the secessionist toys examined in this chapter were those, according to Čížek, most in danger of losing contact to their untainted inner expressivity. However, in weighing the question of whether grown-up designers should be unlearning from children—or whether children should be learning from grown-ups—both secessionist and anti-secessionist critics necessarily fell short of representing children’s authentic perspectives, a central problem facing scholars working in childhood studies even today.58 Defining childhood as a state of legal, economic, and physical dependency, with children unable to generate sources to tell their own histories, presents fundamental challenges to those seeking to unlock children’s experiences and perspectives. Therefore, in the absence of written evidence documenting children’s reactions to secessionist toys, the limits of both secessionist and anti-secessionist critics in speaking for children’s aesthetic preferences must be acknowledged. Such complexities of child-centered pedagogy notwithstanding, the analysis to follow shows how critical positions toward female students’ emulation of the childlike indexed broader critical attitudes on the Kunstschau’s Gesamtkunstwerk philosophy. Art for the Child Showcasing works from more than 170 artists in a sprawling complex of fifty-four rooms, the Kunstschau 1908 was the highpoint of the secessionist project of unifying art and craft in a harmonious, architectural environment; it featured sections for painting, sculpture, graphic and poster art, architecture, garden and landscape art, theater art, and funerary art. Diverse installations strove to eradicate the traditional hierarchy of the arts, with monumental painting and sculpture at the top and the so-called Kleinkünste (minor arts) at the bottom. Female artists and designers numbered around one third of Kunstschau exhibitors, a statistic lending support to Julie Johnson’s arguments on the Klimt group’s inclusive attitudes toward women.59 Equalizing all genres in service of the beautification of utility, the Kunstschau’s Gesamtkunstwerk philosophy applied as much to traditional painting and sculpture as the decorative art predominating the show. As the anti-liberal Christian Socialist Reichspost observed, “It is noteworthy that the canvas plays a relatively small role.”60 Prominently positioned were displays of art by and for children in rooms 4 and 29, respectively housing Čížek’s Art of the Child and Böhm’s Art for the Child shows.


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The Female Secession

Encouraging visitors to recapture the aesthetic objectivity of childhood, the Kunstschau’s room 4 showcased the Čížek school’s torn paper collages on the theme of a festive parade, similar to those illustrated in Čížek’s paper-cutting manual. Klimt declared in his opening remarks that the Kunstschau did not represent a traditional artists’ union but that its adherents were dedicated to rethinking the very definition of “art” and “artist” to include youthful creators and a supportive community of collectors and connoisseurs. 61 Arguing that the “Ideal Community of All Those Who Create and Enjoy Art” gained its power precisely through the youth or the youthful outlook of its members, Klimt revealed the Kunstschau organizers’ metaphorical attraction to childhood.62 Hevesi’s review compared the Klimt group’s split from the Secession to the behavior of a rebellious child, embodying “a revolutionary art against dead commandments that feeds on insubordination, fierceness, and causing and suffering vexation.”63 Moreover, this naughty offspring was thought to exemplify “a reverberation of the enthusiasm that once animated the Secession.”64 Allusions to the Kunstschau’s youthful, spontaneous attitude were more than rhetorical flourishes. Lux underlined how the Kunstschau pursued its mission of educating visitors to bring “the arts to a harmonious co-operation with life’s tasks” not in a “schoolmasterly” way but in a creative fashion, emphasizing that its organizers encouraged talented female newcomers.65 As Hevesi observed, “The Klimt group gathers, surrounded by their [male and female] students from the Kunstgewerbeschule. . . . At one table sat the new blood, at the other the old blood. . . . Teacher and student shared with each other freely what was in their hearts. Details were discussed, advice was given, examples were brought forth, technical tips were shared. Someone joked that even the adults are still young.”66 That even adults could still be young artistically was a principle that Böhm school students exploited to its fullest in shaping the Kunstschau’s didactic philosophy toward children. Featuring, as Levetus put it, “everything to delight a child and arouse his artistic sensibility,” Art for the Child represented the collaborative efforts of twenty-five Böhm students (fig. 26). Of these, many became well-known WW designers and contributed to the artists’ postcard series, like Singer-Schinnerl, Pranke, Otten-Friedmann, and Löw-Lazar.67 Hevesi compared Böhm to a “Rübezahl surrounded by his brave gnomes . . . mostly of the female sex.”68 Here, the critic alluded to the popular Central European folklore character Rübezahl, king of the Riesengebirge gnomes, who appeared in protean forms and engaged in mischievous pranks and tricks with humans. That Hevesi’s review made reference to fairy tales was hardly accidental but related to the ways in which secessionist critics often assumed a seemingly naïve, childlike voice when reviewing artistic toy exhibitions. Hevesi stressed the independence of the Böhm school, pointing out that artists like Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská (whose graphic work had been reproduced in Ver Sacrum and Die Fläche as early as 1902) had already garnered formidable international reputations. Still, even progressive critics like Hevesi and Lux, known for their support of women artists, were not immune from wielding


Kinderkunst and Frauenkunst

26. Böhm school, Art for the Child at the 1908 Kunstschau, room 29. From Moderne Bauformen 7 (1908): 384.

infantilizing, sexist metaphors. Despite their professional reputations, Böhm schoolers were still gnomes with a master; this sort of backhanded compliment stressed the women’s creative vitality and ability to tap into the authenticity of childhood even as it patronizingly likened them to children (despite their ages ranging from the late twenties to the mid-thirties). Setting the tone for the room was the colorful, wooden frieze Improvised Parade that bordered the ceiling, depicting fairy-tale characters, animals, and imagined monsters (figs. 26–27). Collaboratively designed and executed by Böhm school students, the frieze was “the crown of the variegated lots in this children’s paradise . . . contributed to by all the ladies from A to Z,” as Karl Kuzmany, Viennese correspondent for Die Kunst für Alle, joked in reference to the “A–Z” of early childhood education: a witticism not without strong sexist undercurrents.69 The frieze was painted using boldly contrasting, discordant Flächenkunst patterns designed to excite children’s imaginations. Like the invented toys reformers praised, the task of composing narratives to link the figures in the frieze were left to children, who could begin or end their invented stories at any point in the room. Hevesi commented on the spontaneity with which the Böhm school created the work, as reflected in its title: “within the space of only four days,” the Böhm school designed, cut out, and painted it “in a highly playful manner.”70 This emphasis on spontaneous creation relates not only to Čížek’s teaching methods but to the Kunstschau’s emphasis on contemporaneity: the pavilion was built and curated with remarkable speed to reflect the very latest artistic developments. Art for the Child presented visitors with a colorful “overfilled children’s paradise of toys” designed to stimulate creativity while promoting adult principles of modernist


The Female Secession

27. Böhm school, Improvisierter Festzug (Improvised parade) for Art for the Child. Painted wooden frieze. From Moderne Bauformen 7 (1908): 384. 28. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, children’s nursery suite for Art for the Child with her decorative panneau, Madonna. From Studio Yearbook of Decorative Art 1909 (London: Studio, 1909), 8. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

design in the art and furnishings for children.71 The gallery’s polka-dot wall covering served as a lively backdrop for needlework, book illustrations, artistic toys, and dollhouses, whose forms were “all derived from the triangle, square, and circle.”72 Kuzmany readily admitted, “There is truly no shortage of highly amusing inventions.”73 Primitivist wooden toys and games were showcased throughout the room and in display cases, in addition to a puppet theater by Löw-Lazar, children’s picture books by Pranke, and hand-embroidered nursery linens by Otten-Friedmann. The toys included an inventive painted wooden chess set designed by Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská and executed

by the WW in 1906, whose turned pieces were adorned in a primitivizing fashion in bold primary colors (color plate 18). The set, purchased by WW patrons Otto and Eugenie Primavesi for their daughter Melitta, combined aspects of each artist’s toy designs: Podhajská’s fondness for animals and Harlfinger-Zakucka’s sense of nostalgic fantasy. The set’s stylized horses were hardly the sort of anatomically accurate figurines that Hildebrandt advocated (color plate 1). But to those appreciating a supposedly childlike visual perspective, the deliberate distortions (particularly the awkward positioning of the horse’s lanky legs) and strong color combinations lent the knight pieces a sense of explosive energy. Likewise, the stylized queens were rendered in generalized forms characteristic of children’s drawing, or at least of the way the Klimt group imagined primitive child art (color plate 19). Simultaneously, however, the set integrated Flächenkunst design principles via its geometry and the WW Gitterwerk pattern via the borders of the painted clothing, which referenced both historical costume and secessionist reform dress. Further childish references were the contrasting polka-dot pattern painted on the bases and the simple, dreamlike rendering of turrets and onion domes on the rook pieces (color plate 18). Harlfinger-Zakucka’s reformist nursery suite, bristling with rectilinear and round shapes, formed the centerpiece of Art for the Child’s rear wall (fig. 28). Executed by Viennese cabinetmaker J. Peyfuss, the maple cabinet-on-stand and chairs feature ebonized turned-wood spindles and stretchers with mother-of-pearl and ebony inlays, set in an interlocking pattern of circular and almond shapes, with nickel and bronze details. Like other examples of secessionist furniture, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s designs for the nursery suite exploited the dialogue between constructive and decorative elements. What made Harlfinger-Zakucka’s design language distinctive was the manner in which she introduced the diagonal into otherwise rectilinear shapes—for instance, in the obtuse angling of the back spindles, the construction of the cross stretchers, and the cabinet’s trapezoidal shape. Such playful deviations from strict rectilinearity in combination with the dialogue between the polka-dot wall covering and the rectangle-patterned carpet ingeniously reference its setting in a nursery for the modern creative child. Just as the unusual diagonals are restrained by straight lines, supervised playtime in the reformist nursery encouraged creative play and imaginative fantasy within certain adult bounds. The trapezoidal form of the cabinet-on-stand maximized space for displaying artistic toys and suggested that Harlfinger-Zakucka regarded her figurines as small sculptures for children—and possibly adults as well. The artist’s design sketches indicate that the toys were not merely adult collector items, as she corrected earlier sketches in which she placed the side shelves out of children’s reach. Like the stiff but lively wooden toys on display (like a rococo couple similar to the pair in color plate 17), the nursery was designed to stimulate children’s creativity and artistic sensibility. Harlfinger-Zakucka’s unusual design language invited touch, play, and movement, particularly through the device of the unusual wooden spindles. Creating a busy, overfilled children’s paradise


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29. Josef Hoffmann, Haus Moll in the Hohe Warte Villenkolonie. From Das Interieur 4 (1903): 123. 30. Josef Hoffmann, service staircase, Haus Hennenberg in the Hohe Warte Villenkolonie. From Das Interieur 4 (1903): 131.

influenced by modernist child-centered pedagogy (under the assumption that adults ultimately knew what was best for children), Harlfinger-Zakucka’s nursery suite exemplifies how modernist designers sought to create a childlike visual aesthetic intended to express the experience of childhood rather than the miniaturized versions of adult furniture characteristic of prior eras. Of all the works displayed, it was the elaborate secessionist dollhouse of Magda Mautner von Markhof (sister of Ditha Moser) that best embodied the progressive pedagogical philosophies (and gender and class tensions) underlying the “Art for the Child” movement (color plates 20–22). Like the Rübezahl fables, the dollhouse presented viewers with visual tricks, raising questions on the degree to which the movement’s seemingly contradictory premises—the privileging of a childlike visual perspective and the inculcation of children’s appreciation of secessionist design—could actually be in harmony. On the surface, Mautner von Markhof’s dollhouse reflected the epitome of the Kunstschau’s ideology of functional beauty in miniature. Its exterior and interior contained clear references to Hoffmann’s building projects on the Hohe Warte, a garden city and artists’ colony on the outskirts of Vienna. The play villa’s architectural style, in particular the gabling, large bay windows, landscaping, and terrace, quoted the Hohe Warte’s recently completed Haus Moll (fig. 29). Nods toward the rectilinear geometricity of early WW design are omnipresent in the interior, which makes use of Hoffmann’s trademark square pattern as a decorative ceiling border and the WW’s stylized rose

logo as wallpaper. In comparing images of the dollhouse’s black- and-white checkered staircase and the one in Haus Hennenberg, it is easy to confuse which one is real and which one is en miniature (cf. color plate 22 and fig. 30). The same applies to the dollhouse’s formal dining room, painted to suggest paneled marble and black, pickled-oak furniture, which seems to have been loosely inspired by the dining room in the Palais Stoclet (color plate 21). Here we see an artifice similar to that railed against by critics of the lifelike doll: deceptive imitations of nature may dazzle the child but, equally, will eventually bore the child.74 Contemporary critics were not sure what to make of the dollhouse’s references to Hoffmann and the Werkstätte. Hevesi gently poked fun at the completeness of its interiors, declaring that modern dolls were so demanding that only residences furnished “right down to the last little piece of furniture and . . . even complete with garden[s]” would satisfy them: “A wealthy, modernist doll who has recently married can hardly wish for a more comfortable or more intelligent home. Ready to move in immediately; I believe only the bed and table linens need to be embroidered.”75 Kuzmany read the dollhouse as a caricature of modernist interior design, a humorous effort to plant aesthetic appreciation of everyday objects in young children. Like Rübezahl’s legendary interactions with humans, which were ridden with pranks but generally benevolent, Mautner von Markhof’s dollhouse was driven by reformist impulses. Its form was outwardly modernist, and its design placed minimal emphasis on conditioning girls for the future roles of housewives. Totally absent from the dollhouse were elaborate miniature domestic gadgets, described in Hildebrandt’s Das Spielzeug im Leben des Kindes (The toy in the life of the child), which would instill motherly and housewifely duties in girls. Moreover, unlike most high-art dollhouses, none of the play villa’s interior spaces were clearly defined as a particular model room. The simple geometric furniture was largely interchangeable among all of the rooms, permitting the child to redecorate at will and suggesting that there was room for a child’s fantasy. If Mautner von Markhof’s dollhouse promoted any future vocation, it was that of a Klimtian Lebenskünstlerin (connoisseur), a member of the “Ideal Community of All Those Who Create and Enjoy Art” who appreciated modernist art and design in her daily life. Yet like similar dollhouses from previous centuries reviewed in Kind und Kunst, its perfect, self-contained design, which replicated the secessionist worldview in miniature, differed little from that of the mass-produced toys that reformers so ridiculed; it was the opposite of the abstract toy only animated by the child’s imagination. Surely, one reviewer reasoned, children would prefer a “normal doll” over ornate dolls and doll mansions that could be touched only under close supervision.76 In this regard, while not precluding the possibility that children might have taken genuine delight in its miniature allure, Mautner von Markhof’s secessionist dollhouse seems to revert back to the function of the very earliest doll cabinets, typically commissioned by adult collectors to depict their own residence as worthy of inclusion in the Kunstkammer (collector’s cabinet) in miniature.77


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Through such visual riddles, the gendered nexus between women and children and between the adult and the childlike laid bare critics’ appraisals of the Kunstschau’s philosophy of functional beauty and attitudes toward art education. Following Hildebrandt, anti-secessionist commentators polemicized against sophisticated affectations of folk art, shedding doubt on whether children, presumably the intended recipients of the toys, would understand these visual messages. Other critics alleged that the entire exhibition was curated according to the potential salability of the displayed objects, amounting to little more than an applied-arts warehouse.78 Particularly important to the story of interwar Austria’s female Secession, Seligmann renewed his standing criticism of secessionist Zweckkunst, bristling against the Böhm school’s expressionistic currents first present at the December 1905 Galerie Miethke exhibition. The critic attacked the Klimt group’s low standards and how artistic toys and Art for the Child blurred the boundaries between the practical, the aesthetic, and the decorative. The result, Seligmann insinuated, was a dismal failure, nothing more than fashionable, decorative baubles swollen up by pretentious artistic ideas—precisely the sort of artistic rubbish he believed lesser talents like women were prey to copy. “Apparently,” he wrote, “it was the idea of the exhibition’s organizers not to offer an exhibition of art works, but rather an exhibition of all possible things that can be made in artistic ways, from artistic standpoints . . . [including] picture books for children and decorative symbolism for grown-ups, sometimes even ‘only for grown-ups,’” referencing the risqué content of Kokoschka’s Dreaming Youths.79 In Seligmann’s critique, an indexical relationship emerges in his attitudes toward primitivism, Zweckkunst, and art education. Though acknowledging the “astounding success of [Čížek’s] instructional methods” for teaching the very young, Seligmann remained as skeptical as Hildebrandt about the idea of professional art students taking lessons from children, let alone the issue of whether children would grasp female toymakers’ “violent stylization of the simple and folkish.”80 While progressive critics like Lux praised the connection of children’s art to folk art—with “the childhood of nations and the childhood of art repeating atavistically in every human life”—Seligmann harnessed children’s art to trample on the primitivizing impulse in modernist art and design.81 Seligmann maintained that “the similarity of these pictures to the products of our artistically naive, archaizing painters and interior artists [Raumkünstler] proves nothing for such works’ actual artistic value but shows, at most, how childish are the works of many grown-ups who want to be taken seriously nowadays.”82 Short of mentioning his colleague by name, the implication was that Böhm’s radically permissive pedagogical methods amounted to little more than supervised child’s play, furthering female dilettantism in the most negative sense and contriving, as intimated in his Galerie Miethke criticism, a falsely primitive aesthetic that flaunted the rules of academicism. The secessionist dollhouse, chess set, and artistic nursery epitomized, to Seligmann, the fundamental errors of secessionist Zweckkunst, which amounted to nothing more than a fashionable trend. The moderate secessionist critic

Kuzmany assumed a similar position as Seligmann. Though pointing to the pedagogical value of Čížek’s methods, Kuzmany argued that the “artistic value” of Čížek’s students’ work “is to be sharply differentiated from their pedagogical value,” and he likewise found little lasting value in the “female handicrafts.”83 Lux, a supporter of Böhm’s progressive teaching methods, took a more positive attitude toward Art for the Child but nonetheless declaimed the limits of women’s inclusion in the secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk. In an extended review in Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, Lux praised “art at the source of life” as representing the same sort of pure, naive impulses of folk art showcased in ethnographic museums.84 Consistent with secessionist attitudes toward positive dilettantism, Lux applauded Čížek for “preserv[ing] the primordial . . . artist, mostly suffocated in the schools,” not to further specific vocational purposes but to heighten general levels of artistic taste and appreciation in the populace at large.85 Lux conveyed a message similar to Leisching, who, writing earlier in Kind und Kunst, likened art making to an experimental form of play and vice versa.86 Lux proceeded to argue that this project of cultivating the artist in every child—even those not wanting to practice art vocationally—and promoting the beautification of everyday life was fulfilled in a most exemplary fashion by Böhm and his pupils. Böhm was rather like Čížek in prioritizing his students’ work over his own and pouring his creative energies into teaching. Both women and children, Lux insisted, precisely because of their exclusion from the larger art world and their lack of training, had a certain “inexpressible something” reflecting “pure self-expression” that no amount of formal education could trump.87 It is in such a light that we must interpret Lux’s conflation of the Böhm and Čížek schools: “I would like to term these artistically minded girls as working amateurs, who are in a similar, if also more developed, phase of studies as the child whose primitive calling to art has been shown so comprehensively and convincingly by Čížek.”88 Viewed through the lens of mainstream artistic values, it is tempting to dismiss Lux’s portrayal of the Böhm school as an infantilization of female artists relating to broader misogynistic currents in secessionist Vienna. But the alternative value system of the Klimt group, a circle in which childhood held potent meanings, casts Lux’s portrayal of the Böhm school as “working amateurs” in an altogether more positive light (despite reflecting a similarly patronizing attitude as Hevesi’s and Kuzmany’s references to early childhood education). That is, in order to understand Lux’s appraisal of these “working amateurs,” the reader must appreciate it as a progressive inversion of the specter of dilettantism clouding women artists’ professional ambitions. Perceptions of the Böhm school’s status as amateurs related to the reasons for their “discovery” by secessionist professors and how, among the progressive artists, critics, and patrons of the secessionist Künstlerschaft, the boundaries between male and female, professional and amateur, and minor and monumental artistic practices were remarkably porous. We can now return to the questions posed at the beginning of this chapter. Were the Vienna moderns willing to concede that not only children but female art students


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had lessons to teach the male secessionists? Let us venture, by way of conclusion, to Klimt’s Stammtisch (regular table) at the Café Museum in 1896, a full twelve years before the Kunstschau, as tensions were rising between the Klimt group and the conservative artists’ guild. In thumbing through folders of children’s drawings with table companions Otto Wagner, Josef Olbrich, Moser, and Myrbach, Klimt abruptly declared, “Gentleman, let’s give up painting. The children do it much better!”89 Playing on the group’s pariah status, Klimt’s lighthearted joke reveals the seriousness of the Viennese avant-garde’s interest in a form of authentic expression untainted by the stagnation that Klimt and his followers believed asphyxiated the adjacent Künstlerhaus and academy. Equally important to the manner in which the Klimt group’s discovery of children’s art paralleled formal developments in their own work was a broader metaphor of cultural renewal—in this regard, the Kunstschau’s artistic toys were hardly child’s play. Yet even as the Klimt group took inclusive attitudes toward reevaluating the work of outsiders like women and children, the realization that female art students had lessons to teach the male secessionists was a concession that only the most progressive critics and artists were willing to make. At precisely a time when women artists and designers were penetrating male artistic institutions in unprecedented numbers, a stress on female difference and women’s psychologically primitive state represented a convenient method of neutralizing their threat to the gendered hierarchy of art and craft, as I argue in the chapters to follow. Indeed, such tensions were not unique to secessionist Vienna but permeated the German art world as well, which witnessed a similar “backlash against the Art Nouveau apotheosis of the decorative” in the period after 1908.90 Ironically, the art of children received more attention than the artistic toys crafted by female art students, both from contemporary commentators and in the subsequent historiographical literature. This situation is slowly beginning to change through exhibitions like the 2012 Century of the Child at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) or the 2016 Cubism, Constructivism, Form Art at the Belvedere, both of which highlighted avant-garde toy production. The fact that many reviews glossed over Art for the Child altogether reveals that artistic toys were still not as important to critics or the general public as works on canvas. But Klimt found artistic toys like those designed by Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská important enough to include on his 1912 portrait of Mäda Primavesi, the strong-willed daughter of WW patrons Otto and Eugenia Primavesi (who purchased the Podhajská/Harlfinger-Zakucka chess set for Mäda’s younger sister) (color plate 23). What is striking about the work—Klimt’s only commissioned portrait of a child—is the unusual preciosity of the subject and the playful ornamentalism of the childlike dreamscape surrounding her. Mäda straddles a white carpet strewn with childish playthings like models of fish, birds, and other whimsical animals with an uncanny resemblance to Podhajská’s figurines that Klimt would have seen at the Kunstschau. The flamingos below the left edge of Mäda’s skirt and the squat animal directly above them recall the models (cf. fig. 25, far right); similar formal affinities are apparent between a Podhajská

quail figurine published in the January 1906 edition of Kind und Kunst and the fantastical winged animals below the right side of Mäda’s skirt. According to interviews with the sitter, the playthings were the product of the artist’s imagination: no real toys were used as models, and it was Klimt—not the child—who decided to include them.91 Klimt’s depiction of Mäda separates her from the material world of childhood surrounding her, making the painting “neither an adult nor child portrait.”92 At Klimt’s instigation, Mäda was portrayed in an iridescent, white lawn dress accented with wired flowers and beads, commissioned from his lifelong companion, the reform-dressmaker Emilie Flöge.93 Klimt captures the child’s self-assured forthrightness, her gaze unswervingly meeting the viewer as she assumes a characteristic pose—shoving her left arm behind her back, with her elbow jutting out. But her dress, pose, expression, and position at the very edge of the picture plane signal Mäda’s psychological distance from the adult fantasy of childhood around her. Klimt’s painting brings together key themes in female art students’ involvement in the secessionist Art for the Child exhibition. Childhood held powerful and multivalent meanings for Kunstschau organizers, meanings that informed the design of the handcrafted artistic toys surrounding Mäda, a longtime Čížek student. The Klimt group believed that children were blessed with uncorrupted aesthetic vision, a characteristic they shared with the vernacular culture of primitive peoples and possibly women as well. What was telling about critical reactions to Art for the Child was the discursive similarity of children’s art and women’s art in the eyes of both progressive and conservative critics. Whereas progressive critics tended to prize the primitive rawness of children’s art and the deliberate stylization in artistic toys, conservative critics feared such qualities precisely because they undermined the institutional structure of academic training through which male artists had progressed over the centuries. The undermining of proper academic training and the traditional hierarchy of the arts created a larger threat. Suddenly, traditional artistic outsiders—female art students and Čížek’s young pupils—had become insiders, a situation that deeply troubled observers like Seligmann who questioned the appropriateness of cultivating “childish” impulses over proper adult models. In his landmark history of toys, Gröber observes that the realm of child’s play was a world that could never be fully comprehended by adults, writing how “an adult’s fantasy . . . cannot begin to follow the richness of the tales hidden behind the heart of every child.”94 At the Kunstschau 1908, the opposite was true. Critics questioned whether such sophisticated toys were even meant for children in the first place. Rather, it was the fantasy of adults that took free rein in using raw material to stimulate children’s creativity. Insofar as artistic toys successfully fulfilled modern pedagogical principles of creative play, the rest was left to children’s imagination. The Klimt group’s philosophies profoundly impacted a younger generation of women artists taking part in the 1908 Kunstschau. Typically, Kokoschka and Schiele have been


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portrayed as torchbearers of the Klimt group’s philosophies of artistic freedom into the post-secessionist, expressionistic phase of Viennese modernism commencing after 1908. Like Kokoschka’s sinuous body painting for his expressionist drama Murderer, Hope of Women, this so-called Neukunst (new art, i.e., expressionism) was thought to cut through the façade of feminine ornament to reveal a rawer, more direct inner truth.95 Expressionist protagonists believed that the Klimt group’s Gesamtkunstwerk ideology feminized art’s high calling at the expense of decorative superficiality. Ironically, even as they praised the spontaneity and primitive rawness of male genius, such critics used women’s connections to primitivism to exclude them from the cerebral intensity and raw emotionalism associated with the “birth” of Austrian expressionism. The idea that the sources of “domestic” primitivism tapped by female toymakers actually presaged those currents exploding so forcefully in 1909 hardly jibes with the cherished historiographical myth that “oedipal odysseys are entrance criteria for card-carrying Expressionists.”96 Long-simmering male anxieties about women’s penetration of artistic institutions and the fluidity between the fine and applied arts—rife in the critical fallout surrounding the 1908 Kunstschau—provoked the founding of a separate women’s artist league in 1910: the Association of Austrian Women Artists. But soon fault lines would emerge between the association’s conservatives and radicals, who rallied around Harlfinger-Zakucka and other Kunstschau participants and continued to embrace the Klimt group’s core philosophies and the provocative idea of a separate feminine aesthetic. Boldly declaring that “we are of the opinion that works from women’s hands bear the stamp of their female origins in and of themselves,” Harlfinger-Zakucka’s WFK turned the mirror on critics who trivialized female artistic practices. It is to these rising tensions in Vienna’s female Secession that we now turn our attention.

The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics “Crafty Women” and the Interwar Feminization of the Applied Arts

To prefer ornamentation is to put oneself on the level of the Red Indian. But we must seek to overcome the Red Indian within us. The Indian says, “This woman is beautiful because she has gold rings in her nose and ears!” The culturally advanced person says, “This woman is beautiful because she has no rings in her nose and ears.” —Adolf loos, 1898


I cannot let what has been said for Beethoven’s works apply to girls making paper boxes . . . the applied arts, as practiced in many circles, is a substitute for craft and a substitute for art, an unhealthy and hermaphroditic creature. —hAns tIetze, 1920 Klimt prophesized that his comrades would part ways after the 1908 Kunstschau.1 Focused less on Zweckkunst than contemporary painting, the next year’s Internationale Kunstschau marked the Klimt group’s last major undertaking and was a crucial breakthrough for a younger generation of expressionists rejecting the decorative aestheticism of the secessionist Gesamtkunstwerk ideal. Most notoriously, Kokoschka, whom Hevesi likened to the “chief wild man” of 1908’s “chamber of savages,” premiered his expressionist drama, Murderer, Hope of Women, an archetypal battle of the sexes portraying the perennial antitheses between male and female, love and violence, and creation and destruction.2 Informed by the incised tattooing of Polynesian masks in Vienna’s Ethnographic Museum, Kokoschka painted sinews, nerves, and tendons onto scantily clad actors.3 In opposition to Murderer’s misogynistic violence, Klimt’s painting Hope II (1907)—a quiet image of an expectant mother whose protruding belly is covered by



The Female Secession

a protective ornamental fill of gold and crimson ellipses—also debuted at the 1909 Kunstschau, expressing the Klimt group’s continued faith in the regenerative powers of women and youth. Yet with its emphasis on painting over decorative art, the 1909 Internationale Kunstschau marked “an explosive reassertion of painting as the medium of instinctual truth.”4 The younger generation’s decisive rejection of the decorative façade and insistence on the supremacy of easel painting amounted to nothing less than a concerted effort by the practitioners and critics of Austrian expressionism to establish clearer boundaries between masculine and feminine artistic practices, the fine and applied arts, and psychic interiority and decorative superficiality.5 This chapter reveals how the leading protagonists of expressionist painting represented the most outspoken opponents of the field of Viennese expressionist ceramics: a crucial flashpoint when Viennese modernism turned on its decorative, feminized roots. The post-1908 antidecorative backlash constituted a reaction against the Klimt group’s valorization of feminine decoration and the anxieties surrounding the increased presence of women artists in secessionist Vienna’s mainstream institutional landscape, particularly a new breed of Kunstgewerbeweiber, trained at the WFA/KGS around the time of the 1908 Kunstschau, who generated as much controversy for their primitivizing design influences as for flouting social conventions through their masculine forms of self-presentation. Unlike the more gender-neutral Kunstgewerblerin (artist-craftswoman), the term Kunstgewerbeweib (literally, artist-craftswoman), was a somewhat pejorative appellation using the archaic Weib (woman) to emphasize the base femaleness of its referents. I prefer to translate Kunstgewerbeweib as “crafty woman” to emphasize the connotative dissonance surrounding the conceptual fields of woman and artist and specifically to show how these craftswomen’s claims to high art entailed a sort of “crafty”—that is, calculated—scheming in the eyes of antidecorative critics. The term was used by antidecorative critics to imply that interwar Austria’s applied-arts scene had become regrettably feminized through its predominately female practitioners. Large numbers of these artist-craftswomen joined the WW during World War I to create decorative objects conveying an expressive Formwille (will-to-form) beyond the objects’ ostensible functions; the artists generated bold experimentations in the expressive possibilities of handcraft aspiring to the pure aestheticism of easel painting. Much like the fictionalized character “Elisabeth” in Joseph Roth’s Emperor’s Tomb—the third novel of a trilogy chronicling the rise and postwar demise of a military dynasty loyal to the Habsburgs—in no uncertain terms did the Kunstgewerbeweib and her expressive handcrafts threaten clear-cut notions of gender and sexual difference as expressed in art. According to the critic Tietze, who championed the idea that contemporary art and design should reflect a new spirit of sociodemocratic responsibility, expressive handcrafts were neither masculine nor feminine, neither art nor craft, but “an unhealthy hermaphroditic phenomenon.”6 Following the revisionism of Simmons, who connects the rise of expressionist psychological interiority to male anxieties about women’s penetration of public art

institutions, and feminist art historians, who investigate the decorative sources of abstract painting, I argue that the post-1908 category of the decorative—which took shape in an interwar ornamental style dominated by “feminine” whimsy, playfulness, and child-art primitivism—was not supplemental but constitutive to the birth of expressionism in the applied arts.7 Spotlighting the postwar explosion of expressionist ceramics, this chapter moves thematically through lesser-known interwar exhibitions of the applied arts, investigating how the sources of child art discovered by artist-designers like Harlfinger-Zakucka at the 1908 Kunstschau presaged those exploited by male expressionists at the 1909 Kunstschau. The notion that the primitivist vision of non-Austrian artists like Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin decisively influenced the 1909 expressionist breakthrough—the critical moment when, according to Schorske and his followers, a younger generation of expressionists cut through the façade of feminine ornament touted by their mentors to reveal an inner psychological truth—remains firmly rooted in the scholarly imagination.8 A series of recent exhibitions has reified this standard interpretation that, as Patrick Werkner puts it, “Van Gogh and Gauguin . . . became the artistic forefathers of the young Austrian painters who . . . broke with the orthodoxy of Viennese Jugendstil.”9 The unwittingly paternal role of Van Gogh and Gauguin as sources for the child- and folk-art influences in the work of leading Austrian expressionists reflects the desire of male expressionists to veil their decorative roots through mythologized encounters with the “other.” It also points to an even greater historiographical challenge. The unfolding of the history of art has consistently been formulated as a patrilineal genealogy of transmission or rebellion between successive male generations. To insert the idea of foremothers (or what Lisa Tickner calls a “matrilineal artistic heritage”10) into these established modes of transmission focused on father-son struggles has proven difficult, if not impossible, for art historians, critics, and artists themselves. As Johnson puts it: “The Secessionists . . . never figured themselves as wrestling with or being heirs to mothers.”11 Expressionist ceramics have been written out of the history of Viennese modernism due to the distinctly unheroic medium of earthenware, a material associated with quotidian domestic usage. Its practitioners, however, drew inspiration from metaphorical notions of childhood in their rebellious attitude to ceramic tradition and liberated themselves from the medium’s historical emphasis on technical mastery. Expressionist ceramics emphasized unlearning of virtuoso ceramic technique in favor of creative spontaneity, inner expressivity, and an intuitive approach to the material. In self-reflexively conveying the maker’s excitement about process through form and color, such expressive ceramic vessels paralleled the emotional intensity of a Kokoschka or Schiele canvas, and they even, in foregrounding surface decoration as a riposte to the post-1908 antidecorative backlash, matched the performative posturing typical of expressionist artists.12 I use the term “feminine vessels” to describe the Viennese expressionist ceramics in order to stress how contemporary critics viewed the field in terms of a feminine


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The Female Secession

aesthetic defined by its predominately female practitioners, the overwhelming majority of whom studied with secessionist educators at the WFA or the KGS (or both) and joined Harlfinger-Zakucka’s feminist collective. Featuring roughly modeled, unevenly glazed, and brightly painted ceramic vessels and figures, expressionist ceramics revealed an excitement about the spontaneity of making while wielding a “rococo primitive” design language: ornamental forms and figural subject matter juxtaposing the overly civilized femininity of the rococo with the formal distortions and rough-hewn aesthetic of the primitive. Of particular attention to critics were the unusual Frauenköpfe (women’s heads) created by WFA graduate Wieselthier, who operated the acclaimed Vally Wieselthier Ceramics Workshops (1922–27) before becoming head of the WW’s ceramics department (1927–28) and mentoring female pupils (color plate 24). Drawing on a long tradition of ceramic caricature while eschewing the potter’s typical concern for smooth surfaces, Wieselthier’s hollow, low-fired heads were thrown at the wheel, much like a vase or pot, in a process that itself satirized women’s long-standing connection to domestic pottery.13 Featuring a bold use of visible cosmetics, the heads were notable for their formal asymmetries and imperfections, with faces painted so as to look deliberately “made up” in a childlike fashion. Yet widespread anxiety surrounded the Kunstgewerbeweib’s hermaphroditic proclivities to elevate female “craftiness” into the realm of male expressionism. Similar to reviewers who collapsed participants in Art for the Child with stereotypes of female dilettantism, critics likened the field of expressionist ceramics to a form of crafty seduction that, despite flirting with expressive content, ultimately collapsed back into the decorative.14 Around the new field of expressionist ceramics, two opposing critical camps drew rank: one (led by pro-WW critics like Eisler, Steinmetz, and Rochowanski) embraced the possibility of individuality in the applied arts and the expressive use of ornament; the other (including Loos, Roeßler, Weiser, and Tietze) inveighed against the applied arts’ supposed feminization in favor of greater rationality, functionality, and sobriety in everyday objects. In the spirit of the interdisciplinary “turn to the object”—a movement applying similar methods of theoretical and formal analysis routinely applied to painting and sculpture to objects whose material status has precluded them from study—this chapter frames Viennese expressionist ceramics as sites of feminist resistance against emerging modernist discourses on women’s impure decorative aesthetics. If, as Loos argued, “to view decoration as an advantage is to stand at the level of the Red Indian,” then expressionist ceramics’ female progenitors willingly exploited such linkages to explore the expressive possibilities of surface decoration.15 Feminine Vessels: Viennese Expressionist Ceramics A new generation of artist-craftswomen trained in the Mehrfachkünstlerin ideal pioneered the postwar explosion of expressionist ceramics. Informed by the Klimt group’s

attitudes toward individual expressivity and artistic rebellion, the work of Wieselthier, Singer-Schinnerl, Hertha Bucher (1898–1960), and Baudisch explored the expressive possibilities of the decorative surface in a self-consciously feminine style. These “feminine vessels” contained a similar boundary-defying potential to the work of other female modernists that did not adhere to the Greenbergian definition of modernism—for instance, that of Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944), whose frilly, feminine style might have appeared anything but controversial but was loaded with pointed social criticism.16 Indeed, while divided on the question of expressionism in the applied arts, critics agreed that “the female element” defined a movement reacting against the modernist prohibition of ornament in a design language privileging color, ornamentalism, and the decorative.17 Encompassing both functional objects and figural sculpture, these feminine vessels were characterized by formal irregularity and asymmetry, spontaneous processes of design and application of brightly colored glazes, and tension between form and exuberant surface decoration conveying inner experiences, emotional states, or sensory impressions like movement, as exemplified by Wieselthier’s fruit dish (color plate 25). Expressionist ceramics’ use of willful, playful, and dynamic surface decoration, in addition to the predominance of contemporary and mythological female subjects and themes, elicited critical allusions to a neo-rococo aesthetic in which, as one antidecorative critic observed, “Woman was unfailingly and exclusively the goal of all activity.”18 But such inflections of the rococo were filtered through a primitivizing, childlike eye rooted in the unlearning that guided Art for the Child. As another reviewer described the self-consciously feminine attitude toward the material eschewing the potter’s typical concern for smooth finish and polished form: “Free voluptuous handling is the acknowledged specialty of the new Viennese ceramics. The connection to the formal language of the rococo is not coincidental, for they share the same uninhibited, playful sensuous spirit.”19 Expressionist ceramics’ cultivation of surface embellishment and playful rococo themes destabilized the discursive formula by which antidecorative critics positioned ceramic sculpture as superficial playthings executed in a medium beneath the dignity of serious materials like marble or bronze. Representative of this trivializing formulation are the sentiments of architect and functionalist critic Weiser: “That it is female hands who create these amiable playthings, just as almost all ceramics in Vienna comes from women, takes the sting off such artistic production.”20 Expressionist ceramics, with pretensions to pure artistic expression on a par with painting or sculpture but not without strong satirical or humorous elements, threated to shatter decorative femininity—as theorized by antidecorative critics like Loos, Roeßler, and Weiser—as a negative against which male artists sustained their dominance. Coinciding with the launch of the WW’s in-house ceramics workshops (1917–30), expressionist ceramics debuted to the public at the WW’s 1917 Christmas exhibition. A reviewer for the Viennese daily Neue Freie Presse observed, “A group of young artists . . . have achieved something astonishing: nothing schoolish holds back their work; they


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have developed a uniqueness of their own.”21 The reviewer alluded to the movement’s roots in the self-expressive teaching methods of the WFA and KGS faculty. Adherents were students of secessionist professors like Böhm, Hoffmann, Moser, Friedrich, and potter Michael Powolny, cofounder (with Berthold Löffler) of the Wiener Keramik manufactory in 1906, whose products were sold in WW showrooms and used for important commissions like the Cabaret Fledermaus and Palais Stoclet. Indeed, with the exception of Graz-native Baudisch, who studied with Wilhelm Gösser and Hans Adametz at Graz’s Federal Institute for Architecture and Applied Art from 1922 to 1926, the overwhelming majority of WW ceramicists studied at the WFA, the KGS, or both (as noted in parentheses) and, with the exception of Schaschl, all joined Harlfinger-Zakucka’s radical feminist collective, the WFK: Bucher (KGS 1911–19); Charlotte (Lotte) Calm (1897–? / KGS 1914–18); Jesser-Schmid (KFM 1910–12; KGS 1912–17); Erna Kopriva (1894–1984 / KGS 1914–19); Dina Kuhn (1891–? / KGS 1912–18); Grete Neuwalder-Breuer (1891–1942 / KGS 1914–19); Kitty Rix (unknown); Reni Schaschl (1895–1979 / KGS 1912–16); Singer-Schinnerl (KFM 1909–15); Hedwig Schmidl (1899–? / KGS 1905–12); and Wieselthier (KFM 1912–14; KGS 1914–18/20). The younger generation of female ceramicists rejected their mentors’ formal and stylistic principles. Largely responsible for the secessionist renaissance of ceramic figuration, a tradition rooted in figurines produced by the Wiener Porzellanmanufaktur (Viennese porcelain manufactory) during the rococo and neoclassical eras, Powolny is best known for his allegorical putti and crinoline figures, like those shown at the 1908 Kunstschau.22 With his emphasis on smooth surfaces, meticulous glazing, and careful modeling, Powolny’s mold-made ceramic figures were more conventional than innovative despite the modernist stylization apparent in his reductionist color schemes or treatment of floral garlands (reminiscent of Klimtian ornamental fills). In contrast, interwar expressionist ceramics were modeled by the artist at the wheel in combination with hand-forming techniques like pinching and coiling. The expressionists rejected Powolny’s emphasis on technical perfection to emphasize the tactile qualities of the clay, the glazes’ spontaneous fluidity (often left to dribble over vessels’ surfaces), and formal imperfections like finger marks that announced the process of making. A critical venue for expressionist ceramics was the WW’s Künstlerische Werkstätte (KW, Artists’ workshops). Opening in 1916 and equipped with their own kiln and wheels, the KW constituted an overwhelmingly female space in which an atmosphere of informal collegiality, creative exchange, and female collectivity prevailed.23 Pro-WW critic Eisler described the KW’s purpose as “bringing fresh young talent into the firm and allowing them the possibility of training hand and phantasy.”24 Wieselthier remembered that her colleagues shared “a huge studio, each one of us got a key for himself and we had all the workshops imaginable to our free use. We also had the best-trained foreman and workers and all of the time and material we desired.”25 Attracting droves of female art students during the war, the KW offered “talented beginners,” as Wieselthier recalled, the chance

to experiment with unconventional materials and techniques.26 KW artists enjoyed the freedom to determine their schedules and projects, and they earned commission for the unique works they designed and executed, as well as for models made for serial production. Characterized by free exchange and collaboration in a female-dominated environment (given male colleagues’ wartime service), the KW’s experimental, creative atmosphere contributed to the formation of a collective feminine and feminist aesthetic among members. As noted by Austrian pop artist Kiki Kogelnik when rediscovering expressionist ceramics in the 1980s, the KW represented a space that was less about individual authorship but operated on a nonhierarchical collective model alien to conventional notions of the solitary, isolated genius.27 Such inclinations toward collaboration and collectivity—prefiguring developments in the better-known feminist collectives of the 1970s—elucidate the shared forms, glazes, and themes, particularly featuring mythological and contemporary female figures, among KW ceramicists. The KW’s experimental approach, in which members experimented with the use of expressionist and cubist decorative motifs, represented a direct outgrowth of the self-expressive rhetoric of secessionist educators like Hoffmann, Böhm, and particularly Čížek. The creative attitudes guiding the interwar Werkstätte overlapped with the principles of the kineticist movement associated with Čížek’s ornamental studies class (1917–24) at the KGS, notable for its “seething laboratory atmosphere.”28 Like Böhm, Čížek applied permissive, child-based methods to the training of professional designers, using guided exercises similar to Itten’s in the Bauhaus’s preliminary course, in what contemporaries likened to “a state school for expressionism.”29 Synthesizing formal developments in expressionism, cubism, and futurism, the predominantly female practitioners of kineticism visualized inner experiences, indefinable emotional states, and sensory impressions like movement through abstract, ornamental forms. As art historian Rae DiCicco argues, the historiographical neglect of this avant-garde movement is due to an enduring double standard in which creative appropriation and synthesis is gendered as feminine and derivative while innovation is gendered as masculine and original.30 The spiritual philosophies of kineticism found a direct continuation in the unorthodox methods associated with the WW Kunstgewerbeweib, as is particularly pronounced in the dynamic, ornamental language of ceramicists like Bucher, who studied with Čížek. Moved by the art of the primitive more than that of the Old Masters, the KW Kunstgewerbeweib drew fire for her rebellious attitude toward handcraft technique. Much like Elisabeth in Roth’s The Emperor’s Tomb (the wife of the scion of the von Trotta military dynasty who designed “anything . . . carpets, shawls, ties, rings, bracelets, lights, lampshades”), the Kunstgewerbeweib banked on her multitalented versatility.31 Her inexhaustible creative effervescence not only reflected secessionist Mehrfachkünstler/in idealism but constituted a crucial intervention against notions of female dilettantism in that the dilettante’s supposed half-knowledge and flippancy between multiple fields were reclaimed as positive attributes. The most prolific WW ceramicists were renowned


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics

31. Photographs of Maria Likarz-Strauss, Gudrun Baudisch, Vally Wieselthier, and Mathilde Flögl. From DKD 62, no. 9 (1928): 201.

for their intermedial versatility in painted glass, textiles, embroidery, jewelry-making, metalwork, enamelwork, and fashion. Jesser-Schmid, WFK member and one of the WW’s most versatile designers, admitted: “I make designs for lace, embroidery, printed textiles and tapestries, decoration for engraved and painted glass, porcelain, leatherwear, and applied graphics, engage in ceramic work and paint armoires, wooden boxes, and coffers according to my own designs.”32 Such variety in production would have been far less likely from artists of Blau-Lang’s generation, who were eager to distance themselves from “amateurish” female handcrafts and dilettantism. The Kunstgewerbeweib rarely employed precious materials due to wartime shortages but preferred easily workable, inexpensive materials such as paper, wood, glass, and earthenware in which she wielded a “loose, casual technique . . . working when she was moved to capture capricious ideas.”33 While the predilection for inexpensive materials reflected an atmosphere of postwar privation, as Kallir insists, it was also rooted in secessionist educators’ revival of unconventional materials and techniques.34 Sparking debate throughout the interwar period was how the Kunstgewerbeweib sought to fuse utility with the representation of transcendent artistic ideas: practices that challenged craft’s subordinate, second-class status within modernist value systems.35 Part of the controversy surrounding the WW Kunstgewerbeweib related to her unconventional and allegedly unfeminine lifestyle: her proclivity for, as Marianne Leisching (a KW coworker during the 1920s) remembered, “drinking, smoking, and having as many sexual experiences as possible.”36 Such unconventional sociocultural practices paralleled her contamination of the male preserve of fine art with domestic female handcraft. When the fictional protagonist of the Emperor’s Tomb returns from the eastern front after World War I, he is shocked to find that his estranged wife, with newly bobbed hair and clad in a mannish shirt and tie, has traded managing the household for designing outlandish yellow and orange furniture in her newly minted studio, the Atelier Elisabeth von Trotta. Compounding this meltdown of normative sociocultural and artistic values was Elisabeth’s affair with her applied-arts mentor, Jolanth Szatmary, an outspoken craftswoman attracted to African

art; this fictional character was loosely modeled on Wieselthier, who was known for her fiery personality and sexual permissiveness.37 Elisabeth’s unconventional behavior and appearance found its counterpart in publicity photographs of actual WW artist-designers, who, with the exception of their carefully painted faces, presented themselves in a fashionably masculine-cum-boyish manner, with requisite Bubikopf (bob) hairstyles (fig. 31). In no uncertain terms did the Kunstgewerbeweib figure to the general public as a desexed hermaphrodite, tainting handcraft with her pretentious, self-consciously feminine efforts and experimental techniques that seemed to reduce art making to childish scribbles. Wieselthier perhaps best characterized the unconventional working methods and lifestyle of the interwar artist-craftswoman. She was the most acclaimed practitioner of Viennese expressionist ceramics; contemporary critics like Hofmann (editor of the popular journal Österreichische Kunst from 1931 to 1938) called her “the strongest and most original” of her colleagues.38 Daughter of Jewish court attorney Wilhelm Wieselthier and Rosa Winkler, Wieselthier had a privileged upbringing that typified the WW Kunstgewerbeweib, which she strongly sought to shed via smoking, drinking, and affairs with partners of both sexes.39 In autobiographical texts, Wieselthier fashioned herself as a spirited nonconformist who rejected conventional roles, such as that “a girl has to get married and all that,” in order to seize on the masculine habits satirized in Roth’s portrayal of Elisabeth, including a preference for male attire and a rejection of the Viennese tradition of hand-kissing (a social nicety expected of gentlemen to ladies).40 Excelling at swimming, diving, skiing, tennis, and hockey while making poor marks in school, Wieselthier remembered “scribbling everywhere . . . as soon as I could hold a pencil.”41 The encouragement of a drawing teacher convinced her to follow her ambition to attend art school in defiance of her parents who were eager for their daughter to marry. After a prolonged two-year feud, Wieselthier’s parents allowed her to enroll at the WFA from 1912 to 1914, where she studied with Friedrich, and subsequently at the KGS from 1914 to 1918, where she pursued further studies with Hoffmann, Moser, and Čížek (she stayed on from 1918 to 1920 as a special guest auditor with Powolny after receiving her diploma). Much like her WFA classmate Singer-Schinnerl, it was after Wieselthier’s recruitment for the KW in 1917 that Hoffmann discovered her ability in ceramic sculpture. The artist recalled one afternoon at the KW, when “I got by chance a lump of clay” and spontaneously modeled a figure, and Hoffmann declared that “now at last I know that Vally is a sculptor.”42 Only then did Wieselthier pursue formal studies in ceramics with Powolny at the KGS while continuing work at the KW. Nonetheless, Wieselthier always retained what Edmund de Waal refers to as an “outsider” mentality to the medium enlivened by “liberation from expectation or technical knowledge.”43 That the likes of Wieselthier, Singer-Schinnerl, and Jesser-Schmid all had no training in ceramics before joining the KW in 1917 suggests that Hoffmann curated a carefully studied childlike naïveté among KW members. The likelihood of such a possibility is confirmed by Singer-Schinnerl’s


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32. Figurines in the WW sales catalogue, 1928. Left to right: Model K-335 (Kitty Rix), K-327 (Kitty Rix), K-329 (Gudrun Baudisch). MAK— Austrian Museum for Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna. Photo © MAK.

confession that Hoffmann sought out “playfulness and humor” for the KW and by the way the WW marketed this “naiveté” in its 1928 sales catalogue with Rix’s and Baudisch’s figurines (fig. 32).44 Singer-Schinnerl admitted that she “had never ‘studied’ ceramics formally or even had the soft clay under her fingers” and was recruited by Hoffmann for the KW as an “experiment” of sorts.45 While Bucher progressed thorough formal training, having studied from 1915 to 1919 in Powolny’s ceramics workshop during her seven years at the KGS, the artist emulated a similarly raw aesthetic via her study of vernacular folk pottery (Bauernkeramik) from the Salzkammergut region. This evidence of the cultivation of a collective childlike aesthetic among the KW’s talented beginners suggests that the Kunstgewerbeweib’s raw aesthetic was not the expression of an essentialized feminine essence but was informed by the avant-garde fashionability of folk- and child-art primitivism. A direct outgrowth of secessionist educators’ instructive permissiveness, the KW’s experimental atmosphere fostered an intuitive approach to the medium. Wieselthier, the movement’s main theoretical spokesperson, detailed her working process: “I place absolutely no weight on achieving a smooth, uniform surface but mix the glaze in all possible nuances and let the fire reign.”46 What critics described as a “free, voluptuous handling” that embraced the unpredictability of glazing and firing resulted in a design language bristling with excitement about making. Dismissing attempts to design ceramics on paper, Wieselthier privileged a process based on similar principles of spontaneity associated with the creative child. As she explained: “Only when I feel what can be formed at the wheel can I design a form. . . . [W]hat I can form with my fingers from clay will never be bad, because the material tells me what I am allowed to do.”47 The artist believed a ceramic form, whether a life-size figure or vessel, “must always grow out of the material, i.e. it must be made in the same manner as the pot, hollow inside, worked from within to the outside, not modeled in the round from the lump.”48 Wieselthier shunned mold forming and modeling in the round, which limited clay’s expressive possibilities, favoring the hollow molding method characteristic of the Viennese school. Such principles of production lent ceramics the possibility of possessing, in her own words, a “value even apart from their purpose,” a value that could be as powerful as that of a “grand sculpture.”49 The status of the decorative arts was hotly debated in criticism surrounding the MfKI’s 1919/20 winter exhibition and the 1920 Kunstschau, famously called “a commemoration of the dead [Klimt, Moser, Schiele, Lendecke, and Metzner] and a celebration of the living.”50 The 1920 Kunstschau provided a panoramic overview of contemporary art and craft and, as in 1908, it was predominated by Werkstätte Zweckkunst. Expressionist

ceramics—as represented by Felice Rix (1893–1967), Kuhn, Wieselthier, Schaschl, Schmidl, Kopriva, Neuwalder-Breuer, Jesser-Schmid, Singer-Schinnerl, Bucher, Trude Weinberger, and Mathilde Flögl (1893–1950)—took center stage. Lending credence to Kogelnik’s observations on a collective feminist aesthetic, the ceramics treated similar themes and subject matter (primarily mythological female figures) while privileging a raw, seemingly untutored aesthetic. The creative interchange between KW members is apparent in the formal dialogue between Kuhn’s and Wieselthier’s life-size bacchante figures (figs. 33–34): in the hand-coiled hair and drapery, contrapposto poses, and stylized facial features. By virtue of their size, mythological narrative, and lack of function, such ceramic sculpture aspired to fine-art status despite their construction at the wheel in the manner of vessels. Likewise debuting at the 1920 Kunstschau were the so-called Frauenköpfe (women’s heads), a distinct form of expressionist ceramics that parodied the tropes of decorative femininity wielded by misogynist critics, including women’s supposed penchants for vanity, superficiality, and face painting. Wieselthier’s biographer Marianne Hussl-Hörmann argues that a predilection for subject matter featuring “strong women” from history, mythology, and religion may have symbolized the “self-assertiveness and freedom” of the heads’ creators.51 Kopriva, Schmidl, Neuwalder-Breuer, Schaschl, and Singer-Schinnerl showed no fewer than eight Frauenköpfe at the exhibition. The earthenware heads were notable for their conspicuous use of enameled paint suggesting heavily applied cosmetics, a type of surface decoration figuring the ways in which makeup had become “a medium of self-expression in a consumer society where identity had become a purchasable style.”52 As detailed below, the decorative Frauenköpfe not only related to the ways in which cosmetics emerged as a lightning rod for broader conflicts over women’s societal roles but mocked misogynist critics who collapsed “women’s art” with face painting. In addition to large collections of figural ceramics by Wieselthier and Singer-Schinnerl, the 1920 Kunstschau featured artistic toys, painted and etched glassware, enamelwork, embroidery, painted furniture, and reverse-glass painted by other Böhm school Mehrfachkünstlerinnen such as Jesser-Schmid, Likarz-Strauss, Löw-Lazar, and Otten-Friedmann. Much like the


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics

33. Vally Wieselthier, Figur mit zwei Vögeln (Figure with two birds), 1920. Glazed earthenware. Exhibited at the 1920 Kunstschau. From DKD 47, no. 12 (1920): 100. 34. Dina Kuhn, Bacchante, 1920. Glazed earthenware. Exhibited at the 1920 Kunstschau. From DKD 47, no. 12 (1920): 100.


The Female Secession

ceramic Frauenköpfe, the glass- and enamelwork was characterized by an experimental, boundary-defying character refuting handcraft’s alleged inferiority vis-à-vis the “fine” arts, a tendency particularly pronounced in the series of large-scale enamel panels, both figural and abstract, made by Otten-Friedmann and other KW collaborators.53 Broached by such ceramic sculpture, the central issue for critics was, to quote Tietze, whether “the applied arts is a phenomenon that stands on equal terms next to high art, only differentiated through materials and technique, or a perverse connection of art and industry, neither one nor the other in essence.”54 Given the gravity of the postwar socioeconomic crisis, reviewers remained polarized. Through his role as cofounder of Vienna’s Gesellschaft zur Förderung moderner Kunst (Society for the advancement of modern art) in 1923, which held public lectures and exhibitions, Tietze was known as a critical leading protagonist for interwar contemporary art. He felt that such an art should reflect a new postwar spirit of social democracy in opposition to the elitism he associated with past styles and movements. But despite his enthusiasm for expressionist painting, Tietze was far less generous toward the idea of expressionism in the applied arts, particularly during the immediate aftermath of the war. Assessing the 1920 Kunstschau, Tietze found the WW’s lighthearted “ornamental soap bubbles” to be the products of an “unhealthy hothouse environment,” divorced from the social spirit of the present.55 Here, not unlike the 1970s feminist art movement (largely representing the interests of privileged white women), it is important to acknowledge that Wieselthier and her colleagues operated from an advantaged class position that, in part, enabled their commitment to radical feminist handcraft. But to Tietze, the idea of nonfunctional, autonomous handcrafts trumped even the decadence of the fin de siècle sentiment of l’art pour l’art and bespoke a broader crisis in Austrian art; he considered the entire exhibition of the 1920 Kunstschau as a blasphemous black sabbath that worshipped the ghosts of the past rather than looked to the future. The exhibition’s playful neo-rococo ornamentalism, Tietze insinuated, only created a new horror vacui, “as if in a historical revival.”56 Expressionist critic Roeßler, standing reviewer for the socialist Arbeiter-Zeitung, concurred with Tietze that it was time that Austrian handcraft proceed along more rational, standardized lines: everyday objects should be functional and masculine rather than representational and feminine. To ignore the democratic spirit of the present demanding affordable, mass-produced objects for the working classes, he insinuated, wasted precious material and intellectual effort. He condemned the rococo frivolity of the applied arts as “hav[ing] hardly any intellectual value to the present, certainly none to the future: however appealing and pretty, playfully whimsical and wittily they have been formed, they are altogether overburdened by lavishness and ostentation.”57 However, the exhibition also featured large collections by the male artist Peche (KW manager, 1916–23), who practiced an equally “feminine” ornamental style drawing on the Austrian baroque and expressionism. He was arbitrarily excluded from attacks

of feminization by critics, so much so that Bertha Zuckerkandl called him Austria’s greatest ornamental genius since the baroque.58 Eisler’s 1925 monograph argued that Peche’s ornamental language underwent an inner caesura that suppressed frivolous, formal Spielerei (play) to reflect a transcendent “masculine seriousness.”59 This response brings the uneven manner in which critics endeavored to exonerate male artists from ornamental criminality into high relief. By contrast, the Kunstgewerbeweib was not only scapegoated for sacrificing functionality for decorative expressivity, but she was accused of being derivative of (or taught by) Peche when, as one WW coworker remembered, “in no way were they [the KW artist-craftswomen] imitators of Peche.”60 Not all critics, however, panned the expressive handcraft movement. Pro-WW critic Steinmetz praised the Kunstgewerbeweib’s work in inexpensive materials like paper, wax, and clay as innovative responses to material shortages. Expressionist ceramics spoke to the idea that “not only the brush is the muse-hallowed tool of high art . . . wood, clay, glass, and mosaic are capable of artistically embodying an idea.”61 In discussing a Kuhn figure (Spring, now lost) similar to those shown at the 1920 Kunstschau, pro-WW critic Eisler found the work “to breathe the spirit of expressionism” even as Kuhn’s flower pots showed a renaissance of folk art traditions.62 Standing by the free expression endorsed by pro-WW exponents, Josef Hoffmann, artistic director of the WW, vindicated the Kunstgewerbeweib in an impassioned missive to Tietze, rebutting the latter’s arguments that expressionist ceramics were alien to the gravity of the times.63 Maintaining that both art and craft were necessarily zeitlos (timeless) and not zeitlich (timely), Hoffmann erupted with a laundry list of masterpieces produced in times of crisis (by artists from Boccaccio to Beethoven), with the implication that female art students had every right to the same free expression. He concluded his defense by accusing Tietze of harboring “an inferior evaluation of the applied arts.”64 But Tietze admitted that he found the 1920 Kunstschau uninteresting precisely because the misguided notion of “craft for craft’s sake” was the foulest crime handcraft could commit, insisting, in his rebuttal of Hoffmann, that Beethoven’s genius was entirely irrelevant to young girls playing with paper boxes.65 It is only fitting that the controversy surrounding expressionist ceramics peaked at an exhibition synonymous with the debate on rational (masculine) utility versus individualized (feminine) luxury in art and design: the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris, an exhibition intended to demonstrate French supremacy in the luxury handcraft industries while defining a modern style of decorative art. Singer-Schinnerl, Wieselthier, and Bucher received pride of place in Hoffmann’s designs for the Austrian Pavilion. This female focus, in addition to the WW’s predominantly female exhibitors (ten out of thirteen), was exploited by the antidecorative critics. The critical fallout surrounding the Austrian pavilion was a crucial flash point for how Austria’s “feminized” applied arts came under fire as a superfluous, retrograde luxury that should be replaced by rational, functional objects engineered for the sort


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics

35. Wiener Werkstätte display case at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. UAKS. Photo: Bruno Reiffenstein, Vienna.

of modernist “living machine” advocated by Le Corbusier, a key disseminator of Loos’s dictum that ornament is crime.66 Weiser’s scathing review assailed the pavilion for sacrificing practicality in favor of a quixotic “striving to be original at any price,” while another reviewer disparaged its contents as “sweet, perfumed things, without strength, without energy.”67 Hoffmann’s display cabinets—impractically tall floor-to-ceiling showcases behind primitively decorated paneled-glass frames painted by female art students—were crammed so full that the objects became a background for the ornamental frames: in an ironic reversal of modernism’s suppression of the decorative, the decorative frame became essential, and the artwork secondary (fig. 35). But worse yet were the goods displayed; as Weiser notes: “Unfortunately, one only sees things here that are classified as luxury, a luxury . . . that has long become exorbitant and wasteful to us.”68 Playing on deep-rooted stereotypes of female desire for luxury consumption, Weiser in no uncertain terms held women, both as makers and consumers, responsible for these frivolous goods, “which could only belong to a lady’s boudoir.”69 The architect called for a return to “simple, clear, and strong masculinity guided by purpose” in place of the “tainted fantasies” of “spoiled women’s hands,” sentiments echoed by anti-WW critic Max Ermer in inveighing against the “playful, feminine” art dominating Paris.70 In another review chastising the Viennese aversion to “hard-nosed functionalism, pure construction, and strict sobriety,” Roeßler summoned the engineer to produce functional, affordable objects for the working classes instead of effeminate “false luxury” goods that used ornamentation to mask cheap materials.71 He claimed such objects not only threatened to desex robust male workers but excluded working-class women as well, whose socioeconomic position might have led them to similarly favor “masculine” functionalism over “feminine” expressivity.72 In the critical controversy surrounding the Paris Exposition, expressionist ceramics were central to debates on the status of the decorative within modernist art and design. A major thrust of the pavilion’s negative reviews was the improvised “feminine” nature of the WW’s luxury handcrafts.73 Antidecorative critics believed that the frivolous nature of the ceramics dominating Paris was found in an overexaggerated expressivity

that suffocated functionality in favor of overblown individualism. While condemning individual expressivity seemed like a given to male functionalist critics, such judgments disregarded how the educational and institutional playing field funneled female expressivity into the applied arts and not the “fine” arts and, furthermore, how artistic institutions were dominated by privileged, wealthy women. Such tensions notwithstanding, impractical feminine capriciousness was thought to characterize Wieselthier’s X-shaped ceramic oven, a reinterpretation of rococo design judged unsuitable to the purpose of heating, and her seven-armed candelabra, whose radiating arms converged in a nexus of elaborately twisted coils drip-glazed in boldly contrasting light and dark tones, marked by a quasi-Gothic, distorted expressivity (figs. 36–37). Condemning the pavilion’s “bubbly, nervous, capricious . . . quote-unquote artworks,” Ermer fumed against “the X-shaped oven [!] . . . [leaving] consideration of actual use . . . miles away.”74 Quintessentially embodying Wieselthier’s style, both objects played on their intended function. The candelabra’s intricate arabesques applied to its arms and base, for example, deliberately compromised the verticality of the candleholders above. As with Hoffmann’s display cabinets, the decorative was essential, and functionality was supplemental. Similarly attracting negative comment from critics was the stylized primitivism predominant among the figural ceramics. The childlike design language of Singer-Schinnerl’s glazed earthenware Akt (Female nude) (fig. 38) and Flögl’s figural group of a horse and cart were found to be emblematic of the perverse way that “the modernist movement stuck its nose into the nursery.”75 Several reviewers alleged that the ceramics’ childlike naïveté was hardly a sign of genius but manifested a schoolish


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics

36. Vally Wieselthier, X-Form Kachelofen (X-Shaped ceramic oven), 1925. Exhibited at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. From Österreichs Bau- und Werkkunst 1 (July/ Aug. 1925): 34. 37. Vally Wieselthier, Leuchter (Candelabra), 1925. Exhibited at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. From L’autriche à l’Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, Paris, 1925 (Vienna: Commission exécutive, 1925), n.p.


The Female Secession

38. Susi Singer-Schinnerl, Akt (Nude), ca. 1925. Glazed red earthenware. Exhibited at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. From L’autriche à l’Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, Paris, 1925 (Vienna: Commission exécutive, 1925), n.p. 39. Hertha Bucher, Durchbrochener Blumentopf (Broken-through flower pot), ca. 1925. Earthenware. Exhibited at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. From DKD 56, no. 11 (1925): 334.

sort of imitation hardening into its own form of academicism.76 Likewise on view was an extensive collection by Bucher including Broken-Through Flower Pot (fig. 39) and a neo-rococo porcelain clock case executed by Augarten. Critics received these works differently, as I will argue below, because of the gendered connotations of the works’ materials (delicate porcelain versus the cruder and, by implication, more masculine earthenware). As at earlier exhibitions, the expressionist ceramics displayed in Paris triggered a critical uproar for using humble materials for sculptural purposes, for sacrificing utility at the expense of artistic ideas, and fundamentally, for creating decorative objects that refused to be decorative. The Kunstgewerbeweib’s expressive handcrafts were the antithesis of Le Corbusier’s program in his celebrated L’espirit nouveau pavilion: a model family dwelling composed of industrially produced object types that denied the very premise of the exposition (that, as Nancy Troy argues, “a modern style could be developed through conscious intention”) and that called for the abolition of the decorative arts in favor of a design process of anonymous “mechanical selection.”77 Hence, to critics like Loos, Roeßler, and Weiser favoring the masculine “living machine,” the “feminized” decorative arts and artistic ceramics embodied a logical fallacy. The modern artifact was a rationally engineered tool, neither decorative nor artistic; “putting value on the uniqueness of applied-arts objects” only represented misguided, feminine vanity.78 The capstone of the debate on expressionist ceramics and the interwar Kunstgewerbeweib was Loos’s infamous “Wiener Weh” (Viennese woe) lecture, held in the large concert hall of Vienna’s Musikverein in April 1927. The lecture drew a large, boisterous

crowd in a heated atmosphere where “it seemed likely that the Loosians and the WWers might pull each other’s hair out.”79 Accompanied by slides of works shown in Paris and between the shouts and catcalls of the audience, Loos sounded off about what he had been speaking into the void for more than twenty years: that the entire Kunsthandwerk (arts and crafts) movement was an impure mixture that prostituted the eternal work of art by making it useful. As he said, “Poor is the rich man who, at every moment, must walk on ‘art,’ must hold ‘art,’ must lie and sit on ‘art.’”80 Ideally, artists—especially women with their impure, decorative drives—would keep their “hands off” of everyday objects, allowing design to progressively evolve in line with modern industry and handcraft prototypes. While rehashing his long-standing attacks against Hoffmann, the WW, and expressive handcrafts, his 1927 lecture brought the cigarette-smoking, bob-haired Kunstgewerbeweib to trial for the first time on charges of savage decorative criminality. In no uncertain terms did Loos hold the Kunstgewerbeweiber—whom he castigated as “painting, embroidering, ceramic-making, valuable-material-wasting dilettante Hofratstöchter (daughters of senior civil servants)”—single-handedly responsible for the rise of frivolous Kleinkunst (minor art) and the Paris Exposition’s exhibition’s commercial failure.81 That this epithet referred to artists such as Wieselthier, Singer-Schinnerl, and Bucher (who hailed from similar Hofratstöchter pedigrees, a colloquialism for a privileged milieu of governesses, servants, and high culture) was uncontestable in Austrian public opinion. Such attacks provoked a spirited defense of the Kunstgewerbeweiber in an “Open Letter to Adolf Loos” by Eugenia Primavesi (1874–1963), the WW’s (unofficial) artistic director after the war in tandem with her husband, Otto, who was the firm’s commercial director from 1915 to 1925. Trained as an actress, Eugenia channeled her artistic ambitions into her role as Klimt group patron, amassing the second most important private collection of Klimt’s works (including the portrait of her daughter Mäda discussed previously) and commissioning an important Hoffmann/WW country estate at Winkelsdorf, Moravia, reflecting her interest in folk-art primitivism. During her period of close involvement with the Werkstätte, Primavesi (along with Hoffmann himself ) was a staunch defender of the KW and individual expressivity in the applied arts, opposing her husband’s attempts to reorganize the firm along more efficient lines in collaboration with the new business manager, Hoffmann student Philip Häusler.82 Häusler’s attempts to “rationalize” the supposedly dilettantish KW—locking its members into fixed hours and promoting serial production over individual expressivity—not only led to fierce opposition from Primavesi and Hoffmann (and the 1925 breakdown of the Primavesis’ marriage) but bitter factionalism within the firm. Protesting Häusler’s policies on the grounds that “our paradise was lost,” Wieselthier’s 1922 exodus from the firm to found the Vally Wieselthier Ceramics Workshops (1922–27) led to a string of resignations from Calm, Rix, and Singer-Schinnerl.83 Loos’s attacks against the feminized WW were preceded by an equally sensationalistic lecture on January 5, 1926, by graphic artist Klinger. Polemicizing against the


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics


The Female Secession

“perfumed feminine trifles” dominating the Austrian pavilion in Paris—where the only modern object to be found was a mass-produced fire extinguisher not actually part of the display—Klinger rebranded the WW as the Wiener Weiberkunstgewerbe (Viennese women’s arts and craft), using the antiquated and somewhat derogatory terminology to emphasize the makers’ base femaleness in spite of their claims to masculine, high artistic expression. “Wiener Weiberkunstgewerbe, who doesn’t shudder at the thought!” Klinger thundered.84 In Klinger’s view, the work of Wieselthier and her colleagues stood for all that was “affected, overdone, mannered, titillating, false, and inauthentic” in contemporary design and led to sexual degeneracy among its practitioners.85 Branding the ceramicists as “fumbling Maenads,” Klinger implied that expressive handcraft’s overwhelmingly female practitioners had rid themselves of their femininity through their “crafty” claims to (masculine) fine art, a practice he lampooned via their clipped, singsongy nicknames: “Fini, Zoe, Noe, Loe, Ludi, Valy, Lio, Bery, Ly, Dita, Ria, or indeed Mäda.”86 Polemics aside, the WW’s overwhelmingly female makeup was undeniable; after 1925 the firm’s only major male designers were Hoffmann and Snischek. All four critics—Loos, Roeßler, Klinger, and Weiser—similarly regarded the expressionist ceramics dominating the Parisian Exposition as forms of impure, superfluous decoration and, by unnecessarily integrating expressionistic currents into everyday artifacts, a frivolous expenditure of time and material. Weiser lamented the proliferation of a childish Kleinkunst that was “all form and no soul” while, as before in the time of the rococo, male thinkers were left to wrestle with the great problems of the intellect.87 Enjoining Viennese artists to take up greater tasks, Weiser found such ceramic “vitrine pieces overplayed; the joke hiding in them, is of yesterday.”88 But what these male critics necessarily regarded as frivolous luxuries challenged simplistic dichotomies of art and craft, the useful and the significant, the comfortable and the provocative, which was all the more challenging due to the ceramics’ insubordinate humor. In spite of Loos’s crusade, the new ceramics were defended by critics viewing them as inspired by the same elevated sensations undergirding the fine arts. Even Tietze moderated his initially hostile views to describe the new ceramics as “arresting . . . in which women command a very remarkable language of form . . . and extraordinary rhythmic momentum.”89 This dynamic formal language, informed by both the rococo and folk art, was animated by an expressive Formwille analyzed by progressive critics like Steinmetz and Rochowanski. In an article accompanied by an illustration of Wieselthier’s 1926 earthenware display vase (fig. 40), Steinmetz argued that ceramic objects, when animated by intense yet abstract feelings or sensations, had the capacity to aspire to monumentality. The expressive possibilities of clay depended on the intensity of an expressive impulse that, while simultaneously fulfilling an object’s function, was not conceived out of “cold reason” or “pure geometrical construction” but “born of an exhilarating, imaginative conception imprinted on the object that lives on eternally as an animated energy in the obtained form.”90 Yet even as it captured intangible sensations

40. Vally Wieselthier, Vase, 1926. Earthenware, height: 17 7/10 in. (45 cm), width: 11 4/5 in. (30 cm); depth: 17 3/10 in. (44 cm), diam.: 9 in. (23 cm). From DKD 59, no. 1 (1926): 60.


The Female Secession

beyond an object’s function, this organic Formwille was not pure fantasy but bound to the willfulness and spontaneity of the material. That pots, through form, color, and ornament, could convey emotional states of being lent the new Viennese ceramics a unique expressivity, similar to how expressionist portraiture provided both likenesses of its subjects as well as windows into the artists’ psyches. Wieselthier’s display vase privileges gesture, spontaneity, and a sense of rococo playfulness: an apt example of a Formwille that was functional, expressive, and redolent of its maker’s femininity. Excitement about process and spontaneity lends the object an effervescence characteristic of Wieselthier’s work. Much of the object’s visual interest is found in the tension between its formal classicizing shape (a baluster on a tapered, conical base) and the seemingly casual, accidental nature of its painted surface decoration. Typical of her mid-1920s work, the artist interrupts the vase’s unitary surface through the staccato rhythms of a fragmentary, abstract ornament, adding further tension through curlicued and dolphin-form handles that were more aesthetic than functional: these light, playful rococo flourishes delighted prodecorative critics. Underlining all of this was the artist’s gestural bravura and the apparent nonchalance with which she let brightly colored glazes drip down the vase’s surface. From the same period, Wieselthier’s 1927 fruit dish, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, illustrates her dialogue with contemporary art and design (color plate 25). Like the vase, the earthenware surface was covered with a white slip, glazed, and overpainted in a manner that demonstrated Wieselthier’s self-described primitive working methods that privileged the inconsistencies of the fired clay surface rather than the medium’s traditional emphasis on uninflected clarity. With its high-keyed, juxtaposing complementary colors, the fruit dish’s overpainted surface lends support to Hörmann’s supposition that the artist may have been influenced by Sonia Delaunay’s textile designs at the Boutique simultané during the 1925 Paris Exposition.91 In typical Wieselthier fashion, the work pulsates with a syncopated rhythm achieved by the interplay between its dynamic color harmonies and the carefully balanced asymmetry of the dish’s handles and broken-through ornamental base, suggesting the artist’s exhilaration about process. Other vases and bowls from the same period demonstrate a similar problematization of functionalism in favor of expressivity through the placement of extraneous nonfunctional handles, surface edges that fold inward or outward for no practical purpose, or the transformation of handles, lids, or covers into fantastical animals (like the dolphins mentioned above).92 Drawing inspiration less from the rococo than rustic, archaic forms, similar tendencies toward formal and gestural expressivity can be observed in Bucher’s work, as illustrated in a vase whose form, as pro-Werkstätte critic Born put it, “seemed to be born of the waves . . . and . . . drip the vivid colors of the deep” (fig. 41).93 The expressivity enlivening Bucher’s pots situated them, as WW critics like Loos and Roeßler had it, as unnecessarily artistic, much like Wieselthier’s work. The disturbed, gestural

surface of the seafoam green vase, a loose interpretation of Greek forms crowned with lyriform-horned handles, was unusual within Bucher’s oeuvre. Whereas a tense dialogue between form, surface ornament, and glaze enlivened Wieselthier’s output, in Bucher’s work formal concerns trumped color and ornament to emphasize objects’ plasticity. Bucher, who specialized less in figuration than functional or architectural ceramics, typically integrated form and ornament in her strongly rhythmic and “broken-through” style of pottery. As Born noted, “The artist loves to break through the surface, like a net . . . dissolving into ornamental weaving.”94 The subtle asymmetry of Bucher’s Broken-Through Flower Pot shown in Paris in 1925 expressed the musicality of a syncopated rhythm that ebbed and flowed like the pounding of a wave (see fig. 39). In an abstract, nonrepresentational manner, Bucher’s formal language reflected a dynamic energy capturing the breakneck pace of urban life. Like the flower pot, Bucher’s vessels favored jagged edges, sharp corners, and large areas of hollowed-out space not unlike the rough lines of an expressionist woodcut print. The artist’s signature style, characterized by earthy tones and solid construction, troubled critical tendencies to collapse the new ceramics with feminine frivolity. So strong was Bucher’s mastery of form and composition that critics expressed discomfort with the sharp lines and crude finish of her pots, instead preferring the daintiness of her porcelain designs, such as the neo-rococo clock house shown at the Austrian pavilion in Paris. Combining figuration with ornamental architectural details, the elegant lines of the clock case were unusual in Bucher’s typically rustic design language. Weiser recommended porcelain, with its smooth finish and delicate, opaque glaze, as “the correct means of expression for [Bucher’s] tender . . . coquettish ideas” and the appropriate decoration for a lady’s desk.95 Apparently vexed with her “masculine” strength, however, Weiser was eager to equate her work with rococo frivolity rather than meaningful expression. The angularity and deliberate roughness of Bucher’s pots differentiated her work from the self-consciously feminine style associated with KW artists: a situation likely rooted in the fact that Bucher was one of the few ceramicists not associated with the KW; instead she sold her ceramics through the WW on commission. Of all the WW ceramicists, it was the figural sculpture of Böhm student Singer-Schinnerl, familiar to us from the WW postcard series and the 1908 Kunstschau, that was most closely associated with neo-rococo lyricism. One of Singer-Schinnerl’s


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics

41. Hertha Bucher, Original-Keramik (Original ceramic), ca. 1928. Earthenware. From DKD 62, no. 12 (1928): 403.


The Female Secession

colleagues called her “the most talented and most original” of the ceramicists whose work, like Wieselthier’s, shaped the KW’s feminine aesthetic. 96 Unlike Bucher, Singer-Schinnerl’s ceramics were exclusively figural and took inspiration from the thematic repertoire of eighteenth-century Central European porcelain sculpture: fête galante figural groupings, representations of court life and masked balls, and playful interpretations of mythological narratives.97 At the 1928 International Exhibition of Ceramic Art, a landmark traveling exhibition of contemporary ceramic art originating at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and intending to introduce American audiences to the latest trends in European ceramics (in which all four artists profiled here participated), one critic observed that Singer-Schinnerl’s figures “hover[ed] between the veiled arrogance of the eighteenth century and the stressed candor of the twentieth.”98 But what this critic termed the “dainty swagger” of Singer-Schinnerl’s signature style was dependent as much on the formal repertoire of the rococo as the deliberate naiveté of a design language masking the virtuosity of its maker. Singer-Schinnerl’s rococo-inspired figures were deliberately simplified to achieve a seemingly untutored, childlike aesthetic, a quality Hoffmann deliberately sought for the KW. In contrast to Weiser’s dismissal of ceramic Kleinkunst, progressive art publicist Rochowanski observed that “sculptor” was a more appropriate appellation than “ceramicist” for Singer-Schinnerl, rightly granting her work similar status as that of the great eighteenth-century Modellmeister (master modelers) who worked in Dresden, Berlin, and Vienna. Indeed, works like her Chinese mit Pferd (Chinaman with horse) (color plate 26) and her Akt (Female nude) (see fig. 38) were found to “possess full sculptural value,” evoking the eighteenth-century heyday of porcelain figural sculpture.99 Revealing rather than suppressing the visible effects of forming and glazing, such works were animated by an expressive Formwille invoking the playful poesy of the rococo era: a lyrical “creative power remote from our own times” that Rochowanski believed transformed the contemporary era and its fashions into a poetic Arcadian landscape.100 In China Man with Horse, Singer-Schinnerl’s debt to rococo figural groupings is visible in the stylized chinoiserie ornament and the nondescript manner in which the features of the exotic Chinese “other” are rendered.101 Despite such rococo influences, both works are endowed with a seemingly childlike innocence inflected with a sense of melancholic nostalgia. It is my argument that these allusions to the eighteenth century were entirely deliberate. As Mimi Hellman argues with regard to French rococo decorative objects, this was an era when much “conceptual fluidity [existed] between the idea of the necessary provision and the idea of the decorative accessory”—when the boundary between decorative and fine art was very much in flux.102 I believe that the intentional evocation of this time by modern female artists served to critique the Loosian discourse on ornament as superfluous, feminine embellishment corrupting the value of objects that it supposedly enhanced. While commanding their own individual design languages, Wieselthier, Bucher, and Singer-Schinnerl all shared the commonality of crafting decorative objects

that resisted their status as decorative, staking out the artist-craftswoman’s claims to elevate female “craftiness” into the realm of fine art. The Frauenkopf and the Birth of Austrian Expressionism We now turn to the most provocative objects emanating from the KW: the ceramic Frauenköpfe. Far from mere decoration, the WW Frauenköpfe confronted the increasing hostility toward expressionist ceramics and the Kunstgewerbeweib’s decorative aesthetics. To understand their subversive charge, we must return to the antidecorative backlash following the 1908 Kunstschau, developments bound up in what Simmons frames as Austrian expressionism’s “myths of origins.”103 The predominant heroes of Austrian expressionism—Kokoschka and Schiele—participated in the same applied-arts ventures as female art students and were recruited for the WW’s postcard series and other design projects. But both, according to their mythologizing narratives, underwent inner ruptures from surface-bound decorative secessionism toward searing expressionist styles conventionally interpreted as the faithful and spontaneous transcriptions of the artists’ inner worlds.104 Kokoschka’s and Schiele’s rejection of their applied-arts roots was facilitated by their new mentors—Loos and Roeßler—who steered them away from Klimt, Hoffmann, and the WW in favor of, as Schiele put it, “only the fine arts.”105 Loos famously discovered Kokoschka at the 1908 Kunstschau, professing that “it was one of the greatest crimes against humanity” that such a visionary talent “was employed by the Wiener Werkstätte . . . with the painting of fans, drawings, and postcards.”106 Insisting that Kokoschka abandon his decorative, commercial roots, Loos promised to provide him with income through portraiture, arranging sittings with members of the Viennese intelligentsia and the architect’s own, largely Jewish client base.107 Much like Loos for Kokoschka, Roeßler guided Schiele (employed designing postcards and fashion accessories for the WW) away from the applied arts after meeting him at the Neukunstgruppe’s December 1909 exhibition at the Galerie Miethke, a show including Harlfinger-Zakucka and other Art for the Child contributors like Podhajská and Otten-Friedmann. Schiele’s conversion from his decorative Jugendstil roots was facilitated through Roeßler’s arranging of exhibitions, sales, commissions, and publicity for the rebellious academy student. Supposedly influenced by the primitivist visions of Van Gogh and Gauguin, both Kokoschka and Schiele presented themselves as experiencing a rebirth after 1909, whereby they recognized that portraiture and self-portraiture not only revealed sitters’ personality and inner torments but equally reflected the artist’s.108 As was argued in reference to Schiele, his portraits were “likenesses of his inner self, mirrors in which he saw his own anxieties reflected.”109 The same interpretative framework established by expressionist practitioners has permeated historiography on the topic, especially the body of literature established by Carl Schorske, who interpreted the expressionist


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breakthrough as slicing through the secessionists’ decorative façade, “drained . . . of its original function—to speak the psychological truth,” to represent the unmediated revelations of troubled visionaries.110 But the “birth” of Austrian expressionism has been mythologized in the literature to obscure its genesis in the same primitivizing currents cultivated by female art students like Harlfinger-Zakucka and taken up by a younger generation of interwar artist-craftswomen. Challenging much of the literature’s juxtaposition of inner psychological truth and the decorative surface—forces that, as Houze rightly insists, were not necessarily in opposition—it is my hope to highlight uneven disciplinary practices among art historians who have succumbed to the mythical narrative of expressionism’s birth established by Loos, Roeßler, and the male artists themselves.111 The looming threat of the boundary-defying decorative art predominating the 1908 Kunstschau motivated a growing masculine backlash against feminine decoration, pushing male expressionists to forms of art making associated with masculine heroism and functionless aestheticism rather than domestic female craftiness. The critical foundations for Austrian expressionism—typically recognized for its subjective, emotionally visionary style, heightened use of unnatural colors, and portrayal of external reality in a distorted manner related to the artist’s emotional state of being—necessarily built on the notion of the “feminized” applied arts as a reverse mirror image. But it was precisely this definition of applied art as mere decoration that the interwar Kunstgewerbeweib so insistently confounded, exploring similar ideas as male expressionists through handcraft techniques. Expressionism’s newfound stress on clearer fields of masculine and feminine practice was linked to tensions surrounding secessionist Vienna’s rising numbers of female art students and practicing professionals. Women artists achieved notable success showing as guests at Vienna’s “Big Three” exhibition houses, at exclusive private galleries, and at the 1908 and 1909 Kunstschauen, where, as Julie Johnson maintains, Klimt group members like Broncia Koller (who studied with Böhm at the WFA) transmitted influences from French postimpressionism ahead of male colleagues.112 Yet the inclusion Johnson stresses, was entirely informal, as women were barred from regular membership in the major exhibition societies until after World War II and lacked voting, jury, and committee rights. This patently unequal situation led to the establishment of a separatist “women-only” league, the Association of Austrian Women Artists in 1910, which was founded “to prove that being separate was a mistake” and that women should be integrated into mainstream institutions.113 In Johnson’s analysis, when the association organized its landmark historical retrospective, Die Kunst der Frau (The art of the woman) (held in the Secession from November 5, 1910–January 11, 1911, and attracting around twelve thousand visitors), it did not harbor ideas of a separate feminine aesthetic but rather “spent a great deal of energy . . . to demonstrate that women had ‘kept step’ with the men”—although, I might add, predominantly in the fine not decorative arts.114 Featuring more than three hundred works by “Old Mistresses” such

as Rachel Ruysch, Rosalba Carriera, Angelika Kauffmann, and Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun alongside more recent works by Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzalez, and Rosa Bonheur, the exhibition constituted a major undertaking, with its spatial layout arranged to culminate in the Frauenkunst of the present, as critics noted.115 Misogynist feuilletonists formulated a pejorative gendered aesthetic for The Art of the Women, conflating “women’s art” with long-held stereotypes of superficiality, narcissism, and artifice, as Johnson argues.116 A string of reviewers rehearsed points from Scheffler’s Die Frau und die Kunst (1908), a standard textbook for misogynist critics stressing women’s artistic inferiority due to their supposed penchant for decoration, imitation, sentimentality, and inability to think in abstract forms. According to Johnson, connections of women’s art to decorative fashionability largely originated with anti-modernist commentators whose negative reviews “ultimately made separating the feminine from modernism a desirable thing” for modernist critics.117 What concerns me here is not to repeat Johnson’s arguments connecting the exhibition’s critical reception—how it was largely misogynist feuilletonists who formulated a pejorative gendered aesthetic linking women’s art to self-decoration and the artifice of the rococo salon—but to add that modernist reviewers like Roeßler and Loos were already separating modernism from the feminine before and during the 1910 retrospective, independent of the anti-modernists. The expressionist protagonists Roeßler and Loos were responsible for manufacturing the critical discourse linking women’s art to the decorative and self-decoration. Drawing heavily from Scheffler, Roeßler’s review of The Art of the Woman left no doubt that “the woman as artist must be inseminated by the man if she is to create” for she, closely rooted in nature, lacked the male capacity to transform nature into culture in an “independent artistic handwriting.”118 Despite arousing “feelings of aesthetic lust” in male visitors through portraits featuring “soft colors flattering the eyes,” the association’s seductive attempts to use the Frauenkunst of the past to prop up its own artistic ambitions necessarily failed—for, alluding to women’s narcissistic indulgence for face painting and penchant for imitation, Roeßler claimed, “All these paintings by women are second hand art. . . . Spiegelkunst [mirror art]” at best.119 The insinuation was that women’s art lay in a form of art making in which she was both object and subject, painter and sitter: the art of self-decoration as epitomized by the makeup and powders of the rococo era, as Johnson convincingly argues.120 Roeßler expanded his arguments on Frauenkunst in further articles, observing that “there are very few women who succeed in creating sculpture” that rose above a superficial mood.121 By contrast, the arts in which woman remained an alluring mystery to man, “the particularly feminine arts of singing, dancing, acting, and make-up . . . [come] natural to women.”122 Roeßler suggested that the arts in which woman decorated and made herself up were the best and truest Frauenkunst, for “everything that the woman decorates, is . . . a part of herself” and allows her to bank on her “inborn feminine taste.”123 With very few exceptions, a woman was largely condemned to artistic infertility in painting and sculpture as she could only bear


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what man planted in her; otherwise she had “nothing other than herself” to express.124 Echoing Scheffler’s arguments on women’s “entirely decorative talents” and penchants for “sentimentalizing and scaling down masculine art forms,” Roeßler recommended ostensibly unthreatening female handcrafts like embroidery as much more valuable than large canvases by women striving to monumental art.125 Similarly linking women to the decorative and self-decoration, Loos rooted women’s propensity for self-ornamentation in primordial erotic drives. The very first ornament, according to him, was a cross symbolizing the vertical male penetrating the horizontal female, which primitive man created out of surplus energy.126 But Loos maintained that societal progress was synonymous with the gradual “extinction” of ornament from objects of everyday use, insisting that “modern man is no longer capable of producing ornament. The modern producers of our culture have no ornamentation. . . . Only people who were born in the present but actually live in early times—women, the rural population, Orientals (including the Japanese)—as well as people with mutilated brains, such as necktie and wallpaper designers, are capable of creating new ornamentation of equal quality to the old.”127 While modern man had overcome such atavistic drives, woman still remained rooted in the savage “urge to decorate one’s face and anything else within reach.”128 Here, it is supremely telling that male expressionists’ co-option of primitive ornamentation like tattooing and body painting for fine artistic practices became attached to transcendent psychic interiority, where “the primitive Drang (urge) could run rampant.”129 But with regard to architecture and design, Loos infantilized, orientalized, feminized, and criminalized the use of ornament in his well-known, if often oversimplified, lecture and essay “Ornament and Crime,” a text traditionally dated to 1908, but which Long has redated to 1909 or 1910.130 Synthesizing arguments made since 1898, “Ornament and Crime” drew on Caesar Lombroso’s study of deviancy and Ernst Haeckl’s biogenetic principle that “ontogeny repeats phylogeny” to link criminal degeneracy to the Ur-ornament of tattooing; accordingly, the failure to “overcome the Red Indian within us” and subdue infantile urges to “smear walls with erotic scribbles” embodied nothing less than criminal acts.131 While such decorative drives were understandable in six-year-old children and primitive peoples (who, as we saw in chapter 4, were judged to be at similar levels of evolutionary development), Loos found it degenerate that Western women’s dress clung to anti-modern and delinquent proclivities. As he observed, the most reliable indicator of ladies’ fashion were the paragraphs in the criminal code dealing with prostitution, for the coquette was the ultimate arbiter of women’s fashions.132 Women have only, according to Loos, retained men’s affections by transforming themselves into alluring mysteries through dress, simultaneously concealing and flaunting what lies beneath.133 That the Kunstgewerbeweib embraced what Loos likened to the “childish” Red Indian within complicated his infantilization of feminine self-ornamentation by reappropriating the decorative as a badge of honor.134

Against the backdrop of criticism linking women’s artistic abilities to their propensity for self-decoration, KW artists including Wieselthier, Singer-Schinnerl, Calm, Schmidl, and Schaschl first experimented with the Frauenkopf form at the 1920 Kunstschau, creating roughly modeled heads in the guise of mythological goddesses, nymphs, bacchantes, and vaguely classical figures, as seen in Schaschl’s untitled Frauenkopf (fig. 42). However, in response to increasing attacks against the feminized applied arts, by mid-decade the heads were shorn of mythological reference and offered as parodic appropriations of the “new women” in contemporary fashion magazines. Collectively, the heads shared formal characteristics such as elongated necks and long, languid faces with almond-shaped eyes and stylized eyebrows; garish painted cosmetics applied in a haphazard, child-like manner; and in sardonic emulation of the perfect “porcelain” complexion, white clay slips that left unpainted earthenware visible beneath. Among the WW ceramicists, Wieselthier made the Frauenkopf her signature. In the interim since Paris, Wieselthier had acquired newfound prestige and financial stability upon selling the inventory of her workshops to the WW in 1927 and accepting a position as director of the WW’s ceramics workshop. Wieselthier’s low-fired earthenware Frauenköpfe were made using her characteristic method of hand-formed hollow modeling, with applied hand-formed decoration, elongated wheel-thrown necks, and fashionably bobbed hair, as worn by WW designers (see fig. 31). From the mid-1920s onward, the Wieselthier Frauenkopf flaunted the vermilion lipstick, bold eye shadow, dark mascara, and rouged cheeks of the 1920s flapper: a fashionable yet masklike mode of face painting that “delighted in the display of makeup’s artifice.”135 A 1928 Wieselthier Frauenkopf demonstrates how the artist applied the figure’s garish “makeup” in a deliberately childlike fashion, with pronounced orange-red circles denoting rouge and uneven, white slip glaze invoking the imperfect application of face powder (color plate 24). By exposing the artifice behind the illusion, the performance behind the perfect face, the Frauenkopf and its frozen, unemotional expression stood as a powerful intervention against critical tropes linking women’s art making with decoration and the art of cosmetics. Wieselthier signed her work with hand-modeled, interlocking VW initials in relief, playing with the collapse between object and subject (or ideas of female narcissism readily equated with female self-portraiture) that antidecorative critics anticipated. Lending the form its productive tension was Wieselthier’s chosen material of earthenware, a type of ceramic associated with quotidian domestic tableware and notably less refined than stoneware or porcelain. Simultaneously masking and revealing its origins at the potter’s wheel, Wieselthier’s vessel-based technique played on the convention of equating parts of thrown pots with parts of the female body (proceeding from the “neck” to the “foot”); yet the “neck” of


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42. Reni Schaschl, Frauenkopf (Woman’s head), ca. 1920. Earthenware. From DKD 47, no. 12 (1920): 103.


The Female Secession

the Frauenkopf is in the wrong place, suggesting all the more potently the transgression of creating a pot that was not a pot—a pot masquerading as a glamorous woman. It is precisely the heads’ pretensions to the fine art of sculpture that made them so transgressively boundary-defying; they cannot, like vernacular examples of ceramic caricature in the form of mugs, jugs, etc., be understood as uncomplicated humor. Numerous examples by other WW artists like Kuhn, Schaschl, and Singer-Schinnerl, often designed and executed in multiples, further attest to a collective emphasis on cosmetic artificiality, interrogating how “putting on a face” became a sign of normative female identity. Like Wieselthier, Kuhn and Schmidl often left patches of raw earthenware visible beneath the porcelain-slip complexion and, in the case of several Kuhn heads now preserved in private collections, noticeable smudging of the painted makeup: visual effects that in many cases embraced the accidents of firing in a mutually constitutive, dialectical relationship. That the heads became noticeably “made up” after the 1925 Paris Exposition was not coincidental but constituted a deliberate riposte to antidecorative critics. Compare, for instance, Schaschl’s 1920 head (see fig. 42) with Wieselthier’s 1928 model (color plate 24). Such heavy-handed painted cosmetics were nothing less than an affront to Roeßler’s equation of women’s art with the art of self-presentation; they gave form to the long-standing link between painting faces and painted faces. As celebrated beauty entrepreneur and WW client Helene Rubenstein summarized, “A beautiful woman sits down before her mirror as an artist in front of his canvas.”136 Complicating such equations between women’s art and the decorative woman was the fact that, in contrast to the naturalistic effects often desired through cosmetics, the heads appeared as unnatural creatures of ceramic artifice. Their masklike qualities were not an uncritical reflection of the visible cosmetics of the 1920s—through which fashionable garçonnes (flappers) “shout[ed] their freedom in appearance and behavior”—but critiques of the way society reduced women artists to sexually defined roles that were, in fact, artificially made up.137 In deliberately figuring face painting as a throwback to the erotic ornament of primitive women, artists like Wieselthier, Kuhn, and Singer-Schinnerl laid claim to a raw expressionism that Loos prized in Kokoschka’s 1909 Warrior (a self-portrait bust of painted clay, frozen in a gaping, primordial cry); similarly, the eroticized eyeliner and lipstick of the Köpfe stood in for the atavistic sexual drives suggested in the tattooed body painting in Kokoschka’s drama Murderer, Hope of Women. The way that the heads were heavily “made up” and insisted on their own material status as clay troubled overlapping discourses of art making, femininity, and rococo artifice: their declarative artificiality (underscored by the uneven, heavy-handed “makeup”) was a self-reflexive gesture parodying notions of rococo face painting and the art of the decorative woman. While many artists took inspiration from Wieselthier’s work, it was Baudisch, who had joined the WW in 1926 as Wieselthier’s pupil, who created the most sardonic interpretations of the Frauenkopf. While clearly indebted to her mentor, Baudisch’s

heads of 1929 illustrate how she carried Wieselthier’s mannerist tendencies to the extreme with exaggerated elongation; a languid, vacuous facial expression; abstract surface and three-dimensional decoration; and a cropped, abrupt plasticity that lent the head an unambiguous masklike quality (fig. 43). Even more so than in Wieselthier’s small-scale work, Baudisch’s heads exposed the unnatural masquerade of face painting, particularly with the garish color palette (often orange and blue) and the ornamental markings on the neck. Characteristic of Baudisch’s figures, the heads were marked by a turbulent, formal choppiness and unnervingly sachlich (matter-of-fact) facial expression that troubled notions of feminine beauty. In their anonymous, generically replicated qualities, Baudisch’s and Wieselthier’s heads seemed to represent a standardized model of women’s appearance. Antidecorative critics like Weiser and Roeßler were vexed by these seductive decorative objects.138 With no function beyond their own beauty, were such heads merely superficial decoration without meaning, feeding the all-consuming luxury of a class of women hoping to imitate eighteenth-century female tastemakers in an era when the consumption of fine ceramics was conflated with sexual desire?139 Was the apparent expressivity of such objects nothing more than a trick, as one male critic put it, “playing with the forms of expressive creation . . . like the moods of a beautiful woman?”140 The critic may have been right, for the heads were precisely the opposite of how Loos envisioned the unornamented modern woman. Whereas Loos located a woman’s beauty in an essentiality not enhanced by superfluous ornament or cosmetics—for only the primitive found woman beautiful because of gold rings in her ears and nose—the feminine beauty of the heads was entirely cosmetic and, as Loos would have it, savagely ornamental.141 Yet there was much more to these hollow heads—empty and mysterious as a womb and created in a misogynist climate in which women were believed to be “empty-headed”—than such critics acknowledged. Ceramics was a medium with strong feminine connotations, and women had a special relationship with it as makers, consumers, and caretakers. Much of the pottery of the world’s earliest civilizations was produced by women for food preparation or cultic purposes.142 In ancient Sumerian literature, ceramic imagery frequently served as a trope for birth and creation, with metaphorical linkages between the female body and clay (with the parallel between vessels/children being born out of the kiln/womb).143 Rebuffing expressionist critics’ notions that women needed male teachers for creative insemination, the birth of expressionist ceramics was a uniquely female artistic moment,


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics

43. Gudrun Baudisch, Köpfe (Heads), ca. 1929. Earthenware. From DKD 64, no. 9 (1929): 177.


The Female Secession

pioneered and practiced by women in a medium with deeply rooted feminine connotations later exploited by second-wave feminists like Judy Chicago and Hannah Wilke. That the heads were marked by artifice and an alienating masklike quality, rather like mannequins, was intentional. They are not, as many observers assumed, uncomplicated and uncritical self-portraits of the emancipated Kunstgewerbeweib, with her bobbed hair and fashionable self-presentation, as seen in the WW publicity photographs (see fig. 31).144 On the contrary, using makeup as a mask that confounded rather than conferred identity, the cosmetically enhanced, hyper-feminine Frauenköpfe “made up” for the Kunstgewerbeweib’s perceived hermaphroditism in cross-pollinating art and craft and in destabilizing masculine and feminine personal behavior. The heads can be interpreted as turning the mirror on Roeßler’s trivializing equations of women’s art with the feminine art of self-decoration: deep-seated notions that women’s reproductive capacities precluded them from originality in painting and sculpture and that true women’s art only concerns the way women decorate and make themselves up. A feminist reading of the Frauenköpfe suggests that women’s art was an entirely artificial, made-up category—a sentiment the heads seem to embody. The subversive thrust of Wieselthier’s and Baudisch’s work is all the more poignant considering the materiality of their creations. The Kunstgewerbeweib’s preferred medium was not porcelain—which, as literary scholar Elizabeth Kowalski-Wallace argues, served as a trope for femininity with its smooth, perfect surfaces, delicacy, and fragility—but the quotidian, low-fired earthenware, which was associated more with domestic usage than fine art. Porcelain may have been an obvious choice for the Frauenköpfe given its connotations of preciousness, refinement, and rococo femininity, but the artists’ choice of the coarser, more Germanic earthenware lent their forms a creative dissonance contributing to their haughty, even impish senses of humor. Mirroring their artistic ambitions more broadly, the interwar era’s “crafty women” created earthenware that rose above domestic utility, painted clay surfaces that were detached from, but seemed to play on, nineteenth-century stereotypes of amateurish china painting and the decorative woman; their ideas profoundly foreshadowed Judy Chicago’s description of china painting as “a perfect metaphor for women’s domesticated and trivialized circumstances.”145 Such messages are clearly apparent in Kogelnik’s homage to Wieselthier in a series of ceramic heads and masks of the 1980s, which grappled with similar issues of superficiality and artificial self-stylization in media images of women.146 Precisely by objectifying her female figures, keeping them entirely at the level of the decorative, did the masklike qualities of Wieselthier’s art frustrate attempts to locate the mysterious feminine essence that Roeßler expected in women’s art. In satirizing and visually shattering images of feminine artifice, the Frauenköpfe can be best understood in the tradition of ceramic caricature and satire: parodying the rococo superficiality that caused such objects and their makers to be dismissed as mere ornament. The fact that many critics took the heads as engaging in playful antics,

remaining entirely at the surface level, was a destabilizing tactic serving to undermine conventional definitions of women’s art as necessarily reproductive and derivative of men’s art. It was not accidental that the peak of Frauenköpfe output came at a time when the Kunstgewerbeweib was facing mounting attacks for her degenerate cross-pollination of art and craft as expounded in Loos’s and Klinger’s lectures.147 Rather, since critics like Roeßler were more interested in “what women are, than what they make,” the Frauenköpfe played on critical expectations that women’s strongest artistic talents lay in fields in which she decorated herself.148 A provocative riposte to antidecorative male critics, the WW’s provocative feminine vessels pushed the boundaries between the masculine and the feminine, the decorative and the meaningful, and art and craft. At a time when the very notion of the decorative arts was equated with frivolous feminine ornamentation, the Kunstgewerbeweib staked out as essential what critics disparaged as superfluous. As expressionist ceramics increasingly came under fire for hovering between surface and depth, the minor and monumental, and the very boundaries of art and craft, fault lines emerged between the conservative and radical wings of the Association of Austrian Women Artists. Led by Harlfinger-Zakucka, the association’s radical wing championed the Klimt group’s philosophies on the equality of art and craft and the provocative idea of a separate feminine aesthetic. The conservative faction opposed the secessionist cross-pollination of art and craft as represented by expressionist ceramics and the threat of feminine decoration. The following chapter examines the emerging split in the association in the 1920s, arguing that tensions surrounding the feminization of the applied arts reflected not only gendered attacks by male critics against the Kunstgewerbeweib’s impure decorative aesthetics but also the association’s own qualms that its professional standards might be tinged by women’s connection to the decorative. Such tensions tore apart the association, as Harlfinger-Zakucka—joining forces with interwar Austria’s most radical women painters, architects, and the new generation of artist-craftswomen behind the explosion of expressionist ceramics—strove to define “women’s art” on their own terms, unconstrained by the gender dialectic surrounding the Werkstätte’s crafty women. What ensued was nothing less than a “female Secession” carrying the Klimt group’s spiritual legacy into the interwar years: a counterpart to the 1905 secessionist schism over the relative value of the fine and applied arts that confronted the mounting attacks against women’s decorative criminality. The pages to follow detail how, much like the Frauenköpfe, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s radical new league turned the mirror on its critics to subvert the trivializing stereotypes surrounding decorative women’s art and the decorative woman.


The Birth of Expressionist Ceramics

Decorative Trouble Collectivity, Craft, and the Decorative Women of the Wiener Frauenkunst

In May 1926, four months after Klinger’s polemics against Austria’s “feminized” applied arts, Harlfinger-Zakucka inscribed the following motto on the WFK’s protocol book: “We have the courage to say it to your face.”1 Constituting what contemporaries likened to a “female Secession,” Harlfinger-Zakucka’s ultra-modern league broke away from the conservative Association of Austrian Women Artists due to its belief in an aesthetically distinct women’s art and its embrace of women’s supposedly natural connection to the decorative. The older association did not posit the notion of a separate gendered aesthetic but made a case for inserting women into the canon on the same terms as men, keeping its distance from slippages between the decorative woman and decorative femininity that women’s art exhibitions engendered. But in the spirit of rebellion central to the Klimt group at the landmark Kunstschauen twenty years before, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s league faced such stereotypes head-on, declaring, “We are of the opinion that works from women’s hands bear the stamp of their female origins in and of themselves.”2 Like the defiant female gaze in the poster for its landmark 1930 exhibition Wie sieht die Frau? (How does the woman see?), rendered in a streamlined Neue Sachlichkeit style, WFK members resisted the ways in which craft and the decorative were denigrated as modernism’s impure “others” (fig. 44). The WFK’s valorization of “works from women’s hands” not only turned on the antidecorative critics but on association members suspicious of what Anger terms “the lure and threat” of the decorative.3 By 1926, a long-brewing face-off between the association’s decorative and antidecorative women was imminent. The idea of a “female Secession” was an apt trope for increasingly torrid relations among association members.4 Linking expressionist ceramicists with interwar Austria’s most radical painters and sculptors, the WFK’s troublesome Kunstgewerbeweiber laid claim to a confrontational attitude lacking in the conservative association. More and more, the events of 1925–26 harkened back to the tensions dividing the Klimt group




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44. Anny SchröderEhrenfest, cover image for How Does the Woman See? exhibition catalog, 1930. WFK, Wie sieht die Frau? (Vienna: Jahoda und Siegel, 1930).

and the “rump” Secession, questioning the relative value of the fine and applied arts and the relationship of art versus business in members’ affiliations with the WW. Just as in the 1905 “secession from the secession,” wherein the Klimt group inherited the true secessionist spirit, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s league laid claim to a spirit of rebellion while bringing the Klimt group’s philosophies on the unity of art, craft, and decoration into the interwar years. Unique to this female secession was a series of programmatic Raumkunst exhibitions organized by Harlfinger-Zakucka in collaboration with architect Liane Zimbler (1892–1987) that troubled the notion that women’s art could be reduced to a single set of aesthetic characteristics. Ranking as Austria’s first state-certified female architect, Zimbler’s comfort-driven, decorative style of interior design has relegated her to the footnotes of design history. Similar to the ceramic Frauenköpfe—a riposte to tensions surrounding the interwar artist-craftswoman—the WFK’s collaborative projects suggest that the very trope of the decorative woman and her art were not to be taken entirely at face value. This chapter examines the WFK’s problemization of a feminine aesthetic in exhibitions organized around programmatic model interiors that contested the ways in which handcraft and the decorative were being pushed to the margins of modernist value systems. Whereas previous chapters spotlighted particular media, this chapter tells the story of the WW’s “crafty women” from the vantage point of an experimental, woman-centered design collective striving to define “women’s art” on its own terms. It tells the story of an alternative vision of modernist design that, rather than privileging the white walls vaunted by male architectural theorists, resisted the sterility of the masculine “living machine” in favor of collectively designed interiors that valorized a new ornamentalism informed by the formal simplifications of child and folk art but tempered through a geometrical sobriety. Using ornamental textiles, embroidery, and ceramics to soften hard-edged modernist interiors, the WFK created total aesthetic systems catering to the modern female professional’s demand for comfort, domesticity, and flexibility. The WFK’s groundbreaking Raumkunst exhibitions, Das Bild im Raum (The picture in the interior) (1929), Wie sieht die Frau? (How does the woman see?) (1930), and Die Schöne Wand (The beautiful wall) (1933), were nothing less than woman-led crusades against the whitewashed “living machines” that glorified the undomestic (or the “distinctly un-homey”).5 Through a form of feminine ornamental “dress,” the WFK’s decorative women contested modern architecture’s fetishization of the white wall: a supposedly neutral background framed in opposition to fashion that nonetheless, as architectural historian Mark Wigley argues, participated in the very economy of the

fashion it condemned. Even as modernist architecture seemed to be marked by a movement from the clothed to the nude, from fashionability to timelessness, from ornamental dissimulation to the naked truth, the white wall was “still a coat” of paint and a “very particular form of dress.”6 Through textiles, embroidery, and decorative wall painting, WFK interiors celebrated the expressive possibilities of ornament and how the decorative could constitute a source of autonomous aesthetic value. That some of the most innovative work in this “new ornamental style” should have been executed by hand, in the medium of embroidery, only underscores the ways in which female embroiderers have harnessed “the subversive stitch” to invest “meanings of their own in the very medium intended to inculcate their self-effacement.”7 Harlfinger-Zakucka, Zimbler, and the WFK’s “decorative women” put forth an alternative vision of the modernist interior troubling the way that the decorative and the handmade were defined in opposition to modernism. Despite the ways in which this reclaiming of stereotypically feminine media foreshadowed developments in second-wave feminist art, the fact that the decorative woman of the WFK has been variously condemned to the margins of Central European modernism and collapsed with tropes of feminine fashionability testifies to the ways in which the curators and historians of modernism have resisted the decorative and privileged a canon of modernist design that rejected the very notion of “decorative art” as such. Stated otherwise, the category of “decorative art” emerging out of eighteenth-century aesthetic theory (a historically specific set of attitudes toward function, materials, production, technique, and ornamentation, variously encompassing objects understood under the rubrics of craft or minor/applied/industrial art in counterdistinction to the fine arts that served no practical purpose) witnessed its death knell with the modernist promotion of functionalism, rationalism, and abstraction. The Female Secession Harlfinger-Zakucka described Vienna’s female Secession: “The founding of the Wiener Frauenkunst occurred in the year 1926 through the resignation of a string of members from the Association of Austrian Women Artists, who were not able to accomplish their artistic goals in the latter league.”8 Her words alluded to the seething generational and artistic tensions tearing apart the twenty-year-old association that had, to Harlfinger-Zakucka and fellow radicals, succumbed to the same institutional complacency as the post-heroic Secession. Harlfinger-Zakucka’s defense of the interwar Kunstgewerbeweib was directed as much at antidecorative critics as at the association’s “antidecorative” women. Whereas, to the association, the function of the decorative was to serve the monumental fields of painting, sculpture, and architecture, Harlfinger-Zakucka and the decorative women of the WFK recognized no such hierarchy of medium, genre, or material. A further point of contention was the WFK’s radically inclusive definition


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of art making. With its stated goal of “mend[ing] the torn threads between art and life,” the WFK stimulated a creative dialogue between professionals and amateurs to revive matriarchal modes of transmission in domestic handcrafts such as embroidery and textile production.9 Such inclusive definitions of art were rooted in the ideals of positive dilettantism flourishing at the WFA during its most dynamic years. To the conservative association, these nonhierarchical notions of art making that embraced domestic female handcrafts viewed as decorative kitsch teetered perilously close to the old stereotypes of female amateurism and dilettantism it hoped to overcome. The WFK attracted the new breed of multitalented Kunstgewerbeweiber trained at the WFA and KGS around the time of the 1908 and 1909 Kunstschauen. Of the WFK’s founding members, more than half practiced some form of decorative art, often in addition to painting, sculpture, or interior design. More than one-third of founding members were associated with the WW and had participated in the 1925 Paris Exposition. In addition to the vast majority of expressionist ceramicists (including Bucher, Calm, Jesser-Schmid, Kopriva, Kuhn, Neuwalder-Breuer, Singer-Schinnerl, Schmidl, and, unofficially, Wieselthier, who exhibited with the WFK’s 1925 forerunner exhibition before emigrating to New York), the WFK attracted eminent Werkstätte designers and WFA alumni including Likarz-Strauss and Jesser-Schmid, known for their versatility in fashion, textile design, and decorative wall painting, as well as Likarz-Strauss’s professional rival, Flögl. Joining forces with eminent WW designers were independent craftswomen operating in the traditionally masculine fields of metalwork, furniture making, and architecture, including WFA instructor and master silversmith Elfriede Berbalk and a group of artist-craftswomen regularly collaborating with Zimbler (who confessed to seeking out fellow “pioneers” for her all-female architectural design team).10 Harlfinger-Zakucka’s female Secession also attracted large numbers of avant-garde painters, sculptors, and applied artists from the older association. While intermedial artist-craftswomen remained in the minority given its “high” art focus, growing numbers of decorative artists joined the association’s working committee during the wartime years and agitated for programmatic women’s art exhibitions recasting Frauenkunst in a more progressive, thematic direction. During the war, around 20 percent of association members were listed as working in the decorative and applied arts; the association’s sixth and seventh annual exhibitions (February–April 1916 / January–February 1917) represented the applied arts for the first time in significant numbers, featuring collections by Harlfinger-Zakucka and Zweybrück-Prochaska. At a time when women were seizing “men’s work” in industry and everyday life, World War I accelerated a long-standing debate within the women’s movement on the perils of separate artistic institutions.11 Leaders of visionary Austrian feminism, such as pacifist and Neues Frauenleben editor Leopoldine Kulka, voiced heightened skepticism toward “women-only” exhibitions and academies, regarding them as once necessary but now more dangerous than helpful in potentially ghettoizing women.12 As seen previously, the WFA’s conservative faculty espoused the

notion of a separate Frauenkunst, arguing that gender-divided artistic training prevented an unhealthy sort of sexual and artistic hermaphroditism. On one level, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s declaration that works from women’s hands bear the stamp of their female origins seems to reduce Frauenkunst to the same essentialist formula as Kauffungen and Seligmann. However essentialist it may have been, the WFK envisioned Frauenkunst very differently from their conservative teachers, turning the mirror on critics to reclaim the decorative and handmade in art and design. Such a confrontational notion of Frauenkunst was hardly what Kauffungen and Seligmann had in mind in calling for the WFA’s maintenance as a moral imperative in the postwar “civilization without sexes.”13 By 1919, internal feuding within the association’s sharply divided camps had become so apparent that the board’s “left and right” wings were mentioned in its annual report.14 Without discounting the range of styles within and between both factions, members of the association’s right wing worked in academic, impressionistic, or postimpressionist styles, clinging to a hierarchical division of art and craft. Left-wing radicals were influenced by expressionism, cubism, kineticism, and primitivism and rejected hierarchical classifications of genre, media, and materials, believing that handcraft could “think” through contemporary movements in the same way as other media.15 Incontestably, the association’s generational and artistic struggles transcended stylistic divisions—a situation recalling the secessionists’ position in 1897, when they staged their famous walkout from the conservative artists’ guild to advocate for creative freedom, contemporarity, and a more varied aesthetic.16 What divided the female secessionists from the conservative association were the latter’s philosophies on the integrality of art, architecture, and design and its radical attitudes toward what Frauenkunst exhibitions could and should be. To the association’s leftist “decorative women,” the nonprogrammatic, salon-style shows favored by the association’s conservative wing, led by academically trained Baroness Helene von Krauss (president, 1916–23), did little to combat the negative discourse surrounding women’s art. Leading the younger generation of female secessionists was Harlfinger-Zakucka, who joined the association’s working committee in 1916 and showed paintings, decorative art, and a complete interior in its seventh exhibition (January–February 1917). Like her Kunstschau nursery installation, Harlfinger-Zakucka envisioned programmatic Raumkunst exhibitions presenting painting, sculpture, and design as integral parts of larger architectural ensembles. Whereas association leaders tended to believe that such total aesthetic environments would diminish painting’s elevated status, Harlfinger-Zakucka disagreed, a view shared by a circle of progressive artists trained at the WFA including Elfriede Miller-Hauenfels (1893–1962), Hertha Strzygowski-Karasek (1896–1990), Lagus-Möschl, Jesser-Schmid, and Brecher-Eibuschitz (who all served on WFK working committees). Likewise siding with the association’s radical wing were expressionist painters Helene Funke (1869–1957) and Stephanie Hollenstein (1886–1944) who integrated decorative, rhythmic patterns into their canvases.


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Signaling the impending break, adherents of Harlfinger-Zakucka’s modernist camp rallied for the 54th secessionist exhibition (June–July 1919) under the name Freie Vereinigung (FV, Free association). FV adherents favored progressive styles ranging from expressionism to cubism and included WFK members Funke, Lagus-Möschl, Valerie Petter-Zeis, and Emma Schlangenhausen. Short of formally seceding from the association, the FV valued creative freedom and expressivity above styles with assured economic values in an effort to recapture the spirit of youthful rebellion central to the Secession’s heroic years. The association’s diverging artistic philosophies were unmistakable when the FV reunited with the association for a series of exhibitions at the Künstlerhaus (November 30, 1919–February 1, 1920 / February 13–March 3, 1921), a venue symbolic of Krauss’s conservative leadership. Absent from the show was the radicals’ harmonious Raumkunst aesthetic that would have put the fine and applied arts on equal footing. Reviewing the 1921 show, Seligmann polemicized against radicals’ primitivizing impulses, quipping that the “extreme leftists found themselves gathered together in the rooms of the [Künstlerhaus’s] right-hand wing.”17 In a very real way, Seligmann’s slight reveals how the decorative arts occupied a second-class status in the margins of the association’s last exhibitions before the schism (in 1923, 1925, and 1926), cloistered in separate rooms and vitrines. What radicals contested with increasing fervor was how the decorative arts were subject to a separate rubric implying that decorative art and handcraft were not guided by the same elevated sensations as works on canvas. In reviewing the association’s eleventh exhibition (November 4–December 2, 1923, at the Hagenbund), the open conflict between the association’s decorative and antidecorative women was immediately apparent to progressive critic Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, who observed, “The women painters form two sharply divided camps, on the left the “modernists” and on the right and in the middle, the “conservatives.” 18 These radical decorative women included those who did not practice decorative art as such but painters integrating decorative strategies into their work. Telling in this regard was Ankwicz-Kleehoven’s confession that “undoubtedly Stephanie Hollenstein ranks as one of the most talented painters of the radical group, with a collection of boldly colored and interestingly composed landscapes of Lake Constance and Lake Garda.”19 We will return to Hollenstein’s aesthetic modernism and fascist political sympathies in the conclusion. Tensions between the association’s conservative and modernist factions climaxed under Louise Fraenkel-Hahn (president, 1923–38). Despite belonging to the FV, the moderate Fraenkel-Hahn (a specialist in portrait and flower painting influenced by postimpressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit) attempted to find a middle ground between the warring factions. In opposition to Krauss’s conservative leadership, Fraenkel-Hahn preferred staging exhibitions at the Hagenbund, known for its “moderate” modernism. Yet by the association’s eleventh exhibition in 1923, tensions again mounted as conservatives (Krauss, Ella Rothe, Marie Magyar, and Ella Adler) outnumbered radicals and moderates on the executive board. That the hanging and jury committees

were dominated by the younger generation schooled in the secessionist valorization of the decorative hardly helped matters. In a desperate attempt to placate both camps, Fraenkel-Hahn established two parallel juries in 1925: members would henceforth choose which jury to submit their works.20 One juried the applied arts and decorative painting while the other juried painting and sculpture. The dual jury system was subsequently repeated but fell short of radicals’ demands for complete parity for the decorative arts. Ankwicz-Kleehoven noted the rising tensions at the association’s last joint exhibition in 1926, stating, “It is well known that, within their league, the Viennese ladies differentiate themselves into two groups . . . of which one group takes a conservative, the other an ‘extremist’ position.”21 With the landmark 1925 Deutsche Frauenkunst (German women’s art) exhibition, the sharp divisions between the association’s decorative and antidecorative women became permanent. Organized by Harlfinger-Zakucka and association radicals as an overview of avant-garde women’s art from Germany and Austria, Deutsche Frauenkunst opened in September 1925. It included large collections of expressionist ceramics by Singer-Schinnerl, Wieselthier, and Bucher and also represented Rix, Kopriva, Kuhn, and Calm. Werkstätte designers including Flögl, Likarz-Strauss, and Otten-Friedmann demonstrated their versatility in designing textiles, glass, enamelwork, tapestries, and beadwork while Harlfinger-Zakucka and Lagus-Möschl exhibited entire interiors. Intended as a forceful statement of “women’s strivings in all areas of the visual arts,” the league emerging from the show aimed to provide mutual support to women artists across boundaries of discipline and genre; it hoped to be a model of feminist collectivity holding particular resonance as interwar Austria’s “feminized” applied arts came under fire from antidecorative critics.22 The exhibition was supported by the WFA’s progressive faculty (Grom-Rottmayer, Martin, Harlfinger, and Friedrich) and strongly represented the WW artist-craftswomen unaffiliated with the association. Led by Krauss, the association’s conservative faction clarified that “in no way did the show stand in connection to our Association . . . our organization stands completely aloof from the matter.”23 The events that followed not only revisited the artistic, commercial, and philosophical conflicts driving a rift between the progressive Klimt group and rump secessionists in 1904–5 but interrogated the notion of a separate feminine aesthetic in a series of exhibitions that were nothing less than onslaughts against critical attempts to trivialize women’s art and craft. The New Ornamentalism Foreshadowed by the Deutsche Frauenkunst exhibition, the final break between the association’s decorative and antidecorative women came in May 1926, when radicals seceded to found the Verband bildender Künstlerinnen und Kunsthandwerkerinnen Wiener Frauenkunst (Band of women artists and craftswomen—Viennese women’s art), known as the WFK. Observers like Seligmann immediately recognized the event as signaling “a type


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of Secession.”24 Eager to discredit the dissidents, the WFA cofounder suggested that the split had as much to do with personality politics as artistic convictions; qualification for admission to the group was not, he maintained, any sort of coherent artistic program or style but merely “any philosophy that is artistic.”25 Like the old Klimt group, WFK members were not united by a single style, philosophy, or perceived adherence to the feminine aesthetics the group’s name implied. Linking the WFK’s decorative women was a specifically feminist variant of the Gesamtkunstwerk legacy: the conviction that handcrafted “works from women’s hands” were informed by the same transcendent Kunstwollen (will-to-art) as painting or sculpture. Harlfinger-Zakucka envisioned the WFK as a tightly knit band of women artists that would support young talent in the decorative and fine arts, much like Böhm and Klimt had supported her: “The purpose of the league is the mutual, collegial support of its members in general and particularly in artistic affairs in addition to bringing together all valuable ambitions of women in all areas of the visual arts.”26 Such a vision of collegial support between women artists from all fields assumed crucial significance at a time when “works from women’s hands” were under fire for their impure decorative aesthetics. It is hardly coincidental that the WFK’s inaugural exhibition (1927–28) rode the coattails of the media frenzy following Loos’s polemics against the WW’s “painting, embroidering, ceramic-making, valuable-material-wasting dilettante Hofratstöchter.”27 Loos’s lecture of April 20, 1927, not only provoked an “Open Letter to Adolf Loos” from the WW, published in the Wiener Allgemeiner Zeitung on April 23, 1927, but a libel suit against Klinger.28 In the heady atmosphere following the Paris exhibition and Loos’s “Wiener Weh” lecture, the Klimt group’s nonhierarchical definition of “art” that included decorative art and handcraft held special relevance to WW designers joining forces with Harlfinger-Zakucka and association radicals. Harlfinger-Zakucka laid out a philosophy of feminist collectivity in explaining the league’s goals. Unlike the older association, the WFK was founded in the mold of the Klimtian “non-union” that looked askance at traditional art exhibitions as the ideal way to establish contact between artists and the public. As Harlfinger-Zakucka articulated, “The WFK does not want to function in the rigid, worn-out forms of an artists’ league. . . . A small circle of women artists of all branches will function as a standing working-committee to arrange and prepare artistic opportunities. . . . [N]ot only will exhibitions be organized . . . to us, the field for artistic activity is much wider.”29 In framing the WFK as rising above the staleness of conventional league activity, Harlfinger-Zakucka was informed by Klimt’s vision for the Bund Österreichischer Künstler (1912), which was conceived as a fluid “union-without-chains” that brought together artists from different leagues and associations in pursuit of creative freedom and intimate contact with the public.30 Similarly, the WFK was to function, as Harlfinger-Zakucka put it, as a “free working community” that would theoretically transcend the partisan politics and commercial concerns attached to the running of an exhibition house.31 Also

like the Klimt group, Harlfinger-Zakucka did not envision exhibitions or grand public commissions as the end-all method of reaching the broadest public audience. Like her ideological statement, “The WFK and Its Goals,” published in Die Moderne Frau (The modern woman), Harlfinger-Zakucka disseminated the WFK’s mission through modern mass media like popular women’s newspapers and radio and by staging events on women’s clothing and artistic table settings at commercial venues like galleries and shops.32 Furthermore, the WFK privileged a less hierarchical definition of the artist, taking inspiration from the Klimt group’s notion of “the ideal community of artists and creators” and from the conceptions of positive dilettantism that guided the WFA’s early years. As discussed previously, Kunstschau organizers refigured the definition of artist to include not only the solitary (male) genius who actively created but also “those who enjoy art . . . and who are able to finely empathize with and appreciate creativity.”33 In tearing down traditional boundaries between art and life and between professionals and amateurs, the Klimtian Künstlergenossenschaft held great significance to interwar artist-craftswomen like Harlfinger-Zakucka. The fiery organizer argued, “We, as women, feel a particular calling to . . . mend the broken threads between art and life,” praising Gebrauchsgegenstände (objects of daily use) from historical eras when fewer hierarchical distinctions existed between the fine and decorative arts.34 But the female secessionists brought a uniquely feminist agenda to the Klimt group’s philosophies on the beautification of utility. Harlfinger-Zakucka and other WFK leaders promoted a revival of the female handcrafts within the ranks of professional craftswomen and the broader circle of female amateurs practicing handcraft domestically. Reasoning that most domestic handcrafts “came from women’s hands,” Harlfinger-Zakucka wanted to use the WFK to establish the “missing link” between professional craftswomen and domestic amateurs.35 Inspired by the work of WFK craftswomen, modern women were to be impressed with the importance of carrying on decorative handcraft traditions in an era when, as Harlfinger-Zakucka surmised, architects banned color, pictures, and domestic comfort from the interior. In a 1931 radio broadcast with WFK members Zoë Muntenau (1887–?) and Fini Ehrendorfer-Skarica (1898–1986), Harlfinger-Zakucka explained that domestic amateurs needed to strive for the highest artistic expression in the home and resist ideas that domestic handcraft like embroidery was mindless, reproductive work devoid of individual creativity; she stressed that embroidery was a form of making that engaged the mind as well as the hands.36 Lamenting how the domestic amateur was content to “uncritically stitch” preprinted embroidery patterns, often depicting naturalistic images inappropriate to the geometricity inherent in cross-stitch and needlepoint techniques, Harlfinger-Zakucka confessed, “Women are too complacent to consider how it could be. They get these things preprinted and copy them uncritically.”37 She enjoined the amateur embroiderer to take inspiration from the stylized designs of peasant women, unspoiled by false naturalism or imitation, as such designs were better


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suited to embroidery’s inherent flatness. By presenting marginalized forms of female creativity as ways to provide domestic amateurs with potentially liberating pastimes, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s inclusive definition of art clashed with the association’s focus on “fine art.” Zweybrück-Prochaska, familiar to us as pedagogue, toy designer, and folk-art enthusiast, shared Harlfinger-Zakucka’s desire to reinsert the handmade and the ornamental into modernist art and design. Publishing widely on contemporary handcraft, she ran applied-arts workshops, called the Werkstätte Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska, which specialized in textiles and embroidery, in tandem with her progressive craft school for girls (where WFK members including Muntenau, Ehrendorfer-Skarica, and Hertha Sladky [1898–1986] began their careers). Her school and workshops cultivated a “naïve” design language inspired by folk art and children’s drawings that privileged ornament as a source of autonomous beauty and expressivity. In an article seeking to rehabilitate ornament within modernist value systems, Zweybrück-Prochaska deplored, “Ornament has fallen into disgrace for some time . . . [as] an essentially feminine affair.”38 She positioned herself in opposition to Loos, who famously likened the invention of new ornament to regressing to a primitive level of cultural development in his well-known essay “Ornament and Crime.” Whereas both Loos and Zweybrück-Prochaska found the desire to embellish objects of everyday use instinctive to human nature, the latter took issue with Loos’s belief that modern individuals had exhausted the capacity to produce new ornament. She held that ornament had fallen into disgrace during the nineteenth century when artists copied the decorative idioms of previous eras. Unlike Loos, she believed ornament could regain its capacity for autonomous expression by taking inspiration from primitive models free of naturalistic and imitative tendencies. Also in contrast to Loos, who insisted that superfluous ornament must be overcome, Zweybrück-Prochaska maintained that it was “superfluous” to struggle against the primeval drive to embellish.39 She thus attempted to arrest the trajectory of Loos’s essay, which could be crystallized into the oversimplified formula “Ornament equals crime.” Indeed, in what Long dubs the “strange and curious” afterlife of the essay, the finer nuances of Loos’s attitudes toward ornament were routinely brushed aside in favor of positioning Loos as the spiritual father of new international style that turned its back on decoration, ornament, and femininity.40 It was precisely this style that the WFK’s woman-centered Raumkunst exhibitions contested. Against the grain of functionalist interiors banishing anything domestic, handmade, or ornamental, Zweybrück-Prochaska called for a reaction against the new architectural sobriety inspired by Loos to reinscribe ornament into modernist design. A passage from her 1932 article likened the unornamented, whitewashed interiors of the international style to an aesthetic strait jacket, more constraining than the decorative systems against which modernist architects like Loos, Le Corbusier, and Gropius defined their work: “We have abandoned the ornament, because it has been misunderstood, degraded, and

profaned. Nowadays we built sober-looking, practical houses, we live in rooms with blank walls, our furniture is plain and bare of ornaments.”41 Echoing Harlfinger-Zakucka’s rejection of the modernist white-out, Zweybrück-Prochaska maintained that this “fashion” for sobriety might continue indefinitely were it not for “our inmost souls’ eternal longing for rhythm, color and brightness.”42 Here, she implied that the supposedly timeless, whitewashed modernist interior—ostensibly in opposition to feminine fashionability—was just as “fashionable” as previous decorative idioms. Calling for a revival of matriarchal modes of transmission among domestic amateurs and professional artist-craftswomen—a woman-centered lineage anticipating the 1970s feminist collectives—Zweybrück-Prochaska called women to take inspiration from “memories of our mothers and grandmothers’ simple and fine handcraft” and the solid craft knowledge of peasants and primitive peoples.43 “We,” Zweybrück-Prochaska argued, “must also try to ornament and embellish the objects of daily use with our own hands,” to bring beauty, decoration, and domesticity back into the home; these were the qualities she found patently lacking in the new architecture.44 Such handwork might recapture the originality of the ornament of primitives living in fear of nature, and thus, she maintained, ornament could give “birth to a sort of abstract art.”45 It is, however, important to acknowledge that—much like the criticism against second-wave collectives—the overriding concern with the expressive possibility of ornament and the handmade by Zweybrück-Prochaska and her compatriots reflected a particular class and racial position. This economic position, which entailed the time and money required for beautiful handmade objects, precluded a true solidarity with their less advantaged sisters. That this new Viennese ornamentalism endorsed in WFK exhibitions found its most potent expression in textiles and embroidery—“the ur-alte (age-old) domain of woman”—elucidates how WFK members reclaimed traditionally female handcrafts through a strategy of decorative trouble.46 Prodecorative critics and WFK protagonists like Hofmann heralded an ornamental “new Austrian style” in textiles in the mid-1920s.47 At the forefront of the new ornamentalism stood Zweybrück-Prochaska and pupils Sladky, Muntenau, and Ehrendorfer-Skarica along with fellow WFK artist-craftswomen Flögl, Likarz-Strauss, Jesser-Schmid, Lagus-Möschl, Hilde Wagner-Ascher (1901–1999), and Anny Schröder-Ehrenfest (1892–1972). While the new ornamentalism was expressed in a variety of techniques and materials (including woven cloth, hand-painted silks, batik, beadwork, lace, and embroidery), its practitioners shared richness in color and ornamental line, cubist handling of space, synecdochal use of part for the whole, formal tension between geometricity and curvaceous linearity, asymmetrical composition, and reduction of nature into a pure ornament of line. Many of the new ornamental textiles privileged a childlike spatial perspective that, strikingly, seemed to overlap with cubist principles of space and form. In a representational system emphasizing textiles’ inherent flatness, flowers were often depicted from above, as if they were pressed in a herbarium, whereas


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45. Emmy Zweybrück workshops, tulle lace borders, exhibited at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. UAKS. © 2019 Estate of Emmy Zweybrück / J. Celeste Wiedmann / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bruno Reiffenstein, Vienna.


Decorative Trouble

46. Hilde Wagner-Ascher, embroidered handbag, ca. 1929. From WFK, Das Bild im Raum (Vienna: Werthner, Schuster, 1929), 32.

houses and human figures were rendered frontally, as critic Karl Grimme observed, “not much differently than children draw them.”48 The hand-embroidered tulle lace borders that Zweybrück-Prochaska exhibited in the Austrian pavilion at the 1925 Paris Exposition provide apt examples of the formal principles described by Grimme, revealing the artist’s trademark fascination with folk-art forms (fig. 45). These forms include the stylized depictions of the standing bird figurines from her collection and flattened representations of leaves, flowers, and houses (see fig. 21). Executed in contrasting colors that create a sense of dynamism between the abstract geometrical motifs on its surface, Wagner-Ascher’s handstitched-and-woven handbag gives visual currency to Grimme’s observation that the designs’ deliberate primitiveness allowed the makers to achieve a rhythmic ornament transcending naturalism (fig. 46). Modern textiles, Grimme maintained, should not seek to represent nature but exist as rhythmic “ornamental lines, which find their inspiration—but nothing more—in the human figure . . . , flowers, blossoms and animals. . . . Indeed, handcraft should be nothing more than ornamental lines.”49 Likarz-Strauss’s Glasperlen (beaded-glass) handbag, like a number of similar handbags shown at WFK shows, was composed of geometrical elements accented through highly contrasting colors, recapturing the sort of pure, energetic abstraction intimated in Zweybrück-Prochaska’s praise of the ornament of primeval tribes (color plate 27). Both Wagner-Ascher’s and Likarz-Strauss’s handbags belonged to a genre


The Female Secession

of innovative yet deeply old-fashioned (in that they represented a revival of antiquated media) genre of fashion accessories that experimented with similar trends to abstraction as contemporary painting. That some of the most pioneering work of the new ornamentalism was stitched in the fragile medium of embroidery attests to the ways in which the WFK’s decorative women invested new meanings into traditionally feminine media. In her groundbreaking study of needlework, feminist art historian Parker traces the tangled relationship between embroidery, craft, and femininity, highlighting the role played by embroidery in the creation and maintenance of the feminine ideal: particularly how the medium “provided a weapon of resistance to the constraints of femininity.”50 Her book The Subversive Stitch exposes the correlation between hierarchical division of the arts and changing attitudes toward femininity and embroidery: how the Renaissance separation of art and craft emerged at precisely the time when embroidery became the province of female amateurs practicing needlework in the home. By the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, embroidery and femininity had become so thoroughly entwined that needlework was widely regarded as “mindless, decorative and delicate; like the icing on the cake, good to look at, adding taste and status, but devoid of significant content.”51 But it was precisely such attitudes toward embroidery that Harlfinger-Zakucka and Zweybrück-Prochaska contested, both theoretically and in practice. Guided by similar formal principles as in her beadwork, the embroidered tulle of Zweybrück-Prochaska privileged an animated, ornamental line that took inspiration from a synecdochal rendering of natural elements like leaves, shapes, and birds (fig. 47). Of all embroidery techniques, prodecorative critics found tulle embroidery to be the most contemporary, a sort of white-on-white graphic art evoking a dreamlike, otherworldly quality. As one critic observed, “How is embroidery different than shading, a drawing with the needle, a quick, intuitive jotting down of a light play of lines?”52 The delicate, immaterial buoyancy of the tulle seems to elude the heavier, hand-stitched ornament covering it. With its type of deliberately flattened shading with the needle, Zweybrück-Prochaska’s embroidered tulle seems to hover, weightlessly, above the everyday and enter the realm of dreams associated with the nineteenth-century female embroiderer: a transformation achieved not only through its formal qualities but also through its status as a luxury material. Lending formal punch to its almost immaterial quality was the contrast between the sachlich (sober) straightness of the hand-embroidered details and the curved floral and animal shapes enclosing it. While not, like 1970s feminist needlework, overtly political in its aim, such fine handcraft contested the second-class status of traditionally female media in modernist value systems and forcefully demonstrated that textiles and needlework could exist as a sort of abstract art, reiterating the claims WW textile artists like Flögl and Likarz-Strauss had been making for more than a decade.53 New Viennese embroidery and ornamental textiles witnessed an emphatic revival against the white walls touted by functionalist architects in the WFK’s Raumkunst

47. Emmy Zweybrück, embroidered tulle, ca. 1929. From Stickerei und Spitzen Rundschau 29, no. 7 (1929): 150. © 2019 Estate of Emmy Zweybrück / J. Celeste Wiedmann / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


The Female Secession

exhibitions. To bring together this section’s thematic threads, let us turn our attention to a series of essays on ornamental textiles running in Central Europe’s design periodicals at the time of the WFK’s major shows. One article, a review of contemporary ornamental textiles, opens with a personification of “Fashion” taking her revenge against male architects and critics who positioned themselves in opposition to feminine ornamentation: “Smiling with an air of superiority, Fashion goes her way and seems to find pleasure in the opposite of what one expects from it. This year, women prefer richly patterned bright fabrics, while their husbands propound, in lectures and art journals, that ornament is dead.”54 Another article, a satirical essay entitled “Woman and the New Objectivity,” narrated the tale of a well-heeled woman, who, despite grave reservations, was convinced to build and outfit a home in a severe modernist style that took no prisoners in terms of its sobriety and functionality. An unrelieved mass of smooth concrete, with windows like “eye[s] without lashes,” made up the exterior; its interior walls were white, devoid of pictures and decoration; glass, wood, and ceramics were to speak for themselves, to be sachlich (sober, matter-of-fact) in form and purpose; without the slightest concession to comfort, her furniture was rather like gymnastic equipment.55 An ironic play on the figure of the “Poor Little Rich Man” in Loos’s satirical essay (a nouveau-riche client sacrificing comfort to make his home into a decorative Gesamtkunstwerk), the “woman” was made into a prisoner of her antidecorative, streamlined interior, so much so that its unrelenting rationality called her femininity into question. It was possible, the text suggests, that the dictates of male architects not only robbed the woman’s home of comfortable softness but threatened its female occupant with a certain frigidity. In a way that the author insinuates was more “rational” than her house’s über-rational aesthetic system, the woman resists the tyranny of her interior design, giving her home the domesticity that her highfalutin architect forgot.56 Defiantly bringing pictures, textiles, and embroidery into her modernist “living machine,” the woman rebels against the surveilling gaze of the white walls surrounding her. While it is unlikely that these articles were published in direct connection to WFK exhibitions, an important thematic thread ran through both projects. Emerging from the pages of these design periodicals was a broader discourse calling women to throw off the absolutism of the latest, supposedly end-all, fashion for sober Neue Sachlichkeit interiors and to bring ornament, decoration, and domesticity back into the home.57 Like the figure of fashion, the WFK’s decorative women stood poised to exact revenge against antidecorative critics in a series of woman-centered Raumkunst exhibitions, their face-off with the white walls of the modernist living machine. How Does the Woman See? The Decorative Walls of the Wiener Frauenkunst As protagonists of the international style railed against the feminine wiles of ornament, the WFK staged a series of Raumkunst exhibitions showcasing a contemporary language

of ornament in architecture and design. Beginning with the 1929 exhibition The Picture in the Interior, WFK artist-designers presented a series of coordinated aesthetics systems in line with their philosophies on the unity of art and decoration. Such interiors endorsed a new ornamentalism informed by contemporary trends in abstraction and primitivism in a manner that troubled the boundary between art and decor, between the artwork and the decorative frame. The WFK’s major exhibitions (1927–28, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, and 1936) took place at precisely the time of the establishment of the formal and theoretical foundations of what came to be called the “international style.” This style involved a mode of architecture and design turning on function, rationally engineered machine aesthetics, and an absence of ornament that was also, as craft historian Janet Koplos argues, demonstratively anticraft in privileging serial production over handmade objects. The timing of WFK exhibitions was part and parcel of Harlfinger-Zakucka’s strategy of decorative trouble.58 Here, it should be clarified that the WFK was not opposed to the international style’s aims to bring “good” design to the masses, as several WFK shows featured relatively inexpensive, sachlich interiors ostensibly targeted to the petit bourgeois. The WFK’s tension with modernism’s democratic aims was in its insistence on beautiful handmade objects for the home that necessitated a particular level of class privilege due to the expenditure of time and money such objects required. Critics understood WFK exhibitions as confronting criticism surrounding the WW Kunstgewerbeweib and her attempts to elevate (female) craftiness into the level of (male) expression. Speaking to its offensive spirit, Else Ehrlich framed the WFK’s inaugural exhibition at the MfKI (December 1927–February 1928) as nothing less than a long-reckoned “face-off” with misogynist critics via a forceful demonstration of female “abilities, inventiveness and . . . organizational capacities.”59 Richard Harlfinger, who publicized his wife’s radical league in radio broadcasts, framed the same exhibition as a reckoning with critics of women’s creative abilities: “Even the name of this newly founded league functions as a manifesto. Frauenkunst! One will automatically think of Männerkunst (men’s art) and ask himself if any fundamental difference is to be made. . . . The women artists of the WFK do not seem to stand very far from such a conviction.”60 The language of the Frauenkunst catalogues attest to the group’s offensive spirit. Harlfinger-Zakucka’s foreword for the inaugural exhibition catalogue reminded visitors that women were still excluded from regular membership in the mainstream artist leagues (the Secession, Hagenbund, and Künstlerhaus), where they could only exhibit as male colleagues’ guests.61 The fiery organizer maintained that the need to band together in “women-only” groups was a transitory phase that would pass as soon as women artists achieved full institutional equality. Alluding to an artistic battle of the sexes, Harlfinger-Zakucka declared, “We know very well that we will encounter stiff criticism, but we can only wish for it if we take ourselves and our work truly seriously.”62 Such a rebellious, confrontational attitude was hardly what the public expected from “women’s only” art shows.


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The Female Secession

Reviews of Frauenkunst exhibitions praised members’ versatility in the decorative arts, which spanned expressionist ceramics, fashion accessories, textiles, embroidery, and metalwork. Ehrlich extolled the artists’ intermedial fluidity while invoking women’s proclivity for detail and embellishment. She reasoned “Women are considerably more suited to come to the highest perfection in genres focused on beautification and ornamentation.”63 At the 1931 show, one critic went so far as to claim that it was in decorative and applied art that “the best and truest Frauenkunst has developed. Here our women are really at home.”64 Similarly invoking women’s inborn aestheticism, another commentator concurred that it was particularly the applied arts that spoke to “the highly cultivated taste of our women.”65 I will not reproduce acclaim for women’s “natural” decorative abilities ad absurdum, but suffice it to say that the broader press coverage of WFK exhibitions was dominated by familiar linkages between women’s art, decoration, and self-adornment. However, just as how the Frauenköpfe turned the mirror on antidecorative critics, Harlfinger-Zakucka unleashed a strategy of “decorative trouble” to undercut the imbricated discourses on Frauenkunst, femininity, and decoration. While, to critics like Roeßler, recommending women’s natural suitability for fields like embroidery was a method of containing them to mere decoration, Harlfinger-Zakucka harnessed this discourse to subversive ends. Women’s “natural” propensity for the decorative would be used, in a series of unprecedented “women-only” Raumkunst exhibitions, to pry open the masculine fields of architecture and interior design. Critics noted that the WFK’s first Raumkunst exhibition, The Picture in the Interior of 1929, an exhibition presenting painting in the service of interior design, differed from previous women’s art exhibitions through its thematic program.66 While the association had included applied arts in its exhibitions (cloistered in separate rooms and vitrines), WFK’s integration of decorative art, painting, and sculpture into coordinated interiors positioned it as heirs to the Klimt group. The Picture in the Interior presented viewers with variations on the theme of the exhibition’s title in a series of simple, relatively inexpensive interiors designed, furnished, and outfitted entirely by WFK members. The exhibition offered up “pictures” not just in terms of the traditional easel canvas but also as abstract and figural wall paintings, ornamental textiles, embroideries, painted screens, furniture, and the decorative possibilities of the walls themselves. Harlfinger-Zakucka laid out the group’s philosophies in the exhibition catalogue, arguing that the modernist “living machines” that became fashionable in the last decade, which placed a virtual ban on pictures, decorative art, and handcraft, hardly provided for their inhabitants’ spiritual and psychological needs.67 The spirited organizer encouraged the exhibition’s female visitors to demand something higher from the home than a rationally engineered Wohnzweck (living purpose): a comfortable but artistically informed domesticity that would provide for residents’ inner renewal and psychological well-being.68 As the WFK had it, the modern interior should contain art, handcraft, and decorative objects expressing inhabitants’ individuality as the “the highest expression of our inner self.”69

The WFK’s crusade against the antidomestic “living machine” climaxed in The Beautiful Wall of 1933, an exhibition in which easel painting and applied arts were shown as a footnote to wall decoration. Building a case for a return to domesticity in an era of the machine aesthetic, Harlfinger-Zakucka charged, “[We] . . . created the ideal of the blank unornamented wall. But this alone does not satisfy the need for fantasy on the part of inhabitants who do not want to constantly be in the purpose-driven space of a sanatorium. . . . It is not to everyone’s taste to . . . serve the false God of Sachlichkeit (sobriety) forever.”70 The postwar phenomenon of unadorned white walls and rigid functionalism was, she insisted, nothing more than a “fashionable movement rejecting painted decoration of the walls” that would yield to a counter-fashion for color and ornament.71 Building her anti-sachlich crusade on the late nineteenth-century “housewife-as-artist” discourse charging middle-class women with “tasteful” interior decoration as an extension of their proclivity for fashionable dress, Harlfinger-Zakucka called on “artistic women’s hands” to lead the charge against abstemious, whitewashed interiors.72 The exhibition’s female visitors were not just to be passive onlookers but active learners who could go home and fashion their own spaces using the principles laid out in the WFK’s didactic exhibition catalogues, which offered audiences practical guidelines on harmonizing interiors with decorative content and installing artwork. Indeed, critics noted with interest that the women-centered Raumkunst exhibitions were directed mainly at housewives.73 The novelty here was not that women were encouraged to fashion their homes artistically but that the female public at large was enlisted in the feminist project of reclaiming the decorative. Central to Harlfinger-Zakucka’s crusade against the “living machine” was her framing of the white walls of modernist architecture as participants in the same fashionability they supposedly stood aloof from. In his important study, architectural historian Wigley argues that the white wall symbolized a replacement of fashion by the rigors of hard-edged functionalism.74 To the practitioners of the emerging international style, the modernist “white-out” was the ultimate antifashion look, terminating the endless parade of fashionable decorative skins preceding it. But, as a crucial part of fashion is the turning of antifashion statements into fashion, Wigley maintains that the white wall still took part in the economy of the fashion it denounced. The crux of Wigley’s argument hinges on how the leading historians and institutions of modernist art and architecture have advanced the idea that they, just like the particular image of the avant-garde they promote, are somehow above fashion. But Wigley is correct in asserting that such institutions, in continuing to perpetuate the modernist myth of purity and consign the decorative to the margins of history, are never free of fashion. At precisely the moment when the modernist canon was coming into focus, the WFK called out the white walls of the modernist living machine as a phenomenon that was just as fashionable as the decorative art on display in Paris.


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The Female Secession

48. Gabi Lagus-Möschl, lady’s salon (interior design, wall paintings, furniture, and lamps) from The Picture in the Interior exhibition, 1929. From WFK, Das Bild im Raum (Vienna: Werthner, Schuster, 1929), 45. MAK—Austrian Museum for Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna. Photo © MAK.

While antidecorative critics called for a new sobriety that stripped interiors of their dissimulating ornamental dress, The Picture in the Interior celebrated a feminine dressing of the interior through pattern, textile, and ornament. Interior installations included Lagus-Möschl’s lady’s salon; Wagner-Ascher’s applied-arts room; Harlfinger-Zakucka’s nursery, breakfast nook, and library; Jesser-Schmid’s tea room; and Schröder-Ehrenfest’s reception room. Rooted in secessionist educational theory, interiors on view showcased members’ intermedial fluidity between the fine and applied arts in ways that resisted notions of the decorative as the supplemental “icing on the cake.”75 The lady’s salon designed by Böhm student Lagus-Möschl (who continued her studies at the KGS with Moser and von Kenner) upset the notion of the decorative frame as external to the autonomous work of art for it was the decorative walls themselves that were the site of her aesthetic innovations (fig. 48). Specializing in textile design and silk printing and painting for the WW, Lagus-Möschl, like many WFK members, joined the Austrian Werkbund, participated in the 1925 Paris Exposition, and had belonged to the pre-schism association before exhibiting in the 1925 Deutsche Frauenkunst forerunner show. Her salon was outfitted with an upholstered futon positioned on a raised podium with a lamp and armchair echoing the geometricity of the wall decoration. Decorative wall painting rendered in shades of brown on white wallpaper nearly upstaged the painting it enclosed (which in itself was more like wallpaper in its rhythmic repetition of geometrical and figural motifs), complicating the typical role of the frame to announce the autonomy of

what it surrounds. In a variation of the exhibition’s theme, the “picture” (composed of panels of white cloth framed by thin wooden strips) playfully complicates its relationship with the framing wall decoration. The stylized figural motifs of the paneled textile pictures built on the decorative rhythms of the abstract wall painting surrounding them. Similarly offering the decorative as a source of independent aesthetic value was the applied-arts room designed by Wagner-Ascher—a student of Čížek, Böhm, and Oskar Strnad at the KGS, and a Werkbund member (fig. 49). Dominating the space was the artist’s ornamental wall painting, depicting leaves and branches in a schematic perspective, flattened and pressed in the same manner as her embroidery designs. Although the room design included Schlangenhausen’s woodcuts, it envisioned the “picture” differently than an easel canvas. Like the exhibition’s title, installations challenged visitors to critically rethink the function and possibility of “pictures in the interior,” raising nontraditional possibilities including hand-painted screens as the defining pictorial elements (like Schröder-Ehrenfest’s reception room or Jesser-Schmid’s tea room), the walls themselves as pictures (like Lagus-Möschl’s salon or Wagner-Ascher’s applied-arts room), and the entire interior as a picture and/or many pictures coming together in the interior (what applied to each installation). Harmonizing with the ornamental wall paintings were the modern handcrafts displayed in the vitrine: ceramics by Lucie Rie-Gomperz (1902–1995); abstract enamelwork by Otten-Friedmann; and designs for embroidered tulle cloths, decorative


Decorative Trouble

49. Hilde Wagner-Ascher, applied arts room from The Picture in the Interior exhibition, 1929. Design, wall painting, painted glass vitrine with embroidery tulle, wooden boxes, and beaded bags by Hilde WagnerAscher; ceramics by Lucie Rie-Gomperz; and enamel by Mitzi Otten-Friedmann. From WFK, Das Bild im Raum (Vienna: Werthner, Schuster, 1929), 31. MAK—Austrian Museum for Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna. Photo © MAK.


The Female Secession

wooden boxes, bags, and beaded pearl handbags by Wagner-Ascher (similar to fig. 46 and color plate 27). Critics were intrigued by how the rhythmic, ornamental elements of Wagner-Ascher’s wall painting conveyed an impression of tribal exoticism.76 At a time when the invention of new ornament was likened to regressing to the civilizational level of primitives, Wagner-Ascher’s and Lagus-Möschl’s decorative walls wore their “primitive” ornamentalism as badges of honor. Yet in invoking an imagined idea of the tribal as a locus for otherness, the artists’ feminist statement is problematic since it is achieved through the unequal power relationships undergirding the appropriation of “primitive” art, however conceptual such primitivizing influences may have been. Likewise celebrating the decorative was a nursery by Harlfinger-Zakucka, who continued experimenting with avant-garde toy design throughout the interwar years (fig. 50). Notably, the artist wielded a more restrained design language than her Kunstschau nursery while still bringing to bear her characteristic playfulness between constructive and decorative elements. New in this nursery suite was the diminutive scale of its furnishings, consisting of a large, asymmetrical toy chest, a sofa, a suite of table and chairs, and bookshelves, surrounded by light yellow walls. Carried throughout the room was a yellow-and-white color scheme accented by the red checkerboarding set diagonally against the surface of the chest’s white paint. While rationalist principles of nursery design may have influenced her preference for simple geometrical forms, Harlfinger-Zakucka rejected the unadorned, unmodulated colors characterizing Bauhaus design for children. Such design is typified by Alma Siedhoff-Buscher’s well-known Kinderspielzeugschrank (1923), designed for the experimental Haus am Horn (a Bauhaus prototype for modular working-class housing).77 Even though Harlfinger-Zakucka’s toy chest shares the simple geometrical shapes of Siedhoff-Buscher’s designs, her room in The Picture in the Interior privileged a childlike sense of playful informality with the noticeably rebellious asymmetry of the interlocking drawers and the interaction of planar surfaces with the decorative patterns. Evidencing the exhibition’s didactic aims was the artist’s self-devised system of sliding pictures (to be pushed in and out of a picture railing), which provided for the frequent rotation of colorful images to stimulate children’s imagination. This innovation was yet another variation on the exhibition’s theme. A final take on the theme was presented by Schröder-Ehrenfest’s reception room, a space demonstrating her virtuoso fluidity between decorative art and painting (fig. 51). Like the majority of interiors showcased in WFK exhibitions, the room was a collaborative, female Gesamtkunstwerk. While Raumkunst exhibitions were common in interwar Vienna, WFK shows were entirely singular in being organized and designed exclusively by women. A key coordinator was Schröder-Ehrenfest, who exemplified the sort of multitalented artist/designer/craftswomen drawn to the overlapping circles of the WW/Werkbund/WFK participating in the 1920 Kunstschau and other important interwar exhibitions. The recipient of the 1932 Austrian state prize for graphic art, Schröder-Ehrenfest was active in painting and graphic art in addition to textile


Decorative Trouble

50. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka, nursery from The Picture in the Interior exhibition, 1929. Room and furniture designed by Fanny HarlfingerZakucka (executed by Anton Herrgesell) and sliding pictures by Gertrude Schwarz. From WFK, Das Bild im Raum (Vienna: Werthner, Schuster, 1929), 45. Courtesy of the estate of Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka.

design, enamelwork, glass, lace, and embroidery. Her interior at the The Picture in the Interior show was dominated by a white-brick fireplace, accented by her oil painting Pantomine set at an obtuse angle toward the room’s center and flanked by expressionist ceramics by Singer-Schinnerl (a vase on the fireplace and a figure on the chest) and by Calm (the figurine, Cat, on the fireplace). Reclining chairs outfitted with dark upholstery, a simple woven carpet, and a stained, wooden, central table (with a low shelf for holding periodicals) completed the ensemble. Stylistically, the furniture resembled the simple geometrical forms of Harlfinger-Zakucka’s nursery. But what linked Schröder-Ehrenfest’s interior with the more overtly decorative installations was the artist’s intermedial relationships between painting and decoration in her hand-painted furniture: a chest on stand (with a scene in lacquer hand-painted by the artist) designed to hold a liquor service and a coordinating cassone-form chest designed by Schröder-Ehrenfest and decorated by WW colleague Löw-Lazar. Schröder-Ehrenfest’s chest-on-stand superimposes the clean lines and unarticulated planes of modernist design with a décor referencing Renaissance Italy. The urban harbor scene surrounded by an elaborate, ombre inlay evokes the frescos of trecento Italy via its imagery and rendering of perspective and form in a sculptural yet spatially compressed manner. The chest announced its importance as a companion, both stylistically and in narrative content, to Schröder-Ehrenfest’s painting Pantomine above the fireplace. While the painting’s subject is contempary, the figures, rendered in a


The Female Secession

51. Anny Schröder-Ehrenfest, reception room from The Picture in the Interior exhibition, 1929. Chest-onstand with decorative painting by Fritzi Löw-Lazar; design by Anny SchröderEhrenfest; ceramics by Susi Singer-Schinnerl (vase on fireplace and figure on chest-on-stand) and Lotte Calm (cat on fireplace); oil painting Pantomine by Anny Schröder-Ehrenfest; and enamel picture by Mitzi Otten-Friedmann. From WFK, Das Bild im Raum (Vienna: Werthner, Schuster, 1929), 32.

Neue Sachlichkeit style, reference the commedia dell’arte tradition that originated in Renaissance Italy. The formal repertoire of the figural ceramics was also partially inspired by eighteenth-century renditions of commedia figures. Schröder-Ehrenfest drew no distinction between “pictures” on canvas, wood, or embroidery, exemplifying what WFK exhibitions demonstrated so forcefully at a time when the very notion of “decorative art” was under siege. Harlfinger-Zakucka’s crusade against the hard-edged, modernist machine aesthetic not only brought the group widespread attention but won her official recognition. For her tireless organizational efforts in curating Vienna’s first women-only Raumkunst exhibition, Harlfinger-Zakucka received the 1929 Vienna City Prize.78 Harlfinger-Zakucka recruited Zimbler, a selfdescribed pioneer in the male field of architecture, to co-organize further Raumkunst exhibitions in 1930 and 1933. Although the details of her education remain a mystery, and her claim to have been “one of two girls among 40 boys” at a state art school (presumably the KGS) remains unsubstantiated by documentary evidence, Zimbler ranked as one of interwar Austria’s most in-demand female architects.79 But her decorative, comfortable aesthetic has relegated her to the footnotes of design history, unlike better-known contemporaries such as Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, best known for her rationalized Frankfurt Kitchen (1924), or Josef Frank, whose flexible style of interior design, which came to define the Wiener Wohnkultur (Viennese living culture) movement, most closely resembled Zimbler’s.80 Zimbler has been called “the bourgeois equivalent of the social-revolutionary Schütte-Lihotzky,” as her practice, in contrast to the latter’s sustained engagement with working-class housing, catered to an upper-middle-class clientele.81 Zimbler enjoyed a preeminent reputation for her renovations and adaptations of existing interiors, catering to the needs of single career women and intellectual couples with flexible, multifunctional domestic spaces that allowed each partner to pursue his or her professional and cultural interests in a limited space. Blending “masculine” functionality with a feminine eye for color, textiles, and décor, Zimbler was praised by prodecorative critics like Hofmann and Eisler for evidencing housewifely practicality and a womanly spirit that softened the simple, geometrical forms of rationally-designed furniture.82 In the words of Hofmann, Zimbler effectively married “a spirit of architectural expertise with a housewifely prowess for organization.”83 Such commendation of a female architect’s “insider” knowledge of the domestic sphere was not limited to Zimbler, for it was widely believed in German-speaking Central Europe that “a woman architect’s place was in the home.”84 Zimbler was particularly lauded for

using textiles to make unsightly structural elements disappear in existing interiors. In the efficiency apartments she was known for, one of her trademarks was being able to make the Kochnische (kitchenette) disappear through a clever use of curtains, drapery and built-in cabinets. Zimbler agreed with Harlfinger-Zakucka and Zweybrück-Prochaska that, while modern architecture should serve rational functionality, color and ornament should not be banned from the interior. She believed that architects should accommodate flexibility, comfort, and domesticity in accordance with clients’ wishes but in a manner that harmonized with simple modernist forms.85 The architect used the publicity from Frauenkunst exhibitions to capitalize on a series of commissioned interior renovations. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, she collaborated with an all-female design team, including Frauenkunst colleagues Likarz-Strauss (on decorative wall and furniture painting), Bucher (on architectural ceramics), and Lilly Hahn (on weaving and caning). 86 One of Zimbler’s most celebrated commissions was an architectural project critically linked to the genesis and dissemination of Loos’s “Ornament and Crime,” the Leopold Goldman residence at Hardtgasse 27–29, originally designed by Loos in 1911.87 Given the ways in which “Ornament and Crime” turned its back on the feminine wiles of ornament—and how the dissemination of the text was bound up in the heated public controversy surrounding the design of the Goldman and Salatsch Building (1910–12), Loos’s unornamented “House Without Eyebrows”—it is supremely ironic that the decorative women of the WFK collaborated, one last time before the impending political storm, to make over the original Loosian interiors. Together with her team, Zimbler’s renovations softened the masculine austerity of Loos’s design through textiles, color, and a profusion of applied ornament, including architectural ceramics by Bucher and extensive wall painting and ornamental textiles by Likarz-Strauss.88 The WFK’s subsequent 1930 and 1933 Raumkunst exhibitions, both designed by Zimbler, were interpreted by critics as head-on challenges to the modernist prohibition of ornament. In reviewing The Beautiful Wall (1933), prodecorative critic Born positioned the exhibition as contesting the Loosian antiornamental trajectory taken up by adherents of the international style. Announcing the exhibition’s importance, which, similar to the 1929 show, offered diverse interpretations on the theme of the decorated wall, Born stated: “Since Adolf Loos, architecture has done away with superfluous ornamentation. . . . Empty rooms, empty walls became ends in and of themselves. But people . . . have rejected the overrationalized ‘living machine’ at the risk of appearing sentimental and old-fashioned and demanded a home.”89 Given their “thoroughly cultivated taste,” Born found it fitting that the Wohnmaschine crusade was entrusted to “women’s hands.”90 Rather like the character in “Woman and the New Objectivity,” he held that women’s inborn aesthetic drives to decorate the interior made them ideally suited for interior design. Similar leitmotifs touting Zimbler’s “natural” affinity for interior design ran throughout press coverage of her work. Hofmann


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The Female Secession

52. Anna Truxa, curtained wall from The Beautiful Wall exhibition, 1933. Curtain designed and executed by Anna Truxa; wall painting designed by Anna Truxa and executed by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Maler; ceramic figure by Susi Singer-Schinnerl. From WFK, Die schöne Wand (Vienna: Alois Ployer Verlag, 1933).

concurred that it was not technical training but her “housewifeliness” and “womanly ability to organize” that lent her interiors their signature domesticity and comfort.91 So natural was Zimbler’s extension of dressing the self (self-decoration) into dressing the home (home-decoration) that critics wondered, “For what reason do so few women practice interior design professionally?”92 But, as prodecorative critic Rochowanksi noted, more and more women were not only active in designing decorative accessories, as they had been a generation earlier in the WW’s forerunner organization (WKiH), but now they were also designing entire aesthetic systems as Innenarchitektinnen (interior architects), overturning their unofficial restriction to decor rather than architecture proper (as taught in Hoffmann’s architecture class, discussed in part 1).93 Prodecorative critics positioned Frauenkunst interiors—valuing the sort of primitive ornamentation Loos condemned as degenerate—in opposition to Loos’s equation of the decorative with premodern levels of cultural development. While, as discussed previously, Loos never condemned all ornament, the architect likened the new ornament invented to adorn objects of everyday use as little better than eroticized scribbles, like the graffiti covering public lavatories. In Curtained Wall by Anna Truxa (1899–1945) from The Beautiful Wall exhibition, the relevance of Loos’s analogy is immediate. The decorative skin of the white walls, as if incised with patterns of concentric lines like tribal tattoos, seems to revel in its primitive status rather like the childlike design language of the Singer-Schinnerl figure displayed next to it (fig. 52). Informed by the folkish naïveté of Zweybrück-Prochaska textiles, the embroidered curtains rendered flowers, houses, and leaves with the same flattened frontality as contemporary tulle embroidery. Evoking a similarly child- and folk-art aesthetic was an embroidery wall-panneaux shown at the 1930 WFK show by Zweybrück-Prochaska’s pupil Sladky (best known for her children’s book illustration). In cultivating a “primitive” design language flying in the face of antidecorative criticism, such needlework represents a prime example of how, as Parker has argued, female needleworkers harnessed a subversive stitch to invest new meanings into the devalued medium of embroidery. But what of the feminine aesthetics central to the WFK? Did such ornamental interiors validate—or defiantly trouble—the existence of a feminine aesthetic and women’s “natural” inclinations to decorate herself and the objects around her? The answer to this question is provided by the WFK’s most ambitious exhibition, co-organized by Zimbler, Harlfinger-Zakucka, and WFA graduates Lagus-Möschl,

Miller-Hauenfels, Jesser-Schmid, and Strzygowski-Karasek. Anticipating the related question of Wie sieht die Frau—aus? (How does the woman look?), the title of its landmark 1930 show, Wie sieht die Frau? (How does the woman see?), suggested deliberate slippages between woman as object and subject, between ideas of women’s art and the womanly arts of self-decoration. Staged in the Hofburg’s Glaspalast (glass palace), the exhibition was planned to coincide with a major feminist congress held in the Hofburg, the eighth quinquennial council meeting of the International Council of Women (of which the WFK was an affiliate), and included additional events such as a WFA school exhibition and Zimbler’s guided tours of modern interiors, which were designed to appeal to delegates.94 Demonstrating how divergent the artistic philosophies of the WFK and the older association had become, the 1930 congress hastened a showdown between interwar Austria’s competing women’s artist leagues vying not only for government funding but for the congress’s female visitors. Taking, as Plakolm-Forsthuber rightly maintains, a far “less risky” approach than the WFK’s challenging Raumkunst-themed show, the association presented visitors with a retrospective of contemporary and historical women’s art, entitled Zwei Jahrhunderte Kunst der Frau in Österreich (Two hundred years of the art of the woman in Austria). This exhibition was little more than a rehashing of its 1910 show and lacked the innovative spatial aesthetic characterizing the WFK’s more ambitious undertaking.95 Significantly, even though the association included selections of applied art (including vitrines of WW ceramics), decorative art was judged and exhibited separately. By contrast, How Does the Woman See? was themed around avant-garde Raumkunst installations integrating decorative art, painting, and sculpture. The exhibition’s claims to the masculine field of architecture, in addition to its groundbreaking catalogue, aimed to capture the interest of the congress’s progressive female visitors. Zimbler took responsibility for the exhibition’s architectural layout and designed a garden terrace, the exhibition’s central hall, and a lounge (in collaboration with Likarz-Strauss and Bucher) to accommodate visitors. The exhibition’s central hall, from which further galleries radiated, contained large glass showcases set into the walls displaying ceramics, embroidery, and beadwork by Bucher, Flögl, Kopriva, Otten-Friedmann, Zweybrück-Prochaska, and Likarz-Strauss (figs. 53–54). Zimbler’s lounge evoked a similar “primitive” ornamental style as other WFK interiors. In contrast to the white walls surrounding the display vitrines, the walls in the lounge were interlocking, asymmetrical panels used to frame the space’s visual centerpiece: an assemblage of Likarz-Strauss’s batik wall panels (fig. 55). The narrative panels, consisting of exotic scenes of travel and stylized vegetal ornament in stylistic harmony with the technique’s primitive connotations, demonstrated Likarz-Strauss’s virtuoso command of the Indonesian folk-art technique (which, as discussed earlier, was revived by secessionist educators). Depicted in its central panel were a man and woman with strikingly androgynous features wearing richly patterned textiles (fig. 56). Highlighting the wall


Decorative Trouble


The Female Secession

53. Liane Zimbler, central exhibition hall from How Does the Woman See? exhibition, 1930, with stage, lounge (right), and display cabinets embedded in wall (upper left). Ceramic figure Girl (on low wall to right) by Susi Singer-Schinnerl. From DKD 66, no. 11 (1930): 296. 54. Liane Zimbler, decorative arts display, central exhibition hall from How Does the Woman See? exhibition, 1930. Including works by Hertha Bucher (Durchbrochene Keramik), Mathilde Flögl, Erna Kopriva, Mitzi OttenFriedmann (enamel picture), Maria Likarz-Strauss, and Emmy ZweybrückProchaska. From DKD 66, no. 11 (1930): 301.

panel’s exotic otherness were a caned chair with particularly unusual armrests, a textured woven rug, and angular, cubist-inspired fireplace fixtures by Bucher. It was, altogether, a woman-centered vision of interior design, superimposing the tribal onto simple modernist forms. In laying claim to a deliberately rough, primitivist ornamentalism that clashed with the feminine aesthetics touted by the group’s name, the avant-garde Raumkunst shown at How Does the Woman See? seemed to unnerve male critics. As Plakolm-Forsthuber rightly noticed, reviewers for leading Viennese dailies found the show entirely lacking in softness, modesty, and the motherly, insinuating that this “female Secession” left something to be desired in its femininity.96 If critics likened the WFK to an unfeminine female Secession, embodying the defiant spirit once animating the Klimt group after it seceded from the “rump” Secession, then the WFK’s 1930 exhibition took on a similar meaning as the 1908 Kunstschau to the Klimt group. The 1908 and 1930 exhibitions represented the zenith of both groups’ attempts to integrate painting, sculpture, and design through Raumkunst principles that would enlighten the public and foster close contacts between those who created and consumed art. The WFK’s 1930 show represented the climax of its crusade of contesting the ways in which the decorative and the handmade were being pushed to the margins of modernist value systems. But the WFK’s 1930 show not only contested the decorative’s second-class status artistically but also theoretically, through groundbreaking catalogue essays addressing the notion of a gendered aesthetic. The WFK took up the question of how the woman sees in its exhibition catalogue, inviting prominent artists and intellectuals to weigh in on the question. Schröder-Ehrenfest’s catalogue cover image visually summarizes what Harlfinger-Zakucka and Zimbler sought to achieve (see fig. 44). Rendered in a matter-of-fact Neue Sachlichkeit style, the modern woman artist confronted viewers with an awareness of the trivializing formulas with which her work was perceived. At once both subject and object, the woman’s features were strikingly androgynous, lacking the face paint that misogynist critics conflated with Frauenkunst. Essays were written by the leaders of the Austrian women’s movement including Hainisch and Mayreder, both introduced in part 1; pro- and antidecorative


Decorative Trouble

55. Liane Zimbler, lounge from How Does the Woman See? exhibition, 1930. Batik wall panneau by Maria Likarz-Strauss; ceramic fireplace by Hertha Bucher. From DKD 66, no. 11 (1930): 299.


The Female Secession

56. Maria Likarz-Strauss, detail of the batik wall panneau from the How Does the Woman See? exhibition, 1930. From DKD 66, no. 11 (1930): 291.

critics like Tietze, Seligmann, Born, and Hofmann; and contemporary performing and visual artists including Carry Hauser and Alexander Goltz. Answers to the core question varied widely. Some commentators pointed to the societal tendency to conflate women’s art with women’s propensity to decorate themselves and use cosmetics (like critic Born and philologist Gertrude Herzog-Hauser), others denied the notion that “woman” saw differently altogether (like Hainisch and Mayreder), and still others inscribed women’s art with notions of sexual difference (like Tietze and Seligmann). Indeed, despite their otherwise polar views on modern art and design, Tietze and Seligmann—critics both central to the story of this book—concurred that true Frauenkunst was rooted in women’s sexual nature. Tietze maintained that woman’s ability to see “as mother and eternal child” gave her creative powers far surpassing men; the childlike works of Marie Laurencin or the motherly art of Käthe Kollwitz possessed “a value beyond all male abilities.”97 Imitating male modes of expression in an artistic battle of the sexes was, therefore, both misguided and unnatural. The ultraconservative Seligman similarly held that women artists’ impressionability related to their reproductive roles. Based on his experiences at the WFA, an institution he now led as director (1926–32), Seligmann maintained that tendencies for creative dependency and imitation were significantly more pronounced in female art students: women tended to “see” like their teachers or husbands and were noticeably more susceptible to radical artistic movements.98 Yet he held that female art students tended to be more versatile and frequently surpassed male colleagues in energy, dedication, and ambition.99 For its part, the WFK claimed to remain neutral on the question and did not author a catalogue essay. Despite, or perhaps because of, the sheer variety of responses garnered, the mere act of raising the question of how women see represented a pioneering interrogation of the stereotypes attached to women’s art, effectively troubling the notion that Frauenkunst could be reduced to a single set of aesthetic characteristics. It raised the possibility that the very trope of feminine art it cultivated was not to be taken entirely at face value, rather like the subversive thrust of the Frauenköpfe. Perhaps Harlfinger-Zakucka’s response to the exhibition’s riddle could be found indirectly through the essays of the Austrian feminists Hainisch and Mayreder, who had helped to cofound the WFA. In stark contrast to Tietze and Seligmann, these leaders of the women’s movement flatly denied the existence of a gendered aesthetic and the expression of sexual difference through art. Hainisch, president of the League of Austrian Women’s Associations and member of the WFA’s inaugural executive committee, argued, “In my opinion, woman sees as an individual,

not as a creature of her sex. Her way of seeing is not influenced by her sex but by her intellectual personality.”100 Reprinted next to Rochowanski’s favorable review in Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, perhaps the most provocative answer to the question was provided by feminist philosopher and WFA cofounder Mayreder. As seen in chapter 1, Mayreder had been a guiding force of the WFA in its early years, supporting the bonds of female collectivity flourishing there among amateurs and professionals alike. But Mayreder gradually became alienated from the school, buckling against the essentializing definitions of “women’s art” that Kauffungen and Seligmann promoted. She held: “I can hardly answer the question of ‘How Does a Woman See?’ due to the standpoint I take on the gender question. I represent the point of view that gender difference, beyond basic sexual characteristics, is only a formal, but not an essential, difference. . . . I could not say to what extent the works of a Rosa Bonheur, an Angelika Kaufmann, a Tina Blau, a Feodorowna Ries, or a Käthe Kollwitz are seen as specifically feminine. . . . In my opinion, those with talent look differently than those lacking talent, but this has nothing to do with gender difference.”101 Mayreder proceeded to assault the feminine aesthetics invoked by other essayists, arguing that what was indexed as specifically feminine—woman’s supposed proclivity for minute detail work, miniatures, and flower painting—was equally present in the work of male contemporaries. The strongest artists were synthetic individuals whose work rose above particular qualities assigned to their sex. Taking a direct shot at the essentialist position represented by Seligmann and Tietze, Mayreder concluded by remarking, “One does no favor to the female sex by thinking that characteristics useful and laudable in erotic life are operative in the heights of artistic and intellectual creation.”102 I argue that both through catalogue text and the avant-garde Raumkunst on display, the WFK’s landmark 1930 exhibition attempted to expose Frauenkunst as a discursive field constructed by male critics, lacking any sort of internal feminine essence. Perhaps the most profound validation of Mayreder and Hainisch’s arguments that women “see” as individuals and not as creatures of their sex was the critics’ praise of the remarkable diversity of individual design languages in the decorative arts. Prodecorative critics observed how one could hardly mistake the ceramics of Singer-Schinnerl for those of Bucher or the uniqueness of Wagner-Ascher’s needlework as compared to the dreamlike quality of Zweybrück-Prochaska’s.103 We must therefore understand Harlfinger-Zakucka’s bold proclamation at the beginning of the exhibition catalogue—“Works from female hands bear the stamp of their female origins in and of themselves”—as a confrontational provocation to misogynist critics even as it spoke to a very real belief that women did see differently and had access to a unique expressivity because of their historical exclusion from art institutions.104 The WFK’s valorization of the decorative and handmade did not confirm the existence of a separate gendered aesthetic in the way misogynist critics theorized but pointed


Decorative Trouble


The Female Secession

to the ways in which decorative women’s art was a discursive category constructed by male critics. The group’s reclaiming of traditionally feminine media and genres and its celebration of the decorative and the handmade foreshadowed the ways in which later feminist artists, such as Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, would use women’s handcrafts to critique modernist value systems.105 In attempting to dislodge fixed oppositions between art and craft, between the decorative and the profound, and ultimately between what was indexed as masculine and feminine in art, architecture, and design, Harlfinger-Zakucka and the WFK questioned gendered aesthetics and an artistic hierarchy in ways that would likewise be central to the second-wave feminist movement in the arts. But second-wave feminists were unaware of the efforts of Harlfinger-Zakucka, Zweybrück-Prochaska, and Zimbler to reclaim the decorative and traditionally feminine media. The WFK, like the WFA, would be caught up in the impending political storm after 1938.

Conclusion The Collapse of the Female Secession, 1928–38

The closing of the Austrian parliament in March 1933 and the calling of the Austro-Fascist corporate state in 1934 brought a definitive end to the avant-garde women’s art movement. Headed by the conservative Fatherland Front, the Austro-Fascist corporate state preferred conservative, ideologically compliant art referencing Austria’s stable, well-ordered Habsburg past rather than her more uncertain future.1 The Secession itself, which had once stood for openness and nonconformity, had long ceased to be a sacred spring of artistic innovation and lost much of its dynamism even before the Anschluss to Germany.2 More ominous, however, was the undisguised espousal of anti-Semitic and National Socialist ideals within Viennese artistic institutions. In June 1933, politically conservative, Catholic members of the Austrian Werkbund, led by Hoffmann and Clemens Holzmeister, resigned from the organization on the grounds that its present leadership had deviated from its founding ideals of quality craftsmanship and individual expression for the principles of industrial design and internationalism supposedly guiding the 1932 Werkbundsiedlung (Werkbund housing development). They alleged that this group, organized by Frank, was distinctly “un-Austrian” in its stylistic affinity to the German Werkbund’s 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung (Weissenhof housing development).3 Yet the real reason for the split was political: the old Werkbund, led by Social Democrats like Frank, had been thoroughly “jewified” and had, as Hoffmann alleged in a letter circulated to all Werkbund members that summer, forgotten their native soil for an alien, soulless style.4 The year following the split, the new organization called the Neuer Werkbund Österreichs held an exhibition, trenchantly titled Das befreite Handwerk (The liberated handcraft), reifying the WW’s commitment to ornamental expression and finely crafted individual objects.5 But the Austrian character of the decorative was stressed in a particularly forceful and politically chauvinistic way by how the new Werkbund purged itself of leftists and Jews (including the large number of Jewish artist-craftswomen affiliated



The Female Secession

with the WW, Werkbund, and WFK) and the fact that the exhibition, whose catalogue implied a pronounced tendency for decorative ornamentalism, expressed feelings for the Austrian Heimat (homeland). Two years before, the Secession had undergone a similar Aryanization when it excluded the Jewish members of the Klimt group from its ranks.6 By 1935, with the election of party member Alexander Popp as president, the Secession was under the firm control of artists with undisguised National Socialist sympathies, including several who would lead the nazified WFA. The Kunstgewerbeweib central to the interwar female Secession found outright hostility in the tense political atmosphere of the 1930s. The WFK organized one final exhibition in Spring 1936 before the Anschluss to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its split from the conservative association. In her characteristically uncompromising attitude, Harlfinger-Zakucka voiced skepticism in the catalogue preface as to whether the WFK’s tenth anniversary should be celebrated at all, in light of the fact that separatist women’s shows were still necessary: “When we founded our league ten years ago, we did it because we only enjoyed limited guest rights in the existing associations and our desires could not be satisfied by organizing our collective artistic achievements in our own circles—whether or not in exhibitions. But these conditions exist today unchanged, and with them, the grounds for our league’s continued existence.”7 The tireless organizer revealed a deep-seated disappointment that her separatist strategy had not given way to institutional integration, the ultimate, if unstated, goal of her rhetoric all along. Nonetheless, Harlfinger-Zakucka and the exhibition’s other organizers, including fellow WFA graduates Miller-Hauenfels, Petter-Zeis, and Strzygowski-Karasek, were attuned to the changing cultural and political field under the corporate state.8 Harlfinger-Zakucka’s request that the Ministry of Education support the exhibition through the awarding of state prizes and a personal opening by Federal President Miklas was met with bureaucratic ambivalence. The ministerial official handling the case apprehensively noted that the WFK “represented the so-called modernist direction within the women’s artist leagues, cultivating the decorative arts” and that a personal opening of the exhibition was not advisable because competing leagues might take offense.9 As if brought to heel by its tepid official reception, the radical rhetoric in the preface was not matched by an equally daring Raumkunst presentation. Representing fewer artists than during its heyday, the exhibition grouped members’ works alphabetically and lacked the provocative feminist agenda characteristic of prior thematic exhibitions. With the absence of the leading lights of the defunct WW/Werkbund circle, even staunch supporters like Hofmann admitted that the decorative art included in the 1936 show was in need of revitalization.10 In light of the impending nazification of cultural institutions, in August 1938 the WFK moved to dissolve itself and delete its name from the official register of leagues and associations.11 After the Anschluss, a so-called Stillhaltekommissar (liquidation commissar) for associations, organizations, and leagues was charged with bringing such groups

into line with the so-called cultural Gleichschaltuung (coordination): all nonobjectionable professional organizations and voluntary societies were to purge their membership of “non-Aryans” and have their statutes and leadership taken over by politically reliable individuals.12 Henceforth, with institutional and associational life centralized under the supervision of Reich Minister for People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, only artists, architects, and designers holding membership in the Reichskulturkammer (Reich chamber of culture) could practice or exhibit. But the WFK could hardly, as Sabine Plakolm-Forsthuber argues, “be brought into line” because of its high percentage of Jewish members and progressive modernist views.13 I would add, however, the following qualification to Plakolm-Forsthuber’s reasoning: the disbanding of the WFK should not be interpreted as an uncomplicated expression of National Socialist anti-modernism. Persisting into the 1990s, the predominant view of artistic developments after 1933 was that of a virulent, wholesale rejection of modernist art and design. Central to the crusade of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP, National Socialist German workers’ party) against modernism was a technique of comparative defamation through which modernist artworks were counterpointed with works by children and the mentally ill: a strategy climaxing in the 1937 Degenerate Art exhibition.14 In applied design, National Socialist cultural policy was typically understood as “a return to craft values, völkish (folkish) ideals of Handwerk, and small-scale production within the rhetoric of small-town Germany.”15 However, scholarship from the decades around 2000 has shown the relationship between National Socialism and modernism to be a more complicated phenomenon.16 In the regime’s early years, a “battle for art” raged between the party’s anti- and pro-modernist factions in which the latter hoped that expressionism might be endorsed as representing distinctly Germanic cultural impulses.17 Despite the conservative, folkish faction’s triumph, key aspects of modernism and fascism proved complementary in the visual arts and industrial design.18 Much continuity existed in the fields of design and handcraft in particular, as Werkbund ideals of simplicity, clarity, and honesty of form were appropriated through programs such as Albert Speer’s “Beauty of Work” household design initiative and the Fabrikausstellungen (factory exhibitions) for the working classes as exemplars of “good,” unornamented German design.19 The fact that modernist ideals of Sachlichkeit and functionalism continued to flourish throughout the National Socialist “battle for art” reveals the ways in which the less prestigious field of design was accorded considerable more leeway than the “fine” arts—so much so that German industrial design “remained uniquely pro-modern in both rhetoric and styling.’”20 Yet the Viennese tradition of decorative and expressive ornamentalism, so closely linked with the “Jewish” taste of secessionist Vienna, hardly accorded with the Nazis’ selective appropriation of modernist design. Artists like Wieselthier, Zweybrück-Prochaska, and Likarz-Strauss, who created decorative art and handcraft that was formally and thematically provocative and asserted its autonomous status free of function, clashed




The Female Secession

with the regime’s attempts to resurrect the hierarchy of the arts and retain biologically defined gender roles. In 1939, paralleling the Secession’s forced incorporation with the conservative artists’ guild, ten of the WFK’s “Aryan” members—several of whom had co-organized the 1936 show—fused with the old association to form the Künstlerbund Wiener Frauen (Union of Viennese women artists), whose name was later changed to the Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen der Ostmark im Großdeutschen Reich (Association of women artists in the eastern march of the greater German empire). Rudolfine Lackner, the association’s president from 1998 to 2011, captured the irony of this institutional incorporation: “The artists who continued to be active . . . were incorporated back into the VBKÖ again; within precisely that ‘conservative’ program that the WFK had successfully distanced itself from during the time of its formation.”21 The cohort of ten former WFK members joined the coordinated association, including four WFA graduates (Miller-Hauenfels, Styrzgowski, Lydia Schütt-Lunaczek [1891–1969], and Grete Wilhelm [1887–1942]) and six artists from other institutions (Bucher, Cyrenius, Hollenstein, Truxa, Christa Deuticke-Szabo [1895–1958], and Hilde Leitsch-Uray [1904–1990]). The Aryanized association was headed by Hollenstein, a “free-spirited, cross-dressing expressionist artist,” who hardly adhered to the conventional picture of National Socialist womanhood.22 Joining the old association in 1923, Hollenstein was closely associated with Harlfinger-Zakucka in the period leading up to the schism and served on the working and hanging committees for all major WFK exhibitions.23 Largely self-taught in the pastures of her family farm in Vorarlberg, where, for lack of proper supplies, she improvised paints and brushes from berries and animal hair, Hollenstein’s penchant for expressive spatial distortion and bold colorism earned her the sobriquet of die Schiefmalerin (the crooked woman painter).24 Large collections of her most radical landscapes executed with a palette knife in highly contrasting colors were featured in the WFK’s 1927 and 1931 shows. But a commitment to aesthetic modernism and an unconventional lifestyle did not preclude Hollenstein’s espousal of pan-Germanic patriotism and fascism. During World War I, the artist assumed the transgender identity of “Stephan” to serve on the Italian front, first enrolling as an orderly with the Vorarlberg militia from 1914 to 1915, earning medals for bravery, and then joining the Austro-Hungarian army’s art squadron in 1916, a regiment of artists and writers commissioned to document life at the front.25 Hollenstein’s transgender practices—which had won the artist a certain respect in the militia—continued after she settled in Vienna in 1916.26 Affiliating herself with the VBKÖ’s radical wing, Hollenstein attracted controversy for her daring artwork and “masculine” appearance: short boyish hair, simple clothing and caps, and a refusal to wear makeup or jewelry.27 In the 1930s, Hollenstein came under the spell of the fascist strongmen, becoming a fervent National Socialist party member during the Verbotszeit (the period from 1933 to 1938 when Austro-Fascist chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss outlawed the Austrian NSDAP).28 In 1939, the politically reliable Hollenstein was appointed president of the coordinated VBKÖ and presided

over the Aryanization of its membership. A member address book annotated with racial classifications—such as Jüdin (Jewess), Halbjüdin (half-Jewess), 1/4 Jüdin (1/4 Jewess), Jüd. Geheiratet (married to a Jew), and Vollarierin (full-blood Aryan)—remains a chilling reminder of Hollenstein’s role in enforcing the Nuremberg Laws, with Jewish artists like former president Fraenkel-Hahn stripped of her membership and forced into exile.29 Hollenstein organized four major exhibitions (in 1940, 1941, 1942, and 1944) as president of the coordinated VBKÖ, which, through a predominance of flower paintings, Heimat (homeland) landscapes, and folkloric genre scenes, visualized the “blood and soil” ideology touted by conservative party ideologues. The largest of these was held in the former Secession (renamed the Exhibition House Friedrichstrasse) from June–July 1940.30 The show attracted a record number of visitors through its promotion by the NS-Frauenschaft (National Socialist womanhood), the party organization for women headed by Gertrud Scholz-Klink. The exhibition’s centerpiece was a collection of paintings by Strzygowski-Karasek, a former student of Seligmann at the WFA, depicting peasant costumes from German-speaking regions of the Carpathian mountains (fig. 57). Also featured were landscapes by WFA graduates Miller-Hauenfels and Schütt. Strzygowski-Karasek was influenced as much by Old Master portraiture as Neue Sachlichkeit magic realism in her exacting and uncanny attention to detail. Her jewel-toned folk scenes and landscapes complemented the standards of officially sanctioned “German” art showcased at the Große deutsche Kunstausstellungen (GDK, Great German art exhibitions) in Munich. That some of Hollenstein’s most innovative expressionist canvases, such as Positano città morte (1931), were shown at the 1938 GDK and were purchased by party leaders



57. Exhibition of Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen in the former Secession building, main hall, paintings by Hertha StrzygowskiKarasek, June–July 1940. From Kunst dem Volke 11, no. 9 (1940): 42.


The Female Secession

demonstrates how slippery the boundary between officially approved and modernist art often proved to be, even after Adolf Hitler’s famous 1937 denunciation of modernism.31 Although the exhibition was praised by a National Socialist art periodical as a model of what fleißige Frauenhände (industrious women’s hands) could bear, what was patently lacking at this and subsequent exhibitions was the sort of transgressive decorative art central to the interwar women’s art movement.32 Of all the WW artist-craftswomen, only Bucher, who had taken part in Hoffmann’s Aryanized arts-and-crafts exhibition (The Liberated Handcraft) six years before, joined the coordinated association. Yet her later work, including a figural ceramic relief depicting children at play displayed at the association’s 1942 show, lacked the provocative charge of her output from the 1920s and 1930s. In line with the National Socialists’ demands for a return to aesthetic clarity, Hollenstein’s association favored a practical Werkkunst, a term referencing design with a commitment to Werkbund ideals of quality, simplicity, and undecorated surfaces, in place of expressive Kunsthandwerk (arts and crafts). Just as National Socialist propaganda urged women to return to “a biological and racial essence expressed in motherhood,” decorative art and handcraft was to renounce the boundary-defying artistic and sexual hermaphroditism symbolized by the interwar Kunstgewerbeweib.33 The subversive potential of the decorative and the expressive handcraft movement would be forgotten, redomesticated into a symbolic cabinet of curiosities. In its place was Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen (artistic women’s work), decorative art serving the National Socialist rhetoric on quality craftsmanship and a folkish connection to the soil. A prime example is a massive trousseau painted by students of the nazified WFA. That the chest, along with a Deutscher Festraum (Germanic festive room) and wedding feast table, had been designed according to what one critic described as “folk-art principles” suggests how the vernacular had been appropriated in a manner seemingly at odds with the primitivizing, childlike aesthetics of the WW artist-designers examined throughout this book.34 Uncoupling folk art from its previous linkages to the exotic, National Socialists looked to Germanic folk art as materializing its blood-and-soil ideology, untainted by the Jewish, socialist influences of the cities. As interpreted by the leaders and students of the nazified Women’s Academy, folk art now stood for a vital connection to the Germanic Heimat that tethered the regional and local to a broader German national identity. Indeed, despite the continued interest in folk art by progressive WFK artists, it had become firmly linked with the right-wing Heimat movement by the time of the Anschluss. Presiding over the dismemberment of a movement she had cofounded, Hollenstein rose to become one of the most powerful women artists in the Ostmark before her death on May 24, 1944 at age 58, due to cardiac problems. The VBKÖ’s annual 1944 exhibition, which was held at the premises of the Aryanized Hagenbund and featured a large collection of Hollenstein’s Bodensee motifs, took on the trappings of a funeral celebration for the deceased president.35 Surrounded by flowers, a bust of Hollenstein

by association member Gusty Mundt shrouded in black drapery was the focal point of the exhibition, accompanied by somber chamber music provided by a string quartet composed of members of the Vienna Philharmonic.36 For the majority of WFK artist-craftswomen, accommodation with Hollenstein and the activities of the coordinated VBKÖ was neither desirable nor possible given their classification as Jews or other persecuted groups. A large number of members and associated artists were forbidden to work, forced to emigrate, or deported. Jesser-Schmid and Kopriva (KGS faculty in painting and applied art, respectively) were forbidden to work in 1938 and forced into retirement (they were reactivated as KGS teaching staff after the war).37 WW artists who fled Austria and emigrated to safer countries include Likarz-Strauss (to Yugoslavia and Rome), Wagner-Ascher (to London), Otten Friedmann (to New York), Lagus-Möschl (to Italy), Rie-Gomperz (to London), and Löw-Lazar (to Denmark in 1933, to England from September–October 1939, and to Brazil from 1939 to 1955; she finally remigrated back to Vienna in 1955).38 Among the WFK’s visual artists forced into exile was painter and children’s book illustrator Bettina Ehrlich-Bauer (1903–1985), the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, who participated in five major WFK exhibitions (1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1938) and was known for her unique, seemingly childlike and naïve variant of magic realism.39 Additionally, a sizeable number of members were murdered in concentration camps, including sculptor Neuwalder-Breuer, painter/graphic artist Helene Taussig (1879–1942), Böhm school member and Kunstschau 1908 participant Marianne Deutsch (1885–1942), and possibly others like ceramicist and Wieselthier protégé Rix, who disappeared from written sources in the mid-1930s.40 By the time the WFK was dissolved, several of its leading forces had already established themselves in exile. WFA alumna Wieselthier, coming from an assimilated Jewish background typical of interwar artist-craftswomen, left a decade before the Anschluss. In light of the growing financial problems plaguing the WW, Wieselthier decided to emigrate to New York in 1928 (first provisionally and then definitively after the WW’s 1932 collapse). She capitalized on her favorable reception at the 1928/29 International Exhibition of Ceramic Art, an important exhibition originating at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that traveled to five American cities. In addition to Wieselthier, other Austrian participants included Singer-Schinnerl, Baudisch, Bucher, Rix, and Kuhn. Curating an image in America as a naïve, happy-go-lucky child-woman, Wieselthier rebranded herself as a ceramic sculptor, creating oversize earthenware figures that transported female craftiness and wheel-based vessel techniques into the realm of the monumental. Works such as the mannequin-like Modern Youth (1928), exhibited at her first solo exhibition in New York, showed the artist’s proclivity for self-reflexive parody at its height (fig. 58). Like her trademark Frauenköpfe, the construction and decoration of Modern Youth was animated by a transparent artificiality that troubled the idea of “natural” feminine beauty. Enjoying a distinguished exhibition record of one-woman shows and regular participation in group exhibitions, Wieselthier was celebrated in the




The Female Secession

58. Photograph of Vally Wieselthier with her glazed earthenware sculpture Modern Youth, 1928. From DKD 64, no. 7 (1929): 38.

Austrian press as “conquering the new world” and “teaching America a lesson” about the expressionist possibilities of the medium, most readily taken up by the Cleveland school of ceramic sculptors.41 Notably, Wieselthier’s deliberately untutored mode of practice was at odds with the pedagogical emphasis on skill associated with other German-Jewish American émigrés like Bauhaus-trained ceramicist Marguerite Wildenhain, who taught a generation of American ceramicists at Pond Farm, California.42 Wieselthier likewise disseminated the Raumkunst ideal central to the WFK through her involvement in Contempora, a New York–based design cooperative aspiring to an ideal collaboration between art and industry through the creation of high-quality, affordable prototypes for manufactured production.43 Cofounded by Paul Wiener, Bruno Paul, Lucien Bernhard, and Paul Poiret, Contempora showcased harmonized model interiors featuring Wieselthier’s ceramic sculpture and textile designs. Wieselthier maintained close contacts to the Austrian émigré community through architect Wolfgang Hoffmann (Josef Hoffmann’s son) and other WFK/WW members in exile in New York and Los Angeles. Böhm student Singer-Schinnerl held Sunday afternoon salons in her Hollywood bungalow, which became a gathering place for the Los Angeles émigré community and New York–based artists like Wieselthier. While Wieselthier’s emigration to New York was undertaken ten years before the Anschluss, Singer-Schinnerl’s Californian exile was, like the majority of WW/WFK/Werkbund artists, an involuntary measure necessitated by her status as a Jew. Singer-Schinnerl had lived in the remote village of Grünberg am Schneeberg since 1924, where she produced original ceramics for the WW that won prizes at the 1925 Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris (gold medal), the 1934 Austrian Exposition in London (certificate of honor), the 1935 World Exhibition in Brussels (gold medal), and the 1937 Exposition internationale des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne in Paris (gold medal). One year after her last solo exhibition at Vienna’s Galerie Würthle in March 1937, Singer-Schinnerl was left alone with her infant son when her non-Jewish husband died in a mining accident. Like Wieselthier, Singer-Schinnerl’s participation in the 1928/29 International Exhibition of Ceramic Art proved invaluable to obtaining a visa and brokering contacts to dealers and galleries.44 Through the help of a WFA classmate, Liesel Borsook, Singer-Schinnerl settled in Los Angeles in 1939 with the expectation that the film industry might generate interest in her work. She established close relationships with several Los Angeles–area colleges and universities,

teaching ceramics courses and winning a fellowship at Scripps College in 1946 where, like Wieselthier, she experimented with large-scale figures and glazes. But her trademark work remained small-scale figural sculpture that superimposed the lyrical, pastoral subjects of her Viennese period with “life situations reflective of Hollywood, the California lifestyle, and modern woman.”45 Zweybrück-Prochaska and Zimbler, who both played leading roles in WFK Raumkunst exhibitions (see figs. 45–47; 53–55), also left Austria for New York and Los Angeles. Like the exiled ceramicists, Zweybrück-Prochaska’s reputation as a pedagogue, designer, and craftswoman preceded her forced emigration. Throughout the 1930s, Zweybrück-Prochaska had taught seminars and summer courses on art instruction for children throughout the United States, serving as a guest lecturer at Columbia University, the University of Southern California, the University of California-Los Angeles, the University of Texas, Rhode Island School of Design, and elsewhere. Zweybrück-Prochaska, whose paternal grandfather was a Jewish convert to Christianity, never returned from her last American lecture tour in Spring 1939, despite applying for the renewal of her school’s rights of public incorporation for the 1939/40 school year prior to her departure.46 While her non-Jewish husband, entrusted with the administrative leadership of the school, claimed that the outbreak of war prevented her from returning, Zweybrück-Prochaska’s racial classification as Mischling (mixed blood) made membership in the Reichskulturkammer impossible, suggesting that her extended 1939 stay with her daughter, Nora, born in 1921, was deliberate. In American exile, her publications like The Stencil Book: The Modern Art Methods of Professor Emmy Zweybrück (1935) and Hands at Work (1942) encouraged teachers and parents to free the spark of creative genius slumbering in every child. As artistic director of the American Crayon Company from 1939 to 1956 and editor of Everyday Art, a promotional journal directed to schoolteachers, Zweybrück-Prochaska disseminated the secessionist discovery of child art to a wide public in the postwar American cult of the creative child.47 Working as artistic consultant to stores including Marshall Fields, Neiman Marcus, B. Altman, Lord & Taylor, and R. H. Macy’s, Zweybrück-Prochaska continued to advance her ideas on the expressive possibility of ornament through new surface designs and publications calling for a reaction against the sober practicality of the machine aesthetic. Following her example, modern women were enjoined to discover a lost heritage of female handcrafts, relearning, reinventing, and reclaiming old needlework techniques while taking inspiration from tribal peoples and folk cultures.48 In 1955, Zweybrück-Prochaska was honored for her role in promoting Austrian applied arts and handcraft abroad with a collective exhibition at the Vienna Secession. Living between the American Crayon Company’s headquarters in New York and Los Angeles, where she commissioned Richard Neutra to design an open-layout building reflecting the company’s commitment to progressive art instruction, Zweybrück-Prochaska admitted shortly before her death that, despite the




The Female Secession

hardships of exile, she felt more energetic, youthful, and productive than ever during her second career in America.49 Fleeing to Los Angeles through London and New York, architect Zimbler moved in the same circles as Zweybrück-Prochaska and Singer-Schinnerl. A series of newspaper articles on the “visiting lady architect from Old Vienna” treated her as a curiosity, likening her family’s path of migration after the Anschluss to a sightseeing journey while drawing attention to her anomalous position in a male-dominated field.50 One such article, “LA Is Home for Europe’s First Woman Architect,” detailed how Zimbler, despite facing ridicule and patronizing treatment as an “amusing” oddity, was able to succeed by “work[ing] harder than any man.”51 Female club networks, including the Los Angeles chapter of the Soroptimist International and the National Council of Jewish Women, facilitated contacts to architects like Neutra and Rudolf Schindler and invited her to lecture on architecture, design, and women’s professional life.52 Like in her Viennese practice, Zimbler focused on interior design, remodeling and adapting existing structures; she received many commissions by members of the Austro-German exile community, including writer Vicki Baum, composer Ernst Toch, and some of her Viennese clients, many of whom, like Zimbler, were Jews.53 Like Wieselthier, Zimbler’s engagement with professional design organizations brought the spirit of WFK Raumkunst exhibitions to America; the architect participated in the National Council of Jewish Women’s Living with Famous Paintings series, an analogue to the WFK’s 1929 show, and other exhibitions of complete model interiors organized by the American Institute of Decorators.54 In postwar Vienna, Harlfinger-Zakucka’s attempts to revive the WFK met with considerably less success than the careers of her exiled colleagues. Harlfinger-Zakucka entered into a state of inner emigration and refused to exhibit with Hollenstein’s coordinated VBKÖ. She applied to reactivate the defunct league in January 1946 on the grounds that the artistic divisions leading to the radical faction’s 1926 walkout still existed, insisting that both leagues—the WFK and the old association—would be better served by a separation.55 But Harlfinger-Zakucka’s desire to resume normal league activity proved chimeric as the collective’s most talented artists had been forced to emigrate or died. Those who remained, including committee members Muntenau and Petter-Zeis, showed little interest in staging ventures that were provocative or progressive.56 The WFK failed to organize a single exhibition after the war and was dissolved in 1956, two years following the death of Harlfinger-Zakucka, its sole president and primary instigator. The institutional transformation of the WFA brings the postwar erasure of the female Secession into high relief. A brochure from the early 1950s boasted that new life had been brought to the old imperial palace at Hetzendorf (acquired by Empress Maria Theresa in 1742 as a widow’s retreat for her mother) through the stuccoed and gilded rococo interiors and grand murals evoking the charm of the eighteenth century.57 The new life referenced by the text was supplied by the palace’s new occupant: the Modeschule

der Stadt Wien (MSW), an institution that, as the text divulged, was actually not new but rooted in the former WFA, taken over by the municipal government in March 1939. The brochure outlined the school’s curriculum and institutional mission, stressing that the Modeschule was not a fine-art academy where pupils would be alienated from reality or practical handcraft competency but an educational facility that would provide “solid handcraft training” equivalent to an apprenticeship in the fashion industry.58 Students progressed through a two-year general course focused on “building taste” through the fundamentals of dressmaking, needlework, and figural and ornamental drawing, followed by a three-year apprenticeship in one of the school’s praxis-focused workshops (dressmaking, knitwear, hatmaking, leatherwork, textile design and printing), after which they received certificates of apprenticeship with their diplomas. As reflected in the pamphlet’s promotional photographs, municipal authorities such as Theodor Körner (Viennese mayor, 1945–51, and federal president, 1951–57) and Viktor Matejka (city councilman for culture and public education, 1945–49) believed that the school’s grand architectural environment would not only enhance the pupils’ educational experiences but also serve as a future tourist destination in promoting Austria’s luxury handcraft industries. Matejka insisted that postwar Austria, given its lack of raw materials, must turn to its traditional strength in finely created objects or “materials that we beautify through a richness of ideas . . . articles that foreigners buy not because of the material worked but because of how the idea is worked.”59 Yet precisely because of the ways in which the Viennese “taste industry” had suffered in the war, Matejka and other postwar leaders insisted that luxury handcraft needed aesthetic stimulation to recapture its old prestige, as workers had to perceive beauty to create beautiful things.60 Both the Modeschule and its architectural setting were to be valuable assets to the postwar Austrian economy and its will to rebuild.61 Calculations like Matejka’s were central to the postwar municipal government’s decision to house the MSW in Schloss Hetzendorf (fig. 59), which reopened, along with the historical fashion collections of the Historical Museum of the City of Vienna, in November 1946, ten months after Harlfinger-Zakucka unsuccessfully applied to reactivate the WFK. Included in the same promotional brochure mentioned above, a photograph of four fashion school students from the early 1950s (fig. 60), posing beneath the Antonio Beuzzi wall paintings in the ballroom, serves as a visual proxy for the obedient, technically competent Nachwuchs (new blood) that Alfred Kunz, the school’s director from 1945 to 1955, wanted to cultivate for the fashion and taste industries. Kunz believed that the absence of practical internships in the pre-1938 curriculum demonstrated that the course of study was an impure “jumble” of fashion, fine art, and handcraft, which made the old Women’s Academy “nothing more than an education to 100 percent dilettantism.”62 As such, Kunz insisted that all artistic subjects be struck from the curriculum.63 He repeatedly clarified that the school was no art academy: “We do not want to educate artists but highly valuable craftswomen who have mastery of




The Female Secession

59. MSW promotional brochure showing Hetzendorf Palace, after 1946. WStLA.

their fields and, simultaneously, are schooled in the best taste.”64 Outstanding individual talents were not required to revive the Viennese luxury handcraft industry, so Kunz believed, but rather hordes of anonymous, technically skilled artisans with finely honed “taste.” Most problematic to the postwar reinvention of the Women’s Academy is how the seemingly safe, apolitical image of high art and culture represented by the former imperial palace at Hetzendorf was carefully retouched to remove references to the school’s Aryanization under National Socialist leadership. Promotion of Austria’s high cultural heritage was, as Steven Beller argues, critical to the postwar tourist industry and the assertion of an Austrian identity independent of its turbulent Nazi past: “What was not encouraged was anything too radical”—or troublesome.65 As such, the lingering threat of the interwar Kunstgewerbeweib had to be replaced with the sort of docile femininity represented by the four figures in the Fashion School’s promotional image, silently pinning up a hem. But, even as MSW leaders broke with the past, the curricular changes invoked by Kunz—the striking out of all purely artistic subjects and focus on practical apprenticeships—were nothing other than a direct continuation of the school’s direction under National Socialist leadership. Prior to the Anschluss, the WFA, long severed from its founding secessionist idealism, had been struggling to maintain its existence. Its last director from 1932 to 1939, sculptor Heinrich Zita, who succeeded Seligmann, followed the trajectory of his conservative predecessors. Zita’s focus lay in promoting the academic classes and the idea that separate educational facilities best served the cultivation of “womanly” artistic practices. Yet saddled with grave financial problems and growing skepticism toward the separate feminine aesthetic he touted, Zita remained convinced that the Ministry of Education had already resolved “to let the school run its course” as no further funds for the teaching staff or increases to the director salary were foreseen.66 By the mid-1930s, due to economic depression and foreign currency laws, WFA attendance dropped to fewer than half of that during its peak years in the late 1920s, when upward of three hundred attended the school. In addition to the reduced revenue garnered from tuition was the continued expense of the academy’s rented facilities and what Zita referred to as certain “deceptive insolvency practices” among the school’s Jewish administrative officers.67 From 1932 to 1934, Zita undertook a series of emergency reforms to save the school from financial collapse: measures that he retroactively framed

(after the Anschluss) as “a fundamental purification and reorientation,” in a calculated attempt to ingratiate himself with Vienna’s National Socialist overlords.68 In summer 1933, Zita initiated a drastic policy whereby teaching staff would voluntarily renounce their salaries to save the school.69 More extreme, however, was his decision to fire the nieces of cofounder Tina Blau-Lang: the decorative art and needlework instructor Paula Taussig-Roth; her daughter Hertha Taussig, an assistant administrator; and Paula’s sister Helene Roth, the WFA’s longtime administrative director. Zita alleged that “the true owners of the school,” Helene and Paula Taussig-Roth, had been endangering the institution through the “unchecked finances of the administrative leadership” and their stranglehold over the executive committee, a group that was, like the Blau-Roth and Taussig families, Jewish and/or closely associated with “leading Social Democratic functionaries.”70 Zita insisted that “these two ladies and their clique could always enforce their wishes and views upon and get in the way of voting in the executive board meetings. . . . [T]he entire faculty, as well as the director, was dependent on the sympathy of this dangerous clique.”71 Allegedly to save the school from their continued intrigues and corrupt financial practices, Zita resolved to rid the school of the family root and branch: Helene Roth was forced into retirement, while Paula and Hertha Taussig-Roth were fired without warning. After the Anschluss, Paula Taussig-Roth emigrated to New York with her family, where she lived on the Upper West Side and followed postwar scholarship on her aunt Tina through help of intermediaries like the Ankwicz-Kleehovens.72 Helene Taussig-Roth was deported to Lodz, Poland, in October 1941 and was murdered at Auschwitz or Auschwitz-Birkenau.73 Zita’s next maneuver to reduce costs was to consolidate teaching facilities in one rent-free location. As a result of ongoing negotiations with the municipal government, in March 1937 Zita succeeded in having a three-story school building at Siegelgasse 2–4 allocated for the WFA’s usage. Zita held a special school exhibition from July to October 1937 to inaugurate the new building, which he presented to the public as “a house of the creative woman.”74 A special issue of Österreichische Kunst was dedicated to the school, ostensibly to generate interest during a period of waning attendance. Zita’s overview of the academy’s past and future prospects presented his battle to “save” the school in self-congratulatory terms while underlining, like Kauffungen and Seligmann before him, that it had always been the school’s mission to cultivate specifically feminine artistic practices. According to Zita, it was in the academy’s courses in applied graphic art, fashion, and textile design, now taught by architect Viktor Weixler (who had replaced Friedrich in 1933), that opened



60. MSW promotional brochure showing a dress fitting, after 1946. WStLA.


The Female Secession

up “an abundance of promising ‘womanly’ careers . . . to women and girls which . . . best serve the cultivation of her femininity.”75 Zita concluded that the institution was equally dedicated to women and girls not intending to practice art professionally and to those who might apply their training in the domestic sphere: an argument that the opportunistic Zita sounded with increasing forcefulness after 1938. Zita’s brief triumph as director was preempted by his miscalculated attempts to align the WFA with National Socialist cultural policies. Six days after the Anschluss, Zita held a festive celebration in the new school building to honor the “momentous historical change” while enjoining pupils to serious work honoring the Führer.76 While, like all private schools, the academy was stripped of its rights of public incorporation in July 1938, the same October Zita was assured by National Socialist municipal authorities that the school would continue to operate with Zita at its helm. But in the midst of the rumors, intrigue, and accusations circulating among the faculty, Zita knew that negotiations were already underway for the academy’s takeover by the municipal Kulturamt, the new administrative division of the National Socialist city government dealing with artistic and cultural affairs.77 Negotiations were initiated by Viktor Weixler (NSDAP member since 1933), who undertook independent measures to link his applied-art classes with the German Labor Front in a way that jeopardized the future of Zita’s sculpture classes. Zita was therefore not surprised when the League WFA was deleted from the register of leagues and associations on November 22, 1938, with its remaining financial resources and “Aryan” faculty members ceded to the Kulturamt.78 In a desperate bid to secure his position as director, on November 14, 1938, Zita wrote Deputy Mayor Hanns Blaschke with a proposal to be circulated to the other state academies.79 He suggested that in light of Vienna’s impending fusion with the National Socialist municipal government, all female art students, including those currently studying at the KGS and ABKW, should be immediately transferred to the WFA. Zita recalled when the school had been granted state-accredited academic classes, and ABKW Director Edmund Hellmer had expressed the standpoint that the WFA’s academic classes were only the first step toward creating “an artistic Hochschule of woman” where eventually all female art students might be trained.80 National Socialism, Zita insisted, merited a return to single-sex education in light of the considerable moral dangers coeducational studies posed to female youth. The crux of Zita’s arguments rested on the idea that “National Socialist principles demand the protection of Mädchenehre (maidenly honor—i.e., virginity) as an essential precondition for the moral health of the racial body.”81 In no uncertain terms did Zita present the WFA as complementing the party platform on the family and a return to natural, sexually defined roles, claiming that, for his students, the thought of future marriage and children always ran parallel to, and often surpassed, their artistic ambitions. Therefore, even if a pupil abandoned her professional ambitions, women’s artistic training should never be stripped of its serious foundations or belittled as a wasteful expenditure of time, money, and effort; the dilettante’s serious engagement with art and handcraft would decisively

enhance her childrearing abilities, a factor “not to be underestimated in contributing to building up a culturally superior race . . . a cherished thought of the Führer.”82 Zita’s outlandish proposal met with stiff resistance by KGS and ABKW leadership. The KGS’s provisional director, Robert Obsieger, attacked Zita’s unscrupulous manner whereby the latter felt compelled to threaten female art students’ sexual purity to fill up his “meager” Women’s Academy.83 Obsieger also pointed to the false logic underlying Zita’s scheme: if women’s sexual purity was best protected in a single-sex environment, then it followed that only female instructors were to be employed, which was admittedly not true of the WFA’s predominately male faculty.84 Ironically, the ABKW, the institution that had held out against women’s studies for so long and had supported the WFA as a method of filibustering the admission of female art students, suddenly felt compelled to defend the rights of women. The ABKW claimed that it would be a great injustice to women artists throughout the entire Reich if it—Vienna’s true academy—were to suddenly close its doors to women. The handful of highly talented female art students studying at the ABKW deserved “the pure artistic atmosphere of a full-fledged art academy,” not a forced claustration at an institution historically associated with the decorative.85 That the WFA had always been a predominantly jüdisches Erziehungsinstitut (Jewish educational institution), dominated by Jewish teachers and students from the onset, gave it no further justification for existence.86 Zita’s proposal to centralize all female art students at the WFA fell on deaf ears. On March 1, 1939, the WFA was officially taken over by the municipal Kulturamt. The opportunistic Zita, who had linked women’s artistic productivity to their biological roles in a transparent attempt to secure his position as director, was sent into provisional retirement as director in April 1940 and released from his teaching duties in July.87 Profiting from Zita’s downfall were two leading figures in the municipal Kulturamt and Aryanized Secession, graphic artist Johannes Cech, cultural attaché for applied graphic art and handcraft, and sculptor Wilhelm Frass, cultural attaché for sculpture and one of the most favored artists under National Socialism, who is known for his war memorials and allegorical sculptures. In 1940 Cech was made director of the coordinated MSW while presiding over a broader institutional reorganization of Aryan handcraft in the Wiener Kunsthandwerkverein. Frass assumed Zita’s position as head of the academic sculpture courses from 1940 to 1945.88 Receiving steady commissions for municipal building projects and memorials under the First Republic and Austro-Fascist regimes, Frass remains best known for his 1933/34 red marble epitaph of a fallen soldier commemorating World War I at the Heroes’ Gate crypt on the Heldenplatz, which contained a clandestine tribute to Nazism (installed in a cavity beneath the sculpture). Among those instructors dismissed in April 1940 in opposition to Frass and Cech was painter Ferdinand Kitt, who was Secession president from 1926 to 1929, on faculty since 1927, and head of the academic painting classes from 1939 to 1940. One of the few secessionists to oppose Aryanization, Kitt entered a state of inner emigration until the February 1943




The Female Secession

Junge Kunst im Deutschen Reich (New art in the German empire) exhibition organized by Baldur von Schirach, which attracted criticism from Hitler and Goebbels for “blur[ing] the line between völkisch and progressive modernist art.”89 Cech and Frass launched a new praxis-based curriculum that made dressmaking and tailoring into obligatory subjects while introducing new “folkish” subjects like folk art, the study of folk costumes (Trachtenkunde), and gymnastics. The aim of the school was not the secessionist fusion of high and low art, the decorative and the profound, but the more modest goal of “forging an artistically trained, female creative force in handcraft.”90 Director Cech insisted that technical handcraft competence was to trump artistic experimentation. In the school’s former state, students’ apprenticeships in dressmaking and tailoring had been insufficient, only equipping them with a superficial knowledge resulting in impractical fashion sketches.91 But henceforth, in direct association with the NS-Frauenschaft, the League of German Girls, and the newly founded Viennese House of Fashion (1939–45, an organization central to the National Socialists’ plans to Aryanize the Viennese fashion and luxury handcraft industries), Cech believed that the school would be filled with “a new spirit” that would help to “advance the city’s old reputation in the field of arts and crafts.”92 Cech’s ambitions for the MSW complemented those of von Schirach, Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter (regional leader and Reich governor) of the Ostmark from 1940 to 1945, who had been transferred to Vienna with orders to revive the city’s cultural life but not to the extent that it would rival Berlin or Munich.93 Building up Vienna as a center of women’s fashion and taste represented an ideal way of co-opting local Viennese patriotism in service of greater German nationalism that might, at the same time, advance von Schirach’s own prestige and reduce the Reich’s dependence on Parisian fashions. Due to this latter goal, von Schirach’s efforts to establish Vienna as a fashion capital received top billing from the onset of his tenure as Gauleiter, with support of couture fashion repeatedly used “to boost the city’s image” against similar regional initiatives in Berlin and Frankfurt and against the machinations of Propaganda Minister Goebbels.94 Critically, however, such efforts to market Vienna as a center of fashion, decorative art, musical theater, and film were supported by leading Nationalist Socialist functionaries precisely because they were perceived as sufficiently “frothy” and safe enough as not to offend Hitler’s personal ambivalence toward the city and his grandiose plans for the Führermuseum in Linz, which was intended to replace Vienna as the Ostmark’s leading artistic center. It was under the same program of cultural rejuvenation that von Schirach staged the largest ever retrospective of Klimt’s work in the former Secession building in February and March 1943. Despite the ways in which nascent abstraction and surface decoration was central to many of his most important works on view, Klimt escaped classification as a degenerate artist, largely because he was perceived as too minor and decorative. The show’s organizers took pains to present Klimt in the most unthreatening, inoffensive terms even as the exhibition integrated modernist principles of display via its unadorned

white walls and simple frames. The catalogue forward suggested the greatness of his work was to be found not in his penchant for ornamental abstraction but in the natural organic life that streamed from his pictorial compositions.95 As art historian Laura Morowitz rightly argues, “Klimt was unburdened of his cosmopolitan, radical past and his Jewish patronage . . . [and] could thus be embraced as both the most Germanic of artists and one who embodied the distinct cultural identity of Vienna.”96 Klimt’s Jewish, female patrons, women who fully appreciated the philosophies of positive dilettantism flourishing at the WFA in its early years, were anonymized into nameless decorative icons by the show’s organizers. Around one-third of the paintings shown at the retrospective were illegally expropriated from Jewish collections, including twelve from the Lederer family and five from the Bloch-Bauers, the same milieu that had founded and patronized the WFA. Through his endorsement of the homegrown Klimt and Vienna’s reputation as a center for luxury handcraft, von Schirach appropriated the city’s decorative arts traditions to challenge the established canon of Nazi aesthetics, however slippery the concept often proved to be (even after 1933 and 1937). The coordinated MSW flourished under von Schirach’s patronage, receiving the strong financial support that had eluded Zita. The school experienced a surge in enrollment, nearing the high levels of the late 1920s. In addition to the praxis-focused sequences in fashion and textile design mandated as part of the four-year course of study ending with entrance to the dressmaking guild, the MSW offered part-time classes in decorative painting and folk art in tandem with the League of German Girls, promoting a similar sort of dilettantism dating back to the Kauffungen era. Cech defined the mission of the amateur courses as the enabling of “women who saw their life’s mission as wife and mother to bring noble beauty to their families and objects of their surroundings.”97 It was, in fact, amateurs who designed the large chest and wedding table on view at the 1940 exhibition of Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen in the former Secession. The hope was that the artistic practices of the new German woman might be inscribed by traditions of feminine modesty: the opposite of the “unfortunate hermaphrodites” and “bluestockings” pro-Nazi sympathizers associated with the cultural tendencies of the interwar era.98 But the National Socialists’ plans to transform the former Women’s Academy into the locus of the Viennese fashion and “taste” industries were cut short, only to be realized after 1945. During the war, the academic classes would be indefinitely shelved; promotional pamphlets explained that “the courses . . . have been suspended since the outbreak of war.”99 Only the fashion, textile, and Werkkunst (applied arts) courses were offered, now with an ever-increasing stress on practicality.100 The sculpture classes continued to operate but solely out of deference to Frass as enrollment in the Werkkunst division (75–80 percent students) far surpassed enrollment in the former academic subjects (20–25 percent students).101 The continuing effects of war—coal shortages, air raids, and mandatory service demands—made regular instruction impossible and took a sharp toll on enrollment. On November 5, 1944, the school building was directly




The Female Secession

hit by a bomb, completely destroying its resources and in-house archives.102 Makeshift instruction was offered in the auditorium of the Music Conservatory, where remaining faculty attempted to carry on without teaching materials. When, in April 1945, the Music Conservatory became inaccessible due to further air raids, emergency instruction was offered in the Vienna Konzerthaus, at which point only around eighty students and seven faculty members of a former teaching staff of twenty remained (including, among others, Berbalk, Weixler, and Löffler, the former KGS professor and active anti-Semite hired to replace Arthur Fleischmann in 1937).103 For the 1945/46 school year, the MSW was allotted an empty school building in the Paulusgasse in Vienna’s third district. The institution that reopened the next fall in the former imperial palace at Hetzendorf was nothing other than a continuation of the MSW’s institutional trajectory under National Socialist leadership. This book has traced persistent attempts to collapse women’s art with the decorative and the ways in which the interwar Kunstgewerbeweib harnessed the discursive field surrounding “women’s art” to her advantage. Steeped in secessionist ideas of cultural renewal, the Kunstgewerbeweib’s training at the WFA fed ideas of creative experimentation and individual expression while nurturing bonds of female solidarity. Whereas leading male expressionists would be encouraged to leave their commercial and decorative roots behind them, graduates of the WFA never made such a transition away from the decorative but rather, as the Wiener Werkstätte’s leading designers in the interwar period, explored similar ideas as male expressionists through recourse to handcraft media like ceramics. Yet accompanying fears surrounding the perceived “feminization” of the applied arts, the category of the decorative increasingly became a means to trivialize female artistic practices, marginalizing women from emerging definitions of modernism and high art. Vienna 1900 was the birthplace of the antiornamental polemics later taken up and canonized by high-modernist critics and theorists. The early geometrical phase of the WW (1904–6), the era of its production enshrined in mainstream design histories, seemed to anticipate the functionalist machine aesthetic critical to influential modernist theorists and historians. But it is critical to remember that fin de siècle and particularly interwar Vienna gave rise to a competing, decorative version of modernism that never made its way into the pages of art history texts. Decorative handcrafts, a traditional site of femininity, are commonly associated with the image of unthreatening docility promoted by the MSW’s leaders after the war (see fig. 60). But substituting the anonymous and obedient postwar fashion students with the images of the rebellious interwar Kunstgewerbeweiber (see fig. 31) studying at the WFA during its most dynamic years and defining the artistic output of the interwar WW brings a lost female heritage in handcraft and decorative art into focus: a body of work that disrupted established boundaries between high and low, function and utility, and masculine and feminine fields of expression.

It is my intent, then, not to reify the monographic approach through the works of individual artist-designers but to recapture the collective feminist potential of what Harlfinger-Zakucka referred to as “works from women’s hands” in putting forth an alternative version of Viennese modernism that never turned on its ornamental, decorative roots. Viewed in light of the continuities between 1938 and 1945, an era in which the female handcrafts were divested of their subversive potential, it is not surprising that the deeper meanings behind the toys, textiles, ceramics, and postcards surveyed here are only beginning to be explored in the literature on Austrian art and design. This book thus joins the ranks of feminist scholarship by Houze, Obler, and others in attempting to redress the extant focus on women artists’ “fine,” not “decorative,” practices.104 Returning to the vantage point of the 1920s—when works like Wieselthier’s Modern Youth parodied long-standing tropes of decorative femininity and fashionability through the fragility of its monumental proportions—reveals that the possibility of a great decorative woman artist is still an open one (see fig. 58). Standing more than seven feet tall, Modern Youth was precariously assembled from hollow, wheel-formed vessels in a manner that challenged and played on pottery’s persistent connotations to the feminine, the domestic, and the amateurish. Even as the basic methods of forming and processing clay remain analogous to the skills used in cooking and baking, Wieselthier’s ceramic sculpture harnessed the medium for emphatically nondomestic, nonfunctional ends.105 Devoid of emotion like a porcelain doll, Modern Youth is nothing more than an upended series of pots whose conspicuous decoration and face painting satirizes the trope of the woman as artwork. Much like the productive tension in Modern Youth, it is this liminal space—between decorative and profound, major and minor, and masculine and feminine modes of expression—that the interwar artist-craftswomen of Vienna’s female Secession so deftly navigated but that sits so uncomfortably within mainstream modernist narratives centered on the abnegation of the decorative.




Introduction 1. Schorske, Fin-de-sìecle Vienna. 2. Bahr, Secession, 2. For a detailed account of this split, see Shedel, Art and Society, 5–46. 3. Jensen, Marketing Modernism, 182–87. On the centrality of space in Viennese modernism, see Long, New Space. 4. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 325; Werkner, Austrian Expressionism, 20–21; Vergo, Art in Vienna, 200, 209–10. 5. Schorske,“Cultural Hothouse,” New York Review of Books, Dec. 11, 1975, 41, http://www -hothouse. 6. Kallir, Viennese Design and the Wiener Werkstätte, 103–12; Varnedoe, Vienna 1900, 103. 7. Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, “Wiener Frauenkunst,” WZ, Jan. 1, 1928, 7. Translation by the author. All translations throughout the book are by the author unless otherwise indicated. 8. Böhm, König, Tichy, and Friedrich were all founding members of the Vienna Secession. Various WFA faculty members served as leading members of the editorial committee for the secessionist periodical Ver Sacrum, including König (in 1899), Friedrich (in 1900), Böhm (in 1901), and Maximilian Kurzweil (in 1903). Other faculty, such as decorative artist Georg Klimt, brother of inaugural secessionist president, Gustav Klimt, remained closely associated with secessionist circles. Later WFA professors Kurzweil, Hermann Grom-Rottmayr, Richard Harlfinger, Josef Stoitzner, Rudolf Jettmar, Christian Martin, Ferdinand Kitt, and Heinrich Zita also belonged to the Vienna Secession. 9. The most important sources on Viennese expressionist ceramics are Hussl-Hörmann, Vally Wieselthier, and Hamacher, Expressive Keramik der Wiener Werkstätte. On Wieselthier’s life-size ceramic sculpture, see Brandow-Faller, “Feminine Vessels.”

10. Hofmann, “Frauen im Österreichischen Kunsthandwerk,” 8–14. 11. For feminist approaches to design history, see Buckley, “Made in Patriarchy”; Kirkham, introduction to A View from the Interior; Sparke, As Long as It’s Pink. 12. Gronberg, “Decoration.” 13. Clare, Subversive Ceramics, 18. 14. For new approaches to authorship stressing collaboration, see Chadwick and De Courtivron, Significant Others, and Butler, Hidden in the Shadow. 15. Nochlin, “Why Have There Been No,” 147. 16. Parker and Pollock, Old Mistresses, 50. 17. Parker, Subversive Stitch, 215. 18. Sorkin, Live Form; Bryan-Wilson, Fray; Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform. 19. On Klimt’s female patrons, see Natter, “Princesses Without a History.” 20. Klimt propounded this notion of the “ideal community of those who create and enjoy art” in a rare public speech on the occasion of the opening of the 1908 Kunstschau Klimt, “Rede bei der Eröffnung,” 4. 21. Johnson, Memory Factory. 22. Hofmann, “Art of Unlearning.” 23. Fliedl, Kunst und Lehre am Beginn, 136–72. 24. Ibid., 136–72, 201–7; Wick, “Die Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule und die Wiener Werkstätte.” 25. Lux, “Moderner Kunstunterricht,” 160. 26. Anger, Paul Klee and the Decorative, 4. 27. Fineberg, Innocent Eye. 28. Burckhardt, “Ver Sacrum,” 3. 29. Weikop, “Ver Sacrum,” 221. 30. Klimt, quoted in Rochowanski, Dreßig Jahre Jugendkunst, 8. 31. Fineberg, Discovering Child Art, and Fineberg, When We Were Young. 32. Leeds, “History of Attitudes Towards Children’s Art,” 99–101. 33. Cordileone, Alois Riegl in Vienna, 111–20. 34. Rampley, Vienna School of Art History, 123–24, and Vasold, Alois Riegl und die Kunstgeschichte, 50.


Notes to Pages 10–28

35. On folk culture as feminine, see Perry, “Primitivism and the Modern,” 22–27. 36. Levetus, “Austria—Introduction,” 3. 37. The literature on primitivism is vast. See, for example, Goldwater, Primitivism in Modern Art; Price, Primitive Art in Civilized Places; Rhodes, Primitivism and Modern Art; Connelly, Sleep of Reason. 38. Goldwater, Primitivism in Modern Art, xxiv. 39. Rubin, “Modernist Primitivism,” 11. 40. Ibid., 18. 41. See Ratnam, “Dusty Mannequins,” and Cohen, “Fauve Masks.” 42. Johnson, Memory Factory. 43. Shapira, “Children’s Drawings,” 19. 44. On alienation as a marketing strategy, see Blackshaw, “Self Portraits.” 45. VKFM, Jahresbericht, 1899/1900:13–14. 46. Werkner, “Child-Woman and Hysteria.” On the metaphor of the puppet in Viennese modernism, see Timpano, Art, Hysteria, and the Puppet. 47. Sauerteig, “Loss of Innocence.” 48. Gronberg, Vienna, 51–53, and Timms, “‘Child-Woman.’” 49. Timms, “‘Child-Woman,’” 91. The article he discusses is Avicenna [Fritz Wittels], “Das Kindweib,” Die Fackel 9, no. 230–31 (July 15, 1907), 14–33. 50. Loos, “Ich—der bessere Österreicher,” 100. 51. Schaffen, “Wiener Frauenkunst im Hagenbund,” 27. 52. Comini, “Gender or Genius?” 271. 53. Cavanaugh and Yonan, “That Precious Object,” 4. 54. Ibid. 55. On the “material turn” in art history and history, see Hellman, “Object Lessons,” and Auslander, Taste and Power. 56. Yonan, “Fusion.” 57. On modernism’s suppression of the decorative, see Anger, “Forgotten Ties.” 58. Broude, “Miriam Schapiro and ‘Femmage,’” and Mainardi, “Quilts.” 59. See, for instance, Obler, Intimate Collaborations, and the 2014 catalogue Montfort, Sonia Delaunay. 60. Anger, Paul Klee and the Decorative, 2. Emphasis original. 61. Reed, Bloomsbury Rooms, 1–18, and Elliott and Helland, Women Artists and the Decorative Arts. 62. Jensen, Marketing Modernism, 184. 63. See Rampley, Vienna School of Art History; Woodfield, Framing Formalism; Olin, Alois Riegl’s Theory of Art; Iverseon, Alois Riegl; Cordileone, Alois Riegl in Vienna. 64. Cordileone, Alois Riegl in Vienna, 241–44. 65. Ibid., 239–60, and Auther, “Decorative, Abstraction, and the Hierarchy.”

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

Gait, Pretty, 109. Loos, “Ornament und Erziehung,” 177. Greenberg, Art and Culture, 200. See Relyea, “Apollonian Domestic,” 117. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Autonom und angewandt.” Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 31–62, 53. Johnson, Memory Factory, 111. Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform, 9. Johnson, Memory Factory. Garb, Sisters of the Brush; Prieto, At Home in the Studio; Swinth, Painting Professionals; Perry, Women and the Parisian Avant-Garde; Kahn, Marie Laurencin; Birnbaum, Women Artists in Interwar France; Deepwell, Women Artists Between the Wars.

Chapter 1 1. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1897/98:7. 2. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1899/1900:13–14. 3. E. F., “Zehn Jahre,” 7. 4. Gugitz, “Farbige Lithographien.” 5. Levetus, “Studio Talk—Vienna” (1911), 67. 6. Grimm, “Die Akademie der Künste,” 67. 7. ÖStA/AVA/MfKU/Fasz. 3360 / Z. 19980/1910. 8. Slatkin, Women Artists, 145, and Radycki, “Lady Art Students.” 9. Stöhr, “Kunstakademien,” 228–29. 10. Ibid., 228. 11. V. S., “Die Reformierte Akademie,” 27. 12. Ibid. According to Parker and Pollock, it was after the Renaissance that the applied arts became gendered as feminine and inferior (Old Mistresses, 50–81). 13. Hofmann, “Art of Unlearning.” 14. V. S., “Die Reformierte Akademie,” 26. 15. Lützow, Geschichte der k.k. Akademie, 69–70; 92. 16. Grimm, “Die Akademie der Künste,” 60. 17. Ibid., 50. 18. V. S., “Die Reformierte Akademie,” 29. 19. Sorkin, Live Form. 20. Grimm, “Die Akademie der Künste,” 61. 21. Ibid., 67. 22. Pevsner, Academies of Art, 243–95. 23. Wick, “Die Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule und die Wiener Werkstätte.” 24. Levetus, “Imperial Arts and Crafts Schools.” 25. Fliedl, Kunst und Lehre am Beginn, 136–72, 201–7; Cordileone, Alois Riegl in Vienna, 244–48; Clegg, Art, Architecture, and Design, 106–7; Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform, 132–33. 26. Lux, “Moderner Kunstunterricht,” 160.

27. On design reform in Wilhelmine Germany, see Maciuika, Before the Bauhaus. 28. Bahr, Secession, 2. 29. Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 53. 30. E. F., “Zehn Jahre Kunstschule,” 7. 31. Werkner, Austrian Expressionism, 27. 32. Adalbert Seligmann, “Eine Frauenkunstschule,” NFP, Mar. 24, 1928, 2; on Munich’s Women’s Academy, see Deseyve, Künstlerinnen-Verein München. 33. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1897/98:5. 34. Brandow-Faller, “Art of Their Own,” appendix 2.1. 35. Eitelberger, “Zur Regelung des Kunstunterrichts,” 61. 36. Ibid. 37. Dumreicher, Vertrauliche Denkschrift, 15–16. 38. Antrag Sistierung der Aufnahme von Schülerinnen in die Vorbereitungschule, Feb. 27, 1886, AHA-VA/1886/90. 39. VKFM Provisional Statutes, July 20, 1897, WStLA/MAbt 49:VA 6025/1925, Z. 62814/V. 40. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 239; Coen, Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty, 242. 41. Weininger, Sex und Charakter; Sengoopta, Weininger, 148–49. 42. Sengoopta, Weininger, 149. 43. Strobl, “Zu den Fakultätsbildern von Gustav Klimt.” 44. Vergo, Art in Vienna, 49–61; Shedel, Art and Society, 109–50; Schorske Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 208–78. 45. Interview with Jodl, quoted in Bahr, Gegen Klimt, 23. 46. Ibid., 27. 47. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1897/98:10–11. 48. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1902/3:6. 49. Ibid., 9. 50. Brandow-Faller, “Art of Their Own,” 220–21, appendix 3.1. 51. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Vom Ende der Wiener Frauenakademie,” 230–31. 52. Loitfellner, “Kunstschaffend-WeiblichJüdisch,” 65. 53. Nochlin, “Why?”; Parker and Pollock, Old Mistresses, 87; Greer, Obstacle Race. 54. Holland, “Lady Art Students’ Life.” 55. Prieto, At Home in the Studio, 90–91. 56. For a comprehensive list of private art schools, see Brandow-Faller, “Art of Their Own,” 112 n. 334. 57. Eitelberger, “Bestrebungen zur Förderung des Zeichenunterrichtes.” 58. MfKU School Inspection Notes, 1876, ÖStA/ AVA/MfKU/Fasz. 3704, Z.10340/1876.

59. Schweiger, “Malschulen von und für Frauen,” n.p. 60. Krug, “Diese arme Übertriebene suchende Gesellschaft,” 119; on Koller-Pinell, see Johnson, Memory Factory, 111–76. 61. Adalbert Seligmann, “Tina Blau-Lang,” Österreichs Illustrierte Zeitung Kunst Revue, June 23, 1907, 873–85; Adalbert Seligmann, “Tina Blau: Ein letzter Besuch,” NFP, Nov. 10, 1916, 1–3; Seligmann, foreword to Versteigerung des künstlerischen Nachlasses. 62. Committee, quoted in Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Tina Blau-Lang und die Frauenbewegung,” 42. 63. On Blau-Lang as secessionist “foremother,” see Johnson, Memory Factory, 26–35. 64. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1902/3:7. 65. Handlirsch, “Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen,” 84. 66. Neukunstgruppe Manifesto, quoted in Natter and Trummer, Die Tafelrunde, 53. 67. Other members of the Blau-Lang school included Mayreder, Clara Epstein (1886–?), Gertrude Zuckerkandl-Stekel (1879–1981), Franziska Leinkauf-Weineck (1886–1945), Mathilde Sitta-Allé (1871–1942), and Ella Reinöhl-Werner (1885–1947). 68. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1904/5:7. On the Klimt-Zuckerkandl connection, see Braun, “Ornament as Evolution,” 162. 69. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1897/98:7. 70. Johnson, Memory Factory, 19–55. 71. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Tina Blau-Lang und die Frauenbewegung,” 38. 72. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1915/16:22. 73. “Tina Blau-Lang (Ein Dankeswort),” 238. 74. On the secessionist revival of the color woodcut, see Natter, “Golden Age of Color Woodcuts.” 75. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1901/2:7; 1903–4:8; 1912–13:6; 1915–16:6. 76. “Weshalb Wir eine Zeitschrift herausgeben,” 6. 77. VKFM, Jahresbericht, 1899–1900:13–14. 78. Fisher, “Work Becomes Play,” 165. 79. Natter, “Golden Age of Color Woodcuts,” 49. 80. Loos, “Antworten auf Fragen,” 151–52. 81. Alexander, “Jugendstil Visions.” 82. Houze, “From Wiener Kunst im Hause.” 83. Baumhoff, Gendered World of the Bauhaus, and Sorkin, Live Form, 65. 84. V. S., “Die Reformierte Akademie,” 30, and Kokoschka, My Life, 17.


Notes to Pages 28–37


Notes to Pages 37–50

85. Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 25. 86. Stratigakos, “Women and the Werkbund,” 490. 87. Scheffler, Die Frau und die Kunst, 42. 88. Ibid., 59. 89. Johnson, “Art of the Woman,” 1:53–65, and Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 23–28. 90. Stroebel, “Royal ‘Matronage’ of Woman Artists.” 91. Edwards, “‘Home Is Where the Art Is.’” 92. Fennetaux, “Female Crafts,” and Yonan, Empress Maria Theresa and the Politics, 138. 93. Fennetaux, “Female Crafts,” 91. 94. On educational reforms in girls’ secondary schools, see Brandow-Faller, “Art of Their Own,” 14–97, and Albisetti, “Female Education in German-Speaking Austria.” 95. Hainisch, “Zur Geschichte der österreichischen Frauenbewegung,” 14–16. 96. Ipold, “Dilettantinnen,” 6. 97. Sparke, As Long as It’s Pink, 30–45, and Houze, “At the Forefront,” 28–31. 98. Houze, “At the Forefront,” 18, and Cordileone, “Österreichische Synthese.” 99. Stratigakos, Women’s Berlin, 126. 100. Johnson, “Art of the Woman,” 1:54. 101. Swinth, Painting Professionals, 123–28; Prieto, At Home in the Studio, 129–48; Chadwick, Women, Art, and Society, 247–50. 102. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Tina Blau-Lang und die Frauenbewegung,” 43–44, and Johnson, Memory Factory, 40–41. 103. Brand-Krieghammer, “Die internationale Frauenkunstausstellung,” 8. 104. Memorandum der VKFM, Akademische Klassen, 1919, VBKÖ-ARCH/ARCH 32, 6. 105. Klimt, “Rede bei der Eröffnung.” On the secessionist Künstlerschaft, see Natter, “Gustav Klimt,” and Natter, “Princesses Without a History.” 106. Hofmann, Gustav Klimt, 39. 107. Natter, “Princesses Without a History.” 108. VKFM, Statuten, 1901, WStLA, MAbt 49:VA 6025/1925, Z. 107331; VKFM, Studienordnung des VKFM, 1910–11, VBKÖ ARCH/ARCH 32. 109. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1902/3:11. 110. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1897/98:7. Emphasis added. 111. Zita, “Rückblick und Ausblick,” 14. 112. Kay, Art and the German Bourgeoisie; Jenkins, Provincial Modernity; Fishman, “Alfred Lichtwark.” 113. Lichtwark, Wege und Ziele des Dilettantismus, and Lichtwark, Vom Arbeitsfeld des Dilettantismus. 114. Kay, Art and the German Bourgeoisie, 110.

115. Zuckerkandl, “Dilettantismus.” 116. On Mayreder’s treatment of Blau-Lang, see Johnson, Memory Factory, 35–38. 117. Tina Blau-Lang to Rosa Mayreder, Nov. 2, 1901, H. I. N. 27779, ÖNB-HANS. 118. Murau, Wiener Malerinnen, 68–71. 119. Storch, “Hübsche Blumenstücke und Stilleben,” 90. 120. Anderson, Utopian Feminism, and Bader-Zaar, “Women in Austrian Politics.” 121. Anderson, Utopian Feminism, 164–80. 122. Mayreder, Zur Kritik der Weiblichkeit, 23. 123. Mayreder, “Geschlecht und Sozialpolitik,” 103. 124. Schölermann, “Die zweite Schulausstellung des Vereines,” 191. 125. Schwartz, Shifting Voices, 70. 126. Mayreder, “Ein Beitrag zur doppelten Moral,” 85. 127. Mayreder, “Zivilisation und Geschlecht,” 36. 128. Mayreder, “Geschlecht und Sozialpolitik,” 115. 129. Swinth, Painting Professionals, 6. 130. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Tina Blau-Lang und die Frauenbewegung,” 38. 131. “Tina Blau-Lang (Ein Dankeswort),” 238. Emphasis added. 132. Ankwicz, “Tina Blau,” 267. 133. Mayreder, “Ein Beitrag zur doppelten Moral,” 85. 134. Mayreder, quoted in VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1903/4:8–9.

Chapter 2 Epigraphs: Lux, “Moderner Kunstunterricht,” 160; Čížek, quoted in Wilson, Lecture by Professor Čížek, 2. 1. Lux, “Moderner Kunstunterricht,” 160. 2. Mrazek, Wiener Werkstätte, 11. 3. Čížek, Papier-, Schneide- und Klebearbeiten, 5. 4. Hevesi, “Gustav Klimt und die Malmosaik.” 5. Ibid., 213. 6. Mrazek, Wiener Werkstätte, 15; Ankwicz-Kleehoven, “Wiener Werkstätte”; Egger, Expressive und Dekorative Graphik; Werkner, Austrian Expressionism, 63–115; Fahr-Becker, Wiener-Werkstätte, 208; Schmuttermeier, “From Commercial Art to Work of Art,” 27. 7. Kallir, Viennese Design and the Wiener Werkstätte, 130. 8. On Japonisme, see Pantzer and Wieninger, Verborgene Impressionen, and Noever, Ukiyo-e Reloaded. 9. Houze, “From Wiener Kunst im Hause,” 6. 10. Nebehay, Ver Sacrum, 70. 11. Lux, “Moderner Kunstunterricht,” 160.

12. Ibid. 13. Susi Singer-Schinnerl, Lebenslauf, n.d., Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, Handschriftensammlung, H. I. N. 161.937. 14. Leisching, “Künstlerisches Spielzeug,” 225. On Čížek, see Laven, Franz Čižek und die Wiener Jugendkunst. 15. Macdonald, History and Philosophy of Art Education, 342. 16. Viola, Child Art and Franz Čižek, 14. 17. Ibid., and Susi Singer-Schinnerl, Lebenslauf, n.d., Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, Handschriftensammlung, H. I. N. 161.937. 18. Wilson, Child as Artist, 5. 19. Ibid., 4. 20. Ibid., 8, 10, and Wilson, Lecture by Professor Čižek, 6–16. 21. Miller, “Elementary School.” 22. Franciscono, Walter Gropius and the Creation of the Bauhaus, 180–81, 191. 23. Wick, “Die Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule, Johannes Itten und Franz Čížek.” 24. Comini, “Toys in Freud’s Attic,” 173. 25. Lux, “Moderner Kunstunterricht,” 160. 26. Kuzmany, “Jüngere österreichische Graphiker,” 77. 27. Natter, “Golden Age of Color Woodcuts,” 49. 28. Kuzmany, “Jüngere österreichische Graphiker,” 78. 29. Natter, “Golden Age of Color Woodcuts,” 49. 30. Weikop, “Ver Sacrum.” 31. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 215–16. 32. Lux, “‘Anfrage an das k.k. Österreichische Unterrichtsministerium.’” 33. Lux, “Zur Reform der weiblichen Handarbeiten,” pt. 1, 20. 34. Kuzmany, “Jüngere österreichische Graphiker,” 77. 35. Čížek, Papier-, Schneide- und Klebearbeiten, and Zweybrück-Prochaska, Stencil Book. 36. Zweybrück-Prochaska, Stencil Book, 3. 37. “Ein Bilderbuch,” 523. 38. Strange, “Stenciling as an Art,” 21. 39. Kern, Reinhold, and Werkner, Grafikdesign von der Wiener Moderne, 39. 40. Werkner, “Grafikdesign und die Sammlung der Angewandte,” 8. 41. Bogner, “Gustav Klimt’s ‘Geometric’ Compositions,” 70. 42. Lloyd, “Viennese Woman,” 28, and Natter, Klimt’s Women, 119. 43. Hevesi, “Gustav Klimt und die Malmosaik,” 211. 44. Grunenberg, “Luxury and Degradation,” 36–37. 45. On the commercial tensions leading to the split, see Jensen, Marketing Modernism, 182–87, and Natter, Galerie Miethke, 62–81.

46. Clegg, Art, Architecture, and Design, 108. 47. Schweiger, Wiener Werkstätte, 45–51; Natter, “‘Rätselhalfte Dinge’ am Graben 17”; Hess, “Wiener Werkstätte,” 122. 48. Zuckerkandl, “Wo halten Wir?,” 38. 49. Ibid.; Zuckerkandl, “Von Ausstellungen und Sammlungen”; Levetus, “Studio Talk—Vienna” (1906); Hevesi, “Wiener Werkstätte”; Hevesi, “Wiener Brief”; Lux, “Moderne Kunst”; Haberfeld, “Aus Wien.” 50. Levetus, “Studio Talk—Vienna” (1906), 169. 51. Lux, “Moderne Kunst,” 68–69. 52. Seligmann, “Zweckkunst,” 19. 53. Seligmann, “Die neue Schule,” 82. 54. Seligmann, “Zweckkunst,” 20. 55. Ibid., 16. 56. Ibid., 21. 57. Ibid., 19. 58. Ibid. 59. Ibid., 20. Emphasis added. 60. Ogata, Designing the Creative Child, 147–59. 61. Munro, “Franz Čižek and the Free Expression Method.” 62. Ibid., 316. 63. Ibid., 312. 64. Stieglitz, Zeillinger, Suet-Willer, and Musser, Der Bildhauer Richard Kauffungen, 192–93. 65. Wieninger, “Die Bedeutung der japanischen Färberschablone,” 58. 66. Ibid. 67. Rampley, Vienna School of Art History, 116–28. 68. Muthesius, “Alois Riegl,” 146. 69. Rampley, Vienna School of Art History, 123–24. 70. Rampley, “Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire,” 258, and Brandow-Faller, “Folk Art on Parade.” 71. Hevesi, “Der Festzug,” 3. 72. “Der Festzug vor dem Kaiser,” NFP, Abendausgabe, June 12, 1908, 5. 73. Riegl, Volkskunst, Hausfleiß und Hausindustrie. 74. Ibid, 57. 75. Ibid. 76. Vasold, “Alois Riegl und die Nationalökonomie.” 77. Blackshaw, “Klimt, Schiele and Schönberg.” 78. Kokoschka, My Life, 28. 79. Werkner, “Kokoschkas frühe Gebärdensprache und ihre Verwurzelung,” 83. 80. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 322–66. 81. Shapira, “Pioneers,” 53. 82. Shapira, “Interpretation of Children’s Drawings,” 19. 83. Staggs, “Biographies,” 329. 84. On the doll as human doppelgänger, see Timpano, Constructing the Viennese Modern Body, 121–88.


Notes to Pages 50–66


Notes to Pages 66–81

85. Ludwig Hevesi, “Sezessions-Tarock,” Fremden-Blatt, Jan. 1, 1907, 21. 86. Ibid. 87. Neuwirth, “Oskar Kokoschka,” 199. 88. Witt-Dörring, “Postcard as an Artistic Medium.” 89. Čížek, Papier-, Schneide- und Klebearbeiten, 5. 90. Ibid., 8. 91. Smith, “Franz Čižek,” 30. 92. Schmuttermeier, “From Commercial Art to Work of Art,” 28. 93. Simmons, “Ornament, Gender, and Interiority in Viennese Expressionism,” 54. 94. Völker, “Fashion, Textiles, and Wallpaper,” 162. 95. Singer-Schinnerl, Lebenslauf, n.d., Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, Handschriftensammlung, H. I. N. 161.937. 96. Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform, 227, and Simmons, “Ornament, Gender, and Interiority in Viennese Expressionism,” 54–55. 97. Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform, 219, and Völker, “Gustav Klimt and Women’s Fashions,” 49. 98. Simmons, “Ornament, Gender, and Interiority in Viennese Expressionism,” 54. 99. On Klimt’s WW influences, see Natter, “Gustav Klimt,” 13–14. 100. Wieninger, “Gustav Klimt and the Art of East Asia.” 101. Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform, 228.

Chapter 3 1. Referentenerinnerung betreffend die KFM in Wien, Unterricht in Kunstgeschichte und Stillehre an den “Akademischen Schulen,” 1918, ÖStA/AVA/MfKU/Fasz. 3369, Z 17479/1918. 2. Beiblatt zum Gesuch des Vereines WFA und Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst um Pragmatisierung von fünf systemisierten Lehrstellen und einer systemisierten Kanzeleileiterstelle, 1927, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/ Fasz. 2884, Z. 5198/1927. 3. Ibid., 1. 4. Scott, Only Paradoxes to Offer, x. 5. Seligmann, “Wert und Nutzen des Kunststudiums,” 16. 6. Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 39–62, and Poch-Kalous, “Das Frauenstudium an der Akademie der bildenden Künste.” 7. Poch-Kalous, “Das Frauenstudium an der Akademie der bildenden Künste,” 204. 8. Brandow-Faller, “Art of Their Own,” appendix 3.2.

9. Levetus, “Imperial Arts and Crafts Schools,” 326. 10. Doser, “Die Frauenkunststudium in Österreich,” 120–21. 11. Garb, “‘Men of Genius, Women of Taste,’” and Lampela, “Women’s Art Education Institutions.” 12. Eitelberger, “Zur Regelung des Kunstunterrichts,” 61. 13. Ibid. 14. Zulassung von Frauen zum Studium an der ABKW, 1920, UAABKW/VA/1112/1920. 15. Garb, Sisters of the Brush, 87. 16. ABKW Faculty Council, inquiry on women’s admission to state art academies, 1871, UAABKW/VA 104/1872. 17. Ibid. 18. Prieto, At Home in the Studio, 91. Women were admitted since the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art’s founding in 1805, albeit under numerous stipulations. For example, they were forbidden to attend the antique class or to copy works from the academy’s galleries. These restrictions were lifted on a gradual and piecemeal basis: in 1844 one hour was set aside three days a week for female copyists in the academy’s galleries (after fig leaves were attached to the male statues), and in 1868 a women’s life class was finally established in response to female students’ petitions. 19. ABKW Faculty Council, inquiry on women’s admission to state art academies, 1871, UAABKW/VA 104/1872. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Radycki, “Life of Lady Art Students,” 11. 23. ABKW Faculty Commission, ruling on women’s admission, 1904, UAABKW/VA 1904/65. 24. VKFM, Studienordnung, 1910–11:1. 25. Seligmann, “Die Sezession und ihre Kritik,” 233. 26. VKFM Privatlehranstalt für den Unterricht in den bildenden Künsten, Öffentlichkeitsrecht, 1910, ÖStA/AVA/ MfKU/Fasz. 3360, Z. 24624/1908, Z. 19880/1910. 27. VKFM, Jahresbericht der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 1907/8:5–6. 28. Herdan-Zuckmayer, Genies sind im Lehrplan, 47. 29. E. F., “Zehn Jahre Kunstschule,” 7. 30. Handlirsch, “Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen,” 83. 31. Stieglitz, Der Bildhauer Richard Kauffungen, 10. 32. Garb, Sisters of the Brush, 150. 33. Ibid., 108.

34. Richard Kauffungen, “Die Wiener Kunstschule für Frauen,” NFP, Jan. 17, 1923, 3. 35. Richard Kauffungen, “Über das Kunststudium der Frau,” NFP, Sept. 14, 1920, 1. 36. Kauffungen, “Die Wiener Kunstschule für Frauen,” 3. 37. Kauffungen, “Über das Kunststudium der Frau,” 3. 38. Kauffungen, “Die Wiener Kunstschule für Frauen,” 3. 39. Adamson, Invention of Craft, 216. 40. Kauffungen, “Die Wiener Kunstschule für Frauen,” 3. 41. Ibid. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid. 44. Seligmann, “Die Sezession und ihre Kritik,” 233. VKFM Privatlehranstalt für den Unterricht in den bildenden Künsten, Öffentlichkeitsrecht, 1910, ÖStA/AVA/ MfKU/Fasz. 3360, Z. 19880/1910. 45. On “sehenlernen,” see Coen, Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty, 193. 46. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Vom Ende der Wiener Frauenakademie,” 222. 47. Seligmann, quoted in Wie sieht die Frau?, 22. 48. Ibid. 49. Ibid. 50. Adalbert Seligmann, “Die Frau als Künstlerin: Zur Ausstellung im Hagenbund,” NFP, June 3, 1930, 1. 51. Ibid., 2. 52. Schaffer, “Women’s Work,” 27. 53. Seligmann, “Wert und Nutzen des Kunststudiums,” 16. 54. Gmeiner and Pirhofer, Der österreichische Werkbund, 10. 55. Seligmann, “Der Zug zum Kunstgewerbe,” 64–73. 56. Ibid., 66. 57. Johnson, “Athena Goes to the Prater,” 60. 58. Seligmann, “Der Zug zum Kunstgewerbe,” 69. 59. Ibid., 70. 60. Ibid., 71. 61. Ibid., 72. 62. Ibid., 71. 63. Ibid., 66. 64. Seligmann, “Revenants,” and Seligmann, “Gustav Klimt.” 65. Seligmann, “Revenants,” 239, and Eisler, Gustav Klimt. 66. Seligmann, “Der Zug zum Kunstgewerbe,” 71. 67. Eisler, Gustav Klimt. 68. Seligmann, “Der Zug zum Kunstgewerbe,” 72. 69. Ibid., 73. 70. Seligmann, “Wert und Nutzen des Kunststudiums,” 16.

71. BMfIU, ledger notes, application for systemization of teaching positions, 1921, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 5764-IV/1922. 72. Referentenerinnerung betreffend die KFM in Wien, Unterricht in Kunstgeschichte und Stillehre an den ‘Akademischen Schulen,’ 1918, ÖStA/AVA/MfKU/Fasz. 3368, Z. 17479/1918. Emphasis mine. 73. VKFM, Satzungen der akademischen Schulen; Pfaff, “Kunstschulen,” 158. 74. Antrag der Abgeordneten Dr. Schürff, Pauly und Genossen betreffend die Zulassung der Frauen zum Unterricht an der Wiener Kunstakademie, 1919, UAABKW/ VA 540/1919. 75. Rosa Silberer, “Frauenstudium an der Akademie der bildenden Künste,” NFP, Abendblatt, June 24, 1920, 1. 76. Brandow-Faller, “Tenuous Mitschwestern.” 77. Seligmann, “Wert und Nutzen des Kunststudiums,” 2. 78. Ibid., 3. 79. Ibid., 2. 80. Ibid., 3. 81. Ibid. 82. Hedwig Brecher-Eibuschitz, “Eine Erwiderung an Professor Kauffungen,” NFP, Sept. 17, 1920, 1. 83. BMfIU, ledger notes, application for systemization of teaching positions, 1921, ÖStA/BMfIU/AVA/Fasz. 2884, Z. 5764-IV/1922. 84. VKFM Umbildung, 1925, ÖStA/BMfU/AVA/ Fasz. 2884, Z. 18530/1925. 85. VKFM, Satzungen der akademischen Schulen, 4. 86. Ibid., 6. 87. Referentenerinnerung betreffend die KFM in Wien, Unterricht in Kunstgeschichte und Stillehre an den “Akademischen Schulen,” 1918, ÖStA/AVA/MfKU/Fasz. 3368, Z. 17479/1918; Documents concerning admission of KFM students as guest auditors at the ABKW, 1920–21, UAABKW/VA 989/1920; VA 944, 1122/1921. 88. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Vom Ende der Wiener Frauenakademie,” 222. 89. Beegan and Atkinson, “Professionalism, Amateurism, and the Boundaries of Design,” 305. 90. Memorandum der KFM, akademische Klassen, 1919, VBKÖ-ARCH/ARCH-32, 5. 91. Seligmann, “Wert und Nutzen des Kunststudiums,” 3. 92. “Vierzig Jahre Wiener Frauen-Akademie,” NWJ, June 28, 1936, 14. 93. Memorandum der KFM, Akademischen Klassen, VBKÖ-ARCH/ARCH 32, 4. 94. Ibid.


Notes to Pages 81–92


Notes to Pages 93–108

95. BMfU, ledger notes, petition for professor title for Paula Taussig-Roth, 1927, ÖStA/AVA/ BMfU/Fasz. 2941, Z. 4386/1927. 96. Beiblatt zum Gesuch des Vereines “Wiener Frauenakademie und Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst” um Pragmatisierung von fünf systemisierten Lehrstellen und einer systemisierten Kanzeleileiterstelle, 1927, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 5198/1927. 97. Ibid. 98. Frauen-Akademie und Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst/Gleichstellung mit der KGS, 1929, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 12023/I-6a/1929. 99. See the cases of Surika Schächter (Romania), Hilde Bräunlich (Czechoslovakia) and Magdalene Röder (Austria). ÖStA/ AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 7477/1928; Z. 34927/I/6a/1931, Z. 30982/1935. 100. Koenigsmarková, “Children’s Toys in the Czech Lands,” 62. 101. KFM to BMI and BMfU, subvention application for the 1921/22 academic year, 1921, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 14610/1922. 102. Ibid. 103. Dreissig Jahre Frauenkunststudium, 36. 104. UAABKW/VA, Kartei 1920–45. 105. BMfIU, ledger notes, application for systemization of teaching positions, 1921, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 5764-IV/1922. 106. Ibid. 107. Ibid. 108. KFM, gleichmässige Behandlung der Schülerinnen der akademischen Klassen mit den Frequentanten der ABKW, 1922, ÖStA/ AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 24523/1922. 109. Ibid. 110. BMfU, ledger notes on WFA students’ admission to public museums, 1930, ÖStA/ AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 13029/1930, Z. 13576/1930. 111. Memo of the BMfU to the Viennese Municipal Government, Department 49, June 2, 1925, WStLA/MAbt 119:A32/49/6025/1925, Z. 6482, MA 49/1925. 112. Memo of the ABKW on WFA name change, 1925, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 18530/1925. 113. Memo of the BMfU to the Viennese Municipal Government, Department 49, June 2, 1925, WStLA/MAbt 119:A32/49/6025/1925, Z. 6482, MA 49/1925. 114. Ibid. 115. Beiblatt zum Gesuch des Vereines WFA und Schule für freie und angewandte Kunst um Pragmatisierung von fünf systemisierten Lehrstellen und einer systemisierten

Kanzeleileiterstelle, 1927, p. 1, ÖStA/AVA/ BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 5198/1927. 116. Cernuschi, Re/casting Kokoschka, 53. 117. Adamson, Thinking Through Craft.

Chapter 4 1. Goldwater, Primitivism in Modern Art, xix. 2. On child art and the avant-garde, see Fineberg, Innocent Eye. 3. Ibid., 11–12, and Rhodes, Primitivism and Modern Art, 55. 4. Burckhardt, “Ver Sacrum,” 3. 5. On secessionist toys, see Hansen, Kinderspiel und Jugendstil in Wien, and Jirásek, “Künstlerisches Spielzeug.” 6. Kinchin, “Hide and Seek,” 17. 7. Leisching, “Künstlerisches Spielzeug,” 225. 8. Lux, “Vom Spielzeug,” 425. 9. Harlfinger-Zakucka, “Die ‘Wiener Frauenkunst’ und ihre Ziele.” 10. On Raumkunst, see Plakolm-Forsthuber, Moderne Raumkunst, and Long, New Space. 11. Fineberg, When We Were Young, 210. 12. On Čížek, see Laven, Franz Čižek und die Wiener Jugendkunst; Laven, “First Class”; and the catalogue Franz Čižek: Pionier der Kunsterziehung, which remains the standard work. 13. Viola, Child Art and Franz Čižek, 35. 14. Laven, “‘First Class,” 78. 15. Wilson, Lecture by Professor Čižek, 2. 16. Viola, Child Art and Franz Čižek, 12–13. 17. Hevesi, “Das Kind als Künstler,” 449. 18. Ibid. 19. Loos, “Ornament und Erziehung,” 173. 20. Ibid., 177, and Loos, “Ornament und Verbrechen,” 78–88. 21. Hevesi, “Das Kind als Künstler,” 450. 22. Ibid., 451. 23. Ibid. 24. Wilson, Lecture by Professor Čižek, 21. 25. Haberlandt, “Austrian Peasant Art,” 30. 26. Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Wie mein Spielzeug entstand,” 6. 27. Leeds, “History of Attitudes Towards Children’s Art,” 95. 28. Viola, Child Art and Franz Čižek, 37–38. 29. Mehring, “Alma Buscher ‘Ship’ Building Toy,” 156, and Fisher, “Work Becomes Play,” 164. 30. Fisher, “Work Becomes Play,” 164. 31. On perceptions of women’s suitability for designing for children, see also Lange, Design of Childhood, 9. 32. Ibid., 161. 33. Benjamin, “Kulturgeschichte des Spielzeugs,” 114. 34. Levetus, “Modern Viennese Toys,” 214. 35. Ibid., 214, 219. 36. Lux, “Vom Spielzeug,” 425.

37. Ibid., 426. 38. Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Wie mein Spielzeug entstand,” 6–7. 39. Leisching, “Künstlerisches Spielzeug,” 226. Leisching was a tireless protagonist for the Art for the Child movement and a major supporter of drawing reform and children’s aesthetic education. 40. Ibid. 41. Hildebrandt, Spielzeug im Leben des Kindes, 309–10. 42. On mainstream commercial toys, see Ganaway, Toys, Consumption, and Middle-Class Childhood, 117–59. 43. Lux, “Vom Spielzeug,” 424. 44. Ibid., 425. 45. See “Die Puppe als Spielzeug für das Kind,” and Lange, “Kunst und Spiel.” 46. Leisching, “Künstlerisches Spielzeug,” 226. 47. Gronberg, “Biedermeier Modern,” 65. 48. See Barton and Somerville, Historical Racialized Toys. 49. Levetus, “Modern Viennese Toys,” 218. 50. On Podhajská, see Koenigsmarková, “Children’s Toys in the Czech Lands,” 59–60, 62. 51. “Wiener Werkstätte,” 125. 52. Levetus, “Modern Viennese Toys,” 218. 53. Koenigsmarková, “Children’s Toys in the Czech Lands,” 59–60. 54. Pávek, Obrázkový Vzorník Hořických Hraček, 3. 55. Dvoráková, “Ist das böhmische Spielzeug?” 56. Hildebrandt, Spielzeug im Leben des Kindes, 330–31. 57. Malvern, “Inventing ‘Child Art.’” 58. For a survey of the methodological challenges facing childhood studies scholars, see Duane, introduction to Children’s Table. 59. Johnson, Memory Factory, 258. 60. “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” Reichspost, June 2, 1908, 7. 61. Klimt, “Rede bei der Eröffnung,” 3. 62. Ibid. 63. Hevesi, “Kunstschau 1908,” 311. 64. Hevesi, “Von der Klimt Gruppe,” 309. 65. Lux, “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” 36. 66. Hevesi, “Von der Klimt Gruppe,” 309. Emphasis added. 67. Levetus, “Studio Talk—Vienna” (1908), 312. Participating students included Marianne Adler, Olga Ambros, Helene Bernatzik, Maria Vera Brunner, Deutsch, Otten-Friedmann, Harlfinger-Zakucka, Luise Horovitz, Ella Iranyi, Johanna Kaserer, Frieda Löw, Mautner von Markhof, Perlmutter, Podhajská, Pranke, Margarete von Remiz, Elsa Seuffert, Selma (Susi) Singer-Schinnerl, Marianne Steinberger, Paula Westhauser,

68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77.

78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96.

Marianne Wieser, Elisabeth von Wolter, Zels, and Eva Zetter. Hevesi, “Kunstschau 1908,” 314. Kuzmany, “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” 534. Hevesi, “Kunstschau 1908,” 314–15. “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” Reichspost, June 2, 1908, 7. Hevesi, “Kunstschau 1908,” 315. Kuzmany, “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” 534. Köln, “Neue Spielsachen für unsere Kleinen.” Hevesi, “Kunstschau 1908,” 315. “Die Puppe als Spielzeug für das Kind,” 101. Broomhall, “Imagined Domesticities in Early Modern Dutch Dollhouses,” and Lindencrona, “Dollhouses and Miniatures in Sweden.” Plakolm-Forsthuber, Moderne Raumkunst, 131. Adalbert Seligmann, “Die Kunstschau 1908,” NFP, June 2, 1908, 13. Ibid., 14. Lux, “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” 53. Adalbert Seligmann, “Die Kunstschau 1908,” NFP, June 2, 1908, 14. Kuzmany, “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” 530. Lux, “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” 53. Ibid. Leisching, “Künstlerisches Spielzeug,” 226. Lux, “Kunstschau Wien 1908,” 56. Ibid., 56. Laven, “‘First Class,’” 79. Obler, Intimate Collaborations, 13. Baetjer, “About Mäda,” 143. Natter, Welt von Klimt, Schiele und Kokoschka, 77. Baetjer, “About Mäda,” 141–42. Gröber, Kinderspielzeug aus aller Zeit, 1. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 325. Comini, “Gender or Genius?” 271.

Chapter 5 Epigraphs: Loos, “Das Luxusfuhrwerk,” 97; Loos, “Ich—der bessere Österreicher,” 100; Tietze, “Die Frage des österreichischen Kunstgewerbes,” 6; Roth, Emperor’s Tomb, 97–98. 1. Klimt, “Rede bei der Eröffnung,” 5. 2. Hevesi, “Kunstschau 1908,” 313. 3. On expressionism’s misogynistic strain, see Cernuschi, “Pseudo-Science and Mythic Misogyny,” and Auer, “Soul Rippers and Ripper Murder.” 4. Schorske, “Cultural Hothouse,” New York Review of Books, Dec. 11, 1975, 41, http://www -hothouse. 5. Simmons, “Ornament, Gender, and Interiority in Viennese Expressionism,” 256.


Notes to Pages 108–126


Notes to Pages 126–138

6. Tietze, “Die Frage des österreichischen Kunstgewerbes,” 6. 7. Simmons, “Ornament, Gender, and Interiority in Viennese Expressionism.” On modernism’s suppression of the decorative, see Anger, “Forgotten Ties”; Anger, Paul Klee and the Decorative; Broude, “Miriam Schapiro and ‘Femmage’”; Mainardi, “Quilts.” 8. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 322–44; Werkner, Austrian Expressionism, 20–21; Hofmann, Experiment Weltuntergang, 6–7, 64–73, 148–52; Schröder, “Not Blind to the World.” 9. Werkner, Austrian Expressionism, 18. See the exhibition catalogues Lloyd, Van Gogh and Expressionism, and Husslein-Arco, Wien-Paris. 10. Tickner, “Meditating Generation,” 26. 11. Johnson, Memory Factory, 29. 12. On the theatrical, performative aspects of Austrian expressionism, see Smith, Egon Schiele’s Landscapes. 13. On satire, irony, and caricature in contemporary ceramics, see Clare, Subversive Ceramics. 14. Grimme, “Keramiken von Gudrun Baudisch.” 15. Loos, “Das Luxusfuhrwerk,” 97. 16. Nochlin, “Rococo Subversive.” 17. Pelka, Keramik der Neuzeit, 195. 18. Weiser, “Zu den keramische Arbeiten Vally Wieselthiers,” 179. 19. L. F., “Wiener Werkstätte,” 259. 20. Weiser, “Zu den keramische Arbeiten Vally Wieselthiers,” 179. 21. “Kunstausstellung der Wiener Werkstätte,” NFP, Dec. 4, 1917, 8. 22. Frottier, Michael Powolny. 23. Schweiger, Wiener Werkstätte, 97–99. 24. Eisler, “Wiener Werkstätte,” 243. 25. Wieselthier, “Biography of Miss Vally Wieselthier,” 3. 26. Eisler, Dagobert Peche, 21. 27. Kogelnik, “Vally Wieselthier, Keramik und Ich,” 35. 28. Lütgens, “Modern Women Artists Between the Metropolises,” 251. 29. H. G., “Eine Staatliche Schule für Expressionismus,” 452. 30. DiCicco, “Enduring Double Standard.” 31. Roth, Emperor’s Tomb, 101. 32. Personnel file Jesser-Schmid, UAKS. 33. Eisler, “Wiener Werkstätte,” 243. 34. Kallir, Viennese Design and the Wiener Werkstätte, 110. 35. Adamson, Thinking Through Craft, 9–37. 36. Leisching, Berichte über die Wiener Werkstätte, 26. 37. Hussl-Hörmann, Vally Wieselthier, 78. 38. Hofmann, “Österreichisches Kunsthandwerk II,” 21.

39. Leisching, Berichte über die Wiener Werkstätte, 26. 40. Wieselthier, “Biography of Miss Vally Wieselthier,” 2. 41. Ibid., 1. 42. Wieselthier, “Few Dates About Myself,” 1. 43. De Waal, 20th Century Ceramics, 9. 44. Leisching, Berichte über die Wiener Werkstätte, 25. 45. Susi Singer-Schinnerl, Lebenslauf, n.d., Handschriftensammlung, H. I. N. 161.937, Wienbibliothek im Rathaus. 46. Wieselthier, “Zu meinen keramischen Arbeiten,” 237. 47. Wieselthier, “Der Reiz der Keramik,” 151. 48. Wieselthier, “Ceramics,” 101. 49. Ibid. 50. Ankwicz-Kleehoven, Ausstellung von Arbeiten, 25. 51. Hussl-Hörmann, “Ceramics,” 344. 52. Peiss, Hope in a Jar, 4. 53. Hofmann, “Emailarbeiten von Mizi Otten-Friedmann.” 54. Tietze, “Die Wiener Kunstschau, die Wiener Werkstätte,” 893. 55. Ibid. 56. Gmeiner and Pirhofer, Der österreichische Werkbund, 58. 57. Roeßler, “Kunstschau, Kunstgewerbeschule, Wiener Werkstätte,” 15. 58. See Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Dagobert Peche und das ‘Wiener Weiberkunstgewerbe.’” 59. Eisler, Dagobert Peche, 26. 60. Leisching, Berichte über die Wiener Werkstätte, 25. 61. Steinmetz, “Wiener Kunstschau 1920,” 199. 62. Eisler, “Wiener Werkstätte,” 245. 63. Josef Hoffmann, letter to Hans Tietze, quoted in Tietze, “Die Frage des österreichischen Kunstgewerbes,” 5–6. 64. Ibid., 5. 65. Tietze, “Die Wiener Kunstschau, die Wiener Werkstätte,” 893, and Tietze, “Die Frage des österreichischen Kunstgewerbes,” 6. 66. Christopher Long has argued that this oversimplified dictum downplayed the evolutionary way Loos believed ornament would gradually disappear from everyday objects (“Origins and Context”). 67. Respectively, Armand Weiser, “Der österreichische Pavilion auf der Pariser Kunstgewerbeausstellung,” NWT, July 2, 1925, 7, and M. E., “Kampf um Paris: Zu Julius Klingers Kritik der österreichischen Austellungssektion in Paris,” Der Tag, Jan. 6, 1926, 84/1057 WWAN. 68. Armand Weiser, “Der österreichische Pavilion,” 7. 69. Ibid.

70. Respectively, ibid., and Max Ermer, “Wo stehen Wir nun wirklich? Gedanken über die österreichische Kunstgewerbeausstellung in Paris,” Der Tag, June 25, 1925, p. 2, 84/914 WWAN. 71. Roeßler, “Österreichs Kunsthandwerk in Wiener Künstlerhaus,” 79. 72. Ibid. 73. Ermer, “Wo stehen Wir nun wirklich?,” 2. 74. Ibid. 75. “Nochmals Österreich auf der Pariser Internationalen Kunstgewerbeausstellung,” [name and date of newspaper are lost], 84/1053 WWAN. 76. Ibid., and anonymous, untitled review, [name and date of newspaper are lost], 84/872 WWAN. 77. Troy, Modernism and the Decorative Arts in France, 216. 78. Weiser, “Der österreichische Kunstgewerbe,” 309. 79. Ermer, “Eine ‘kunstgewerbliche’ Massenversammlung,” 90. 80. Ibid. 81. Loos, “Ich—der bessere Österreicher,” 100. 82. On Häusler’s and Primavesi’s attempts to reform the firm, see Rainer, “Chronology of the Wiener Werkstätte,” 130–58. 83. Wieselthier, “Biography of Miss Vally Wieselthier,” 4. 84. Julius Klinger, “Ein angenehmer Gast,” Das Tribunal, May 12, 1927, 10. 85. Ibid. 86. Ibid. 87. Weiser, “Wiener Kleinigkeiten,” 193. 88. Ibid., 194. 89. Hans Tietze, “Unsere Kunsthandwerk: Zur großen Ausstellung im Museum f. Kunst und Industrie,” NWT, Sept. 30, 1923, 9. 90. Steinmetz, “Neue Kunstwerke der Wiener Werkstätte,” 61. 91. Hussl-Hörmann, Vally Wieselthier, 62. 92. Hussl-Hörmann, “Ceramics,” 343. 93. Born, “Hertha Buchers Keramische Arbeiten,” 398. 94. Ibid., 397. 95. Weiser, “Zu den Arbeiten von Hertha Bucher,” 330. 96. Leisching, Berichte über die Wiener Werkstätte, 5–9. 97. Levin, “Vally Wieselthier, Susi Singer,” 49. 98. Cary, “Europe’s Part in the Ceramic Exhibition,” 7. 99. Rochowanski, “Die Plastikerin Susi Singer,” 402. 100. Ibid. 101. Childs, “Sugar Boxes and Blackamoors.” 102. Hellman, “Nature of Artifice,” 58. 103. Simmons, “Ornament, Gender, and Interiority in Viennese Expressionism,” 271.

104. For challenges to this “traditional” interpretation, stressing Austrian expressionism’s performative, theatrical posturing, see Jensen, “Matter of Professionalism”; Smith, Egon Schiele’s Landscapes; Timpano, Constructing the Viennese Modern Body. 105. Schiele, Briefe und Prosa von Egon Schiele, 47. 106. Loos, Sämtliche Schriften, 1:443. 107. On Kokoschka’s and Loos’s shared clients, see Shapira, “Pioneers.” 108. For each artists’ self-mythologizing narrative, see Kokoschka, My Life, and Schiele, Briefe und Prosa von Egon Schiele. 109. Whitford, Egon Schiele, 79. 110. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 330. 111. Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform, 228. 112. Johnson, Memory Factory, 111–76. 113. Ibid., 278. 114. Ibid., 298. 115. See Folsenics, “Erste Ausstellung der Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen,” 410. 116. Johnson, Memory Factory, 111–76, and Johnson, “From Brocades to Silks and Powders.” 117. Johnson, “From Brocades to Silks and Powders,” 273. 118. Roeßler, “Kunstausstellungen—Wien,” 205. 119. Ibid., 204–5. 120. Johnson, “From Brocades to Silks and Powders,” 286–92. 121. Roeßler, “Plastiken von Nora von Zumbusch,” 100. 122. Roeßler, “Die Frauen und die Kunst,” 179. 123. Ibid., 182. 124. Ibid., 181. 125. Scheffler, Die Frau und die Kunst, 62. 126. Loos, “Ornament und Verbrechen,” 78–79. 127. Loos, “Wohnungswanderungen,” 56. 128. Loos, “Ornament und Verbrechen,” 78. 129. Canales and Herscher, “Criminal Skins,” 249. 130. Long, “Origins and Context.” 131. Respectively, Loos, “Das Luxusfuhrwerk,” 97, and Loos, “Ornament und Verbrechen,” 79. 132. Loos, “Damenmode,” 128. 133. Ibid., 127. 134. Loos, “Ornament und Verbrechen,” 78. 135. Peiss, Hope in a Jar, 186. 136. Rubenstein, quoted in Ribeiro, Facing Beauty, 315. 137. Ibid., 307. 138. Grimme, “Keramiken von Gudrun Baudisch,” 175. 139. Richards, Eighteenth-Century Ceramics, 102. 140. Grimme, “Keramiken von Gudrun Baudisch,” 175. 141. Loos, “Das Luxusfuhrwerk,” 97. 142. Vincentelli, Women and Ceramics, 18–20.


Notes to Pages 138–142


Notes to Pages 142–174

143. Foster, “Ceramic Imagery in Near Eastern Literature,” 392–93. 144. Hussl-Hörmann, “Ceramics,” 344, and Anscombe, Woman’s Touch, 107–10. 145. Chicago, Dinner Party, 11. 146. On the Wieselthier-Kogelnik connection, see Schröck, “Kiki Kogelnik’s künstliche Verführungen,” and Zaunschirm, Kiki Kogelnik. 147. Julius Klinger, “Ein angenehmer Gast,” Das Tribunal, May 12, 1927, 10. 148. Roeßler, “Die Frauen und die Kunst,” 179.

Chapter 6 1. WFK Protocol, May 1926, private collection, Vienna. 2. Harlfinger-Zakucka, foreword to Wie sieht die Frau?, by the WFK, 7. 3. Anger, Paul Klee and the Decorative, 4. 4. Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven “Wiener Frauenkunst,” WZ, Jan. 1, 1928, 7. 5. On domesticity as modernism’s specter, see Reed, introduction to Not At Home. 6. Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses, xvii. 7. Parker, Subversive Stitch, 215. 8. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka to the BMI, Jan. 29, 1946, WStLA/Mabt 119: A32/49– 5977/1926, Z. 32301-4/1946. 9. Harlfinger-Zakucka, “Die ‘Wiener Frauenkunst’ und ihre Ziele,” 10. 10. Zimbler, “Two Careers of a Pioneer,” box 1, folder 5, IAWA. 11. Brandow-Faller, “Tenuous Mitschwestern.” 12. Kulka, “Frauenkunst,” 112. 13. Roberts, Civilization Without Sexes, 3. 14. Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 69. 15. Adamson, Thinking Through Craft. 16. Shedel, Art and Society, 5–46. 17. Adalbert Seligmann, “Kunstausstellungen,” NFP, Jan. 2, 1920, 7. 18. Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, “Frauenkunst,” WZ, Nov. 26, 1923, 1. 19. Ibid. 20. VBKÖ, Katalog der XII. Jahresausstellung. 21. Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, “Frauenkunstausstellungen,” WZ, Feb. 24, 1926, 7. 22. WFK Statutes, WStLA/MAbt 119:A32/49/5977/1926. 23. Helene Krauss, memo to the BMfU, 1925, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2940/Sig 15, Z. 23192/III/6a/1925. 24. Adalbert Seligmann, “Kunstausstellungen,” NFP, Dec. 22, 1927, 2. 25. Ibid. 26. WFK Statutes, 1926, WstLA/MAbt 119:A32/49/5977/1926. 27. Loos, “Ich—der bessere Österreicher,” 100.

28. Schweiger, Wiener Werkstätte, 117–20. 29. Harlfinger-Zakucka, “Die ‘Wiener Frauenkunst’ und ihre Ziele,” 10. 30. Bertha Zuckerkandl, “Ein neuer Künstlerbund,” WAZ, Apr. 2, 1912, 3–4. 31. Harlfinger-Zakucka, “Die ‘Wiener Frauenkunst’ und ihre Ziele,” 10. 32. WFK Übersicht, 1936, private collection, Vienna. 33. Klimt, “Rede bei der Eröffnung,” 4. 34. Harlfinger-Zakucka, “Die ‘Wiener Frauenkunst’ und ihre Ziele,” 10. 35. Ibid. 36. “Drei Künstlerinnen sprechen über Handarbeiten: Fanny Harlfinger, Zoë Muntenau, Fini Skarica-Ehrendorfer,” Radio Wien interview, June 18, 1931, VBKÖ-ARCH/ ARCH 172. 37. Ibid. 38. Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Christmas and Ornament,” 158. 39. Ibid., 160. 40. Long, “Origins and Context,” and Long, Looshaus, 79–94. 41. Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Christmas and Ornament,” 159. 42. Ibid. 43. Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Die künstlerische Handarbeit,” 42–43. 44. Ibid., 44. 45. Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Christmas and Ornament,” 159. 46. Hofmann, “Frauen in Österreichischen Kunsthandwerk,” 8. 47. Ibid. 48. Grimme, “Moderne Handarbeiten,” 568. 49. Ibid., 570. 50. Parker, Subversive Stitch, ix. 51. Ibid., 6. 52. Herwig, “Tüllstickereien,” 289. 53. Völker, “Fashion, Textiles, and Wallpaper,” 265. 54. Pechmann, “Neue Druckstoffe,” 177. 55. Jessen, “Die Frau und die neue Sachlichkeit,” 150. 56. Ibid. 57. See Jessen, “Die Frau und die neue Sachlichkeit,” and Fischer, “Die Frau und das neue Heim.” 58. Koplos and Metcalf, Makers, 153. 59. Ehrlich, “Wiener Frauenkunst,” 1. 60. Harlfinger, “Die Ausstellung ‘Wiener Frauenkunst,’” 4. 61. Harlfinger-Zakucka, foreword to Wiener Frauenkunst, by the WFK, n.p. 62. Ibid. 63. Else Ehrlich, “Wiener Frauenkunst,” Moderne Frau, Mar. 15, 1928, 1–2. 64. Schaffen, “Wiener Frauenkunst,” 27. 65. Haslbrunner, “Wiener Frauenkunst,” 4.

66. Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, “Wiener Frauenkunst,” WZ, Jan. 1, 1928, and Adalbert Seligmann, “Kunstausstellungen,” NFP, Dec. 22, 1927. 67. WFK, Das Bild im Raum, 5–11. 68. Ibid., 5. 69. Ibid., 11. 70. Harlfinger-Zakucka, foreword to Die Schöne Wand, by the WFK, n.p. 71. Ibid. 72. On the “housewife-as-artist” discourse, see Tiersten, “Chic Interior and the Feminine Modern,” and Auslander, “Gendering of Consumer Practices in Nineteenth-Century France.” 73. Walter Dessauer, “Die schöne Wand: Ausstellung im Museum für Kunst und Industrie,” NFP, Abendblatt, Mar. 28, 1933, 4. 74. Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses. 75. Parker, Subversive Stitch, 6. 76. Grimme, “Das Bild im Raum” (Die Österreicherin), 5. 77. On Buscher, see Mehring, “Alma Buscher ‘Ship’ Building Toy.” 78. WFK Übersicht, 1936, private collection, Vienna. 79. Zimbler, “Two Careers of a Pioneer,” box 1, folder 5, IAWA, and Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Ein Leben, Zwei Karrieren,” 294 n. 5–6. 80. Long, “Wiener Wohnkultur.” 81. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Ein Leben, Zwei Karrieren,” 295. 82. Eisler, “Aus Mietwohnungen von Liane Zimbler”; Eisler, “Räume von Liane Zimbler”; Hofmann, “Die Arbeit einer Innenarchitektin”; Hofmann, “Die letzten Arbeiten”; Hofmann, “Architektin Liane Zimbler”; Hofmann, “Moderne Zweizimmer-Wohnung.” 83. Hofmann, “Wohn- und Arbeitsstätte eines berufstaetigen Ehepaars,” Die Österreicherin, Dec. 1, 1929, 5. 84. Stratigakos, “Architects in Skirts,” 59. 85. Zimbler, “Die rechte Lebensform.” 86. Hofmann, “Die Arbeit einer Innenarchitektin,” 292. 87. On the myths surrounding the text’s origins and reception, see Long, “Origins and Context,” and Long, “Ornament Is Not Exactly a Crime.” 88. On Zimbler’s renovation, see Born, “Family Flat in Vienna”; Hofmann, “Eine Wohnung in Döblinger Cottage”; Plakolm-Forsthuber, “‘Loos Remodeled.’” 89. Born, “Die schöne Wand,” 211. 90. Ibid. 91. Hofmann, “Wohn- und Arbeitsstätte eines berufstaetigen Ehepaars,” 5, and Hofmann, “Eine moderne Zweizimmer-Wohnung,” 382. 92. “Wohnräume einer Wiener Architektin,” 23.

93. Rochowanski, “Wie sieht die Frau?,” 290. 94. Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 77. 95. Ibid. 96. Ibid., 78. 97. Tietze, quoted in WFK, Wie sieht die Frau?, 26. 98. Seligmann, quoted in WFK, Wie sieht die Frau?, 22–23. 99. Ibid. 100. Hainisch, quoted in WFK, Wie sieht die Frau?, 7–8. 101. Mayreder, quoted in WFK, Wie sieht die Frau?, 19. 102. Ibid. 103. Rochowanski, “Wie sieht die Frau?,” 287. 104. WFK, Wie sieht die Frau?, 7. 105. On feminist uses of handcraft, see Jones, “‘Sexual Politics’ of the Dinner Party”; Broude, “Miriam Schapiro and ‘Femmage’”; Broude, “Pattern and Decoration Movement.”

Conclusion 1. Shedel, “Art and Identity,” 39. 2. Ploil, “‘Entartete Kunst’ Exhibitions in Austria,” 132. 3. Shedel, “Art and Identity,” 38. 4. On the split of the Werkbund, see Long, “Wiener Wohnkultur,” 48–49. 5. Ibid., 48. 6. Waissenberger, Die Wiener Secession, 179–86. 7. WFK, Jubiläumsausstellung zur Feier des zehnjährigen Bestandes, 5–6. 8. Ibid., 6. 9. BMfU (Bundesministerium für Unterricht), ledger notes concerning WFK’s application for state prizes and funding, 1936, ÖStA/ AVA/Fasz 2942/Sig. 15, Z. 9180-I/6a/1936. 10. Hofmann, “Zehn Jahre ‘Wiener Frauenkunst.’” 11. Reichskammer für die Wiedervereinigung Österreichs mit dem deutschen Reich, Aug. 16, 1938, WstLA/Mabt 119:A32/49–5977/1926, and Polizeidirektion in Wien, Aug. 19, 1938, WstLA/Mabt 119:A32/49–5977/1926. 12. Lackner, “Naming of an Institution,” 86. 13. Plakolm-Forsthuber, Künstlerinnen in Österreich, 83. 14. Barron, “Modern Art and Politics in Prewar Germany.” 15. Aynsley, Graphic Design in Germany, 179. 16. Petropolous, Artists Under Hitler; Fritzsche, “Nazi Modern”; Maertz, “Modernist Art in the Service of Nazi Culture.” 17. Petropolous, Artists Under Hitler, 20–48.


Notes to Pages 174–191


Notes to Pages 191–202

18. Campbell, German Werkbund, 243–87; Heskett, “Modernism and Archaism in Design”; Taylor, World in Stone. 19. Tymkiw, “‘Art to the Worker!’” 20. Betts, Authority of Everyday Objects, 24. 21. Lackner, “Naming of an Institution,” 85. 22. Kain, “Stephanie Hollenstein,” 32. 23. Alexandra Ankwicz, “Die Malerin Stephanie Hollenstein,” n.d., p. 7, Nachlass Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, ÖGBA. 24. Kain, “Stephanie Hollenstein,” 27. 25. Kain, “Problematic Patriotism.” 26. Ankwicz, “Die Malerin Stephanie Hollenstein,” n.d., p. 6, Nachlass Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, ÖGBA. 27. Kain, “Stephanie Hollenstein,” 30. 28. Ibid., 28–29. 29. Member address book, 1938, VBKÖ-ARCH/ ARCH 65. 30. K. A., “Die Ausstellung ‘Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen,’” 42–43. 31. On the search for a National Socialist style, see Schenker, “Defining National Socialist Art,” and Mosse, “Beauty Without Sensuality.” 32. K. A., “Die Ausstellung ‘Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen,’” 43. 33. Richardson, “Nazification of Women in Art,” 56. 34. Korff, “Volkskunst und Primitivismus,” 388–90. 35. Ankwicz, “Die Malerin Stephanie Hollenstein,” n.d., pp. 8–9, Nachlass Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, ÖGBA. 36. Ibid. 37. Personnel Files Kopriva and Jesser-Schmid, UAKS. 38. Künstlerinnen Datenbank, ÖGBA. 39. Winklbauer, “Bettina Ehrlich-Bauer und die neue Sachlichkeit.” 40. Meder, “‘Arbeitende Frauen,’” 98; Fellner and Winklbauer, Die bessere Hälfte, 212, 214. 41. “Eine Österreichische Künstlerin macht in Amerika Schule.” For Wieselthier’s American influence, see Koplos and Metcalf, Makers, 153–58. 42. Sorkin, Live Form, 55–104. 43. O. L., “Vally Wieselthier’s Ausstellung in New York.” 44. Levin, “Vally Wieselthier, Susi Singer,” 49. 45. Johnson and Sessions, “Women’s ‘Werk,’” 79. 46. Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska to the Stadtschulrat f. Wien, Jan. 7, 1939, UAKS, and Reichsstaathalter in Wien to the Kunstgewerbliche Lehranstalt Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska, Nov. 28, 1939, UAKS. 47. On Zweybrück-Prochaska’s American influence, see Ogata, Designing the Creative Child, 154.

48. Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Über moderne Handarbeit,” NWT, Dec. 6, 1933, 17, and Zweybrück-Prochaska, “Die künstlerische Handarbeit.” 49. Hans Ankwicz-Kleehoven, “Introductory Remarks for the Opening of the Collective Exhibition of Prof. Emmy Zweybrück,” June 4, 1955, Nachlass Hans Anwkicz-Kleehoven, ÖGBA. 50. These articles are preserved in the IAWA, MS 1988 005, boxes 1, 2, 3 (Press Clipping and Scrapbooks). 51. “LA Is Home for Europe’s First Woman Architect,” [name of newspaper is lost], Nov. 25, 1949, MS 1988 005, box 2, folder 11, IAWA. 52. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Ein Leben, Zwei Karrieren,” 301. 53. Gräwe, “Porträt—Liane Zimbler.” 54. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Ein Leben, Zwei Karrieren,” 300. 55. Fanny Harlfinger-Zakucka to the BMI, Jan. 29, 1946, WStLA/MAbt 119:A32/49–5977/1926. 56. Polizeidirektion Wien, Niederschrift, Mar. 28, 1956, WStLA/MAbt 119:A32/49–5977/1926. 57. Prospekt, Modeschule der Stadt Wien im Schloss Hetzendorf, WStLA/MAbt 813:A44/ Diverses 1940–68. 58. Ibid. 59. Abschrift, Ansprache des Herrn Stadtrates Dr. Matekja, n.d., pp. 1–2, WStLA/MAbt 813:A44/Diverses, 1940–68. 60. Ibid. 61. Bericht über die Ziele der Modeschule der Stadt Wien, n.d., WStLA/MAbt 813:A44/ Diverses, 1940–68. 62. Alfred Kunz, Bericht über die Modeschule der Stadt Wien vor dem Gemeinderatausschuss III, Feb. 25, 1947, p. 1, WStLA/MAbt 813:A44/1/Diverses, 1940–68. 63. Ibid., 2. 64. Ibid. Emphasis added. 65. Beller, Concise History of Austria, 265. 66. Zita, Tatsachenbericht über meine Tätigkeit als Direktor der Wiener Frauenakademie, 1940, p. 2, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884/Sig 15/Mappe 15C, Z. 1795/1940a. 67. Ibid. 68. Ibid., 3. 69. Schörner, Der Österreichische Realismus am Beispiel eines Künstlerlebens, 180–81. 70. Zita, Tatsachenbericht über meine Tätigkeit als Direktor der Wiener Frauenakademie, 1. 71. Ibid. 72. See correspondences of Paula Taussig-Roth, Ankwicz-Kleehoven Nachlass, ÖGBA. 73. Johnson, Memory Factory, 391. 74. Zita, “Rückblick und Ausblick,” 26. 75. Ibid., 20.

76. Notice, Nachrichtenblatt des Zentralverbandes bildender Künstler Österreichs 39 (1938), 8. 77. Zita, Tatsachenbericht über meine Tätigkeit als Direktor der Wiener Frauenakademie, 5–6. 78. Reichskommissar für die Wiedervereinigung Österreichs mit dem Deutschen Reich, Nov. 22, 1938, WStLA/MAbt 49:VA 6025/1925, Z. 1. 79. Heinrich Zita to Deputy Mayor Blaschke, Nov. 14, 1938, p. 1, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU, Z. 43153/1938. 80. Ibid. 81. Ibid. 82. Ibid., 2. 83. Kunstgewerbeschule Provisional Director Robert Obsieger to Ministerium für innere und kulturelle Angelegenheiten, Abteilung I, Nov. 29, 1938, p. 1, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 45699/1938. 84. Ibid., 2. 85. AKBW to the Ministerium für innere und kulturelle Angelegenheiten, Abteilung I, Nov. 24, 1938, p. 2, ÖStA/AVA/BMfU/Fasz. 2884, Z. 45350/1938. 86. Plakolm-Forsthuber, “Vom Ende der Wiener Frauenakademie,” 230–31. 87. Ibid., 229. 88. Ibid., 234–36. 89. Maertz, “Modernist Art in the Service of Nazi Culture,” 353.

90. Blaschke, Fünf Jahre Kulturamt der Stadt Wien, 29. 91. Johannes Cech to Mag. Rat. Dr. Robert Kraus, Hauptabteilung III/1, Oct. 1, 1940, WStLA/MAbt 813:A44/Diverses, 1940–68. 92. Blaschke, Fünf Jahre Kulturamt der Stadt Wien, 30. 93. On von Schirach’s role as patron, see Petropolous, Art as Politics in the Third Reich, 220–26. 94. Weyr, Vienna Under Hitler, 130, 190–93. 95. Novotny, foreword to Gustav Klimt Ausstellung. 96. Morowitz, “‘Heil the Hero Klimt,’” 2. 97. Blaschke, Fünf Jahre Kulturamt der Stadt Wien, 30. 98. E. M. R., “Die einzige Frauenkunsthochschule Europas in Wien,” NWJ, Dec. 1, 1938, 6. 99. Promotional pamphlet, Kunst und Modeschule der Stadt Wien, 1944/1945, WStLA/MAbt 813:A44. 100. Viktor Weixler, Werdegang und Ziel der Kunst und Modeschule der Stadt Wien, n.d., WStLA/MAbt 813:A44/Diverses, 1940–68. 101. Lehrplan der Werkkunstklassen, 1940, WStLA/MAbt 813:A44. 102. Ibid. 103. Kunst und Modeschule der Stadt Wien (vormals Wiener Frauenakademie), 1944/45, WStLA/MAbt 813:A44/Schulaufsicht. 104. Houze, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform, and Obler, Intimate Collaborations. 105. Sorkin, Live Form, 214–16.


Notes to Pages 202–207

bIbl I ogRA phy

Archives Archiv der Hochschule für angewandte Kunst (AHA-VA), Verwaltungsakten, Vienna. Archiv der Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs (VBKÖ-ARCH), Vienna. International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA), Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Archiv (ÖGBA), Vienna. Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Handschriften-, Autographen-, und Nachlass-Sammlung (ÖNB-HANS), Vienna. Österreichisches Staatsarchiv (ÖStA), Vienna. Sammlungen des Museums der Stadt Wien (WMS), Vienna. Universität für angewandte Kunst, Sammlungen und Archiv (UAKS), Vienna. Universitätsarchiv der Akademie bildenden Künste (UAABKW), Vienna. Watson Library, Artist Files, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Wienbibliothek im Rathaus, Handschriftensammlung, Vienna. Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv (WStLA), Vienna. Wiener Werkstätte Annalen (WWAN), MAK / Museum for Applied and Contemporary Art, Vienna.

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Italicized page references indicate illustrations. Endnotes are referenced with “n” followed by the endnote number. ABKW (Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Viennese Academy of Fine Arts) curriculum, 27 descriptions, 25, 27 students of, 80 WFA students at lectures of, 90 women’s admission exclusion, 2, 3, 39, 72, 75, 76–78, 87 women’s admission inclusion, 87–89, 94, 203 women’s admission inclusion and WFA competition, 78, 80–81, 87, 88, 89 Académie Julian, 33 Adamson, Glenn, 82 Adele Bloch-Bauer (Klimt, Gustav), 48, 56–57, 57, 71 Adler, Ella, 162 Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. See ABKW Akt (Singer-Schinnerl), 139–40, 140, 146 Allgemeine Zeichenschule für Frauen und Mädchen, 33 amateurism dilettantism and stereotypical perceptions of, 37, 39–40 fields associated with, 93 pedagogical methodology and preference for, 48, 52, 62, 121 traditional compliancy of, 165–66 women’s art academy admissions policies and, 26, 40–42, 44–45, 90 See also dilettantism American Institute of Decorators, 198 Anger, Jenny, 9, 15, 157 Ankwicz-Kleehoven, Hans, 2, 162, 163 anti-Semitism, 189–90, 193, 194, 195, 196–97, 201 applied arts (Zweckkunst) academicism and exclusion of, 27 criticism of, 29, 60–61, 84, 120–21, 124, 126 exhibition installations of rooms for, 176, 177, 177–78 exhibitions promoting, 102 expressionistic style development, 127 status of, 15–16, 77, 126, 210n12

women’s art schools and courses in, 34, 35, 91–92, 95 See also expressionist ceramics architecture, modernist criticism of, 165, 166–67, 172 exhibitions challenging style of, 158–59, 172–73, 174, 175, 181 gendered perceptions of, 36, 138 style descriptions and marketing, 138, 140, 158, 172, 173, 175 women architects, 180 (see also Zimbler, Liane) art academies criticism and opposition to, 26, 27 gender separation policies, 8, 74, 80–83, 88, 94, 95 pedagogical reforms as response to, 2, 7, 8, 26, 27, 48, 62 pedagogical style of traditional, 26 women-only, descriptions, 25 women’s admission policies, 2, 3, 33, 39, 72, 75, 76–78, 87–89, 94, 203 See also ABKW; WFA Artěl, 112 “Art Forms in Nature” (Zuckerkandl, E.), 34 Art for the Child (Kunst für das Kind, Kunstschau, 1908) (exhibition) artist participants, list, 67, 102 chess set, 116–17, plate1, plate18, plate19 children’s nursery suite, 116, 117–18, 178 dollhouse, 115, 117–18, plate20, plate21, plate22 installation descriptions, 102, 113, 114, 115, 115–16 reviews and reception, 1, 2, 8, 103, 114–15, 116, 120–21, 122 themes, 8, 13, 114, 123 wooden toys displays, 86, 86, 116, 117 Art for the Child movement, 102, 104, 109, 112–13 Art in the Life of the Child (exhibition), 104 Artists’ Garden Party (WW event), 68 Art of the Child Kunstschau, 1908 (exhibition), 67, 113–14, 121 Art of the Woman, The (exhibition), 148–49 Asian art. See East Asian Art Association of Austrian Women Artists. See VBKÖ Athenäum League, 30 Austrian Exposition (London), 196 Austrian Werkbund, 32, 92, 176, 177, 178, 189–90



Bacchante (Kuhn), 135, 135 Bacher, Rudolf, 76, 77, 89, 94, 95 Bahr, Hermann, 1 Bakst, Léon, 71 Ballet Russes, 71 batik, 35, 36, 69, 167, 183, 185, 186 Baudisch, Gudrun art education, 130 ceramic style descriptions, 3 descriptions of, 132, 133 group exhibitions, 195 Köpfe, 152–53, 153 in WW ceramic workshop, 4 WW Model K-329 figurines, 134, 134 Bauernspielzeuge (peasant toys), 66, 102, 106, 106–9, 108 Bauhaus, 28, 36, 52, 106–7, 131, 178 Bauspiel-Schiff (Siedhoff-Buscher), 106–7 beadwork beaded handbags, 169–70, 177, 178, plate27 exhibitions featuring, 163, 177, 178, 183 ornamental revival featuring, 167 Beautiful Wall, The (exhibition), 158–59, 175, 181–82, 182 “Beauty of Work” (initiative), 191 Beer, Friederike Maria, 71 Beethoven (Klinger, M.), 37, 50 Beethoven Exhibition, 35, 50 Beethoven Frieze (Klimt, Gustav), 48, 50 befreite Handwerk, Das (The Liberated Handcraft) (exhibition), 189, 194 Beller, Steven, 200 Belvedere Museum, 34, 94–95, 122 Benjamin, Walter, 107 Berbalk, Elfriede, 92, 93, 160, 206 Bernhard, Lucien, 196 Bettelheim-Gabillion, Helene, 30, 54, 55 Biedemeier fashions, 69, 109 Bilderbuch der Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (Böhm school), 24, 25, 54–55, 59, plate5 Bild im Raum, Das. See Picture in the Interior, The Billroth Lecture Hall (Seligmann), 80 Blaschke, Hanns, 202 Blau-Lang, Tina associates, 33–34, 42 death and memorial, 35 dilettantism disassociation, 40, 44 exhibitions, 42 legacy, 34 Spring in the Prater, 34, 35 WFA anti-Semitism and family of, 201 WFA faculty member and influence, 23, 34–35, 44–45, 69, 211n67 women’s institutional exclusion protests, 3 Bloch-Bauer, Adele, and family biographical information, 57, 195, 205 Klimt portraits of, 48, 56–57, 57, 71 Blumenkorb (Kolbe), 68, 69

Böhm, Adolf art education, 62 Dawning Day, 50 descriptions, 49 exhibitions of, 50 exhibitions organized by, 102 multidisciplinary versatility of, 2, 49 pedagogical methodology, 45, 47, 48, 50, 52–53, 62, 78, 121 Ver Sacrum editorial committee, 26, 50, 209n8 WFA faculty member, 2, 24, 29, 35, 72, 177 See also WFA Böhm school book illustration, 23, 49, 54, 82, 83 See also picture books Born, Wolfgang, 16, 144, 145, 181, 186 Borsook, Liesel, 196 Brand-Krieghammer, Olga, 40 Brausewetter, Gertrude: Untitled, 105 breakfast nooks, 176 Brecher-Eibuschitz, Hedwig, 89, 90, 161 Broken-Through Flower Pot (Bucher), 140, 140, 145 Broude, Norma, 14 Bucher, Hertha architectural design collaborations, 181 art education, 130, 134 art league memberships, 130, 160, 192 ceramic fireplace designs, 185, 185 Durchbrochener Blumentopf (Broken-Through Flower Pot), 140, 140, 145 Durchbrochener Keramik, 184 exhibitions, 135, 140, 163, 183, 184, 185, 194, 195 influences on, 131, 144 Original-Keramik, 144–45, 145 style descriptions, 144–45 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 130, 160, 192 WW commission work, 145 Bund österreichischer Künstler, 103, 164 Burckhardt, Max, 9 Cabaret Fledermaus, 67, 130 cabinets-on-stands, 58, 60, 116, 117 Calm, Charlotte (Lotte) art education, 130 art league memberships, 130, 160 ceramic subjects and style of, 151 ceramic workshop resignations, 141 exhibitions, 153, 163, 179, 180 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 130, 160 Cech, Johannes, 203–4, 205 Century of the Child (exhibition), 122 ceramics folk art/peasant, as influence, 13, 134 gender associations, 36, 140 international exhibitions for, 146, 195, 196 porcelain, 91, 92, 140, 146, 154 WW workshops for ceramics, 2–3, 4, 69–70, 128–44, 151 See also expressionist ceramics chess sets, 3, 116–17, plate1, plate18, plate19

chest-on-stands, 179, 180 chests, toy, 178, 179 Chicago, Judy, 154, 188 child art primitivism exhibitions featuring, 9, 13, 121 expressionist ceramics style, 13, 134 postcard designs, 49, 65, 68 secessionists’ valorization of, 7, 9, 11–12, 24, 48–49, 101–4, 113, 122 tarot card designs, 66 textile designs, 166, 167, 168 toy designs, 103, 106, 109, 112–13 women artists’ style appropriation, 3, 9, 11–12, 13, 14, 53, 103, 127 children art education of, 50–52, 103–4, 105 art exhibitions with themes of (see Art for the Child) expressionist ceramics spontaneity compared to, 134 folk art linked to, 106, 120 nurseries for, 116, 117–18, 178, 179 peasant toys linked to, 108 as pedagogical models, 50–52, 102, 113, 120 picture books created for, stenciled, 24, 25, 54–55, 57, 59, 59–60, plate5, plate6 sexualization of, 12 women linked to, 12–13, 49, 96, 101–2, 106–7, 123 youth as symbol of creative innovation, 7, 9, 101 See also children’s art; picture books; toys children’s art anti-ornamentation criticism compared to, 16 exhibitions of, 104–5, 113–14, 121, 122 modernism comparisons, 9, 14, 50, 101, 105, 120, 191 primitivism links to style of, 9, 101, 104–5, 105 as style influence (see child art primitivism) value comparisons, 120–21, 122 as women’s art education methodology, 53, 67–68 Children’s Coloured Paper Work (Čížek), 67–68, 68, 69 children’s nurseries, 116, 117–18, 178, 179 child-woman themes, 12–13 Chinese mit Pferd (Chinaman with Horse) (Singer-Schinnerl), 146, plate26 Čížek, Franz child art and modernism comparisons, 9, 50 children’s art classes taught by, 50–52, 103–4 children’s paper work books by, 67–68, 68, 69 exhibitions, 102, 113–14, 121 influence of, 68, 131 lecture illustrations, 105 pedagogical philosophies and methodology, 47, 50–52, 61, 113, 131 students of, 133, 177 women and children links, 106 Clare, Claudia, 5

coeducation art academy practices of, 33, 76–77, 87–89, 94, 203 criticism of, 8, 74, 77, 80–82, 88–89, 94, 95 petitions for, 87–88 commedia dell’arte, 180 community of artists. See Künstlerschaft concentration camp murders, 195, 201 Contempora, 196 costume design, 91 criminality, 16, 96, 138, 141, 150 Curtained Wall (Truxa), 182, 182 Cyrenius, Maria, 92, 93, 192 Czeschka, Carl Otto, 86 Damenakademien, 8, 25, 29 See also WFA Darnaut, Hugo, 35 Dawning Day (Beethoven Exhibition group mural), 50 decorative arts critics as advocates of, 16 expressionism foundations in, 127, 147–48 gender associations, 74–75, 82, 83, 149–50 marketing strategies for, 13 National Socialist views of, 191, 194, 205 opposition to, 13, 16, 125–26, 138, 141, 148, 150, 166 promotion of, 13–14, 15–16, 126–27, 166–67 resistance against inferiority of, 5, 157, 158, 159, 161, 165 status and perception of, 8, 14, 15, 83–84, 159, 162 traditional art academy curricular exclusion of, 27 WFA courses and instructors, 34, 35, 92, 93 Degenerate Art (exhibition), 191 Delaunay, Sonia, 144 Delug, Alois, 76 Der Bund (journal), 79–80 Der Klavierunterricht (Harlfinger-Zakucka), 23–24, 24, plate2 Der Rosenkavalier (opera), 91 Deuticke-Szabo, Christa, 192 Deutsch, Marianne, 195 Deutsche Frauenkunst (exhibition), 163 Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration (journal), 121, 187 DiCicco, Rae, 131 dilettantism art education and admissions policies, 25, 26, 31, 38, 89, 90, 199–200 critical perceptions of, 37–38, 39–40, 90 expressionist ceramics intervention against, 131 National Socialism promotion of, 205 patronage and, 38 positive perceptions of, 40–45, 91, 121, 160 secondary education descriptions, 38–39 term origins, 38





Divéky, Josef, 64, 65 Dokumente der Frauen (journal), 43, 55 dollhouses, 115, 118–19, plate20, plate21, plate22 dolls, 12, 66, 108 Doppler, Frieda, 55 Dreaming Youths, The (Kokoschka), 12, 65, 120, plate7 Dumreicher, Armand von, 30 Durchbrochener Blumentopf (Broken-Through Flower Pot) (Bucher), 140, 140, 145 Durchbrochener Keramik (Bucher), 184 earthenware, 127, 132, 140, 151, 154 East Asian art, 49, 62, 63, 71, 150 École des Beaux-Arts, 33, 76 Ehrendorfer-Skarica, Fini, 165, 166, 167 Ehrlich, Else, 173, 174 Ehrlich-Bauer, Bettina, 195 Eight Women Artists, 88 Eisler, Max, 16, 85, 128, 130, 137, 180 Eitelberger von Edelberg, Rudolf, 29–30, 39, 76 embroidery exhibitions featuring, 135, 168, 169, 169–70, 182, 182 history of, 170 modern style development, 3, 6, 159, 170, 182 moral associations, 82 ornamentalism revival and, 167 quality philosophies, 165–66 scholarly studies on, 6 schools and courses for, 35, 39, 92 status and perception of, 38, 39, 93, 170 Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska Workshops, 54, 166, 168, 169, 170 Emperor’s Tomb (Roth), 126, 131, 132–33 enamel work, 91, 92, 93, 135–36, 177 engraving, 27, 35 Epstein, Clara, 211n67 Ermer, Max, 138, 139 Everyday Art (journal), 197 Exhibition House Friedrichstrasse (formerly Secession), 193, 204–5 Exhibition of Austrian House Industry and Folk Art (1905), 63 Exhibition of Industrial and Decorative Art (1930), 92 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925) Austrian Pavilion installation descriptions, 138, 138 expressionist ceramics submissions, 138, 138–40, 139, 140, 196 purpose, 137 reviews, 13, 137–42, 144 silver submissions, 92, 93 textile submissions, 144, 168, 169 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937), 92, 196 expressionism (Neukunst) artists’ image and self-stylization, 96

criticism and opponents of, 29, 60 exhibitions introducing, 1, 125 manifestos, 1, 34, 45, 124 National Socialism endorsement of, 191 origins and development, 14, 124, 125–26, 127, 147–48 secessionist philosophies as influence, 1, 66–67, 123–24, 147 style descriptions and themes, 65, 147–48 women artists in, 13–14, 126–27, 161 WW postcard style, 65–67 See also expressionist ceramics expressionist ceramics (expressive Keramik) artist acclamation, 3, 133, 138, 195–96 artists’ art education, 130 exhibitions featuring, 129–30, 137–44, 138, 153, 177, 177, 179, 180 humor of, 142 influences on, 13, 127, 131, 134, 144 male artists’ self-portraits, 152 material selection, 132, 154 production workshops for (see KW (Künstlerische Werkstätte)) reviews, 126, 128, 129, 137–42, 144 status and perception of, 14, 127–28, 140, 153–54 style descriptions, 3, 127, 128, 129, 135, 135, 139, 139–40, 140, 142, 144–46 subject specialties, 128, 135, 147, 151, 151–55, 153, plate24 themes, 127, 131, 135, 154 working process, 2–3, 127, 129, 130, 134 Fabiani, Max, 36 Fabrikausstellungen, 191 fashion criminality links to ornamentation in, 150 gendering of, 83 handbag ornamentation, 169, 169–70, 177, 178, plate27 linocut prints, 70 postcard designs, 69–71, plate10, plate11, plate12, plate13 for toys, 109–10 WFA courses and instructors for, 35, 91, 92 WW workshops for, 69 fashion schools, 95–96, 198–200, 200, 201, 204, 205–6 Fatherland Front, 189 Federn, Ernestine, 30 Feininger, Lyonel, 106 female Secession, term origins, 2 feminine-gendered art fields book illustration, 82, 83 ceramics, 29, 36, 127–28, 140, 153–54 decorative arts, 74–75, 82, 83, 149–50 embroidery, 29, 38, 39, 93, 150, 170 fashion design, 83 flower painting, 29, 37, 77, 83, 187 graphic art, 82

landscapes, 82 miniatures, 187 portraiture, 77, 82 still life, 37 textiles, 18, 29, 36 toymaking, 36, 106–7, 108 woodcut printing, 36 Fickert, Auguste, 80 Fidelio (opera), 91 Figur mit zwei Vögeln (Wieselthier), 135, 135 Fin-de-siècle Vienna (Schorske), 1 Fisher, Michelle, 107 Fläche, Die (journal) cover designs of, 48 publication descriptions, 48, 55 WFA student work featured in, 4, 24, 52–56, 56, 109, 114, plate4 Flächenkunst (surface decoration) children’s paper-collage mosaics, 67 definition, 48 exhibitions featuring, 102 fine vs. applied art and functionality comparisons, 57 friezes, 115 influences on, 49, 62, 63 Klimt paintings, 48–49, 56–57 postcards, 48, 49, 65–72 stencils, 48, 53–56 style descriptions, 48–49, 57 toys, 58, 59, 59–60, 78, 117 Flögl, Mathilde art league memberships, 160 descriptions of, 132, 133 exhibitions, 135, 139–40, 153, 183, 184 as Klimt painting decoration influence, 71 ornamental revival, 167 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 160 Flute Player and Bats (Kokoschka), 65 folk art (Volkskunst) children linked to, 106, 120 fashion-themed postcards inspired by, 71 as girls’ craft school influence, 166 as interior design influence, 183 Klimt painting decorations inspired by, 71 National Socialist promotion of, 191, 193–94 as ornamental textile influence, 169, 182 paper cutting traditions, 67, 69 peasant cabinets, 106 peasant toy collections, 106, 106, 108, 108 popularity of, 10, 63–64 as postcard design influence, 66 pottery, 13, 134 as toy design influence, 24, 60, 86, 102, 106–9 women linked to, 49, 106 as Zweybrück School influence, 166 Formwille, 2–3, 126, 142, 144, 146 Förster-Streffleur, Rudolf von, 90, 94 Fraenkel-Hahn, Louise, 162–63, 193 Frank, Josef, 180, 189 Frankfurt Kitchen (Schütte-Lihotzky), 180

Frass, Wilhelm, 203–4, 205 Frauenakademien, 8, 25, 29 See also WFA Frauenköpfe, 128, 135, 147, 151, 151–55, 153, plate24 Frauenkunst. See women’s art Frau und die Kunst, Die (Scheffler), 37–38, 40, 149, 150 free expression (pedagogical methodology), 45, 47, 50, 52–53, 61–62 Freie Vereinigung (FV), 162 Freud, Sigmund, 12 Friederike Maria Beer (Klimt, Gustav), 71 Friedrich, Otto students of, 69, 70, 133 Ver Sacrum editorial committee, 26, 209n8 WFA faculty member, 2, 35, 47, 91 women’s art exhibitions supported by, 163 Fritza Riedler (Klimt, Gustav), 48 Frohe Ostern (Pranke), 68–69, 70 functionality expressionist ceramics lack of, 128, 135, 137–38, 139, 140, 144 gender associations, 137 modern styles based on, 138, 140, 172, 173, 175 National Socialist support of, 191 principles on expressive form vs., 2–3, 126, 142, 144, 146 Funke, Helene, 161, 162 furniture design artist acclamations, 24 children’s nursery, 59, 60, 116, 117–18, 178, 179 lady’s salon, 176, 176 reception room, 179, 180 secessionist interiors, 58, 60 wall-embedded cabinets, 184 women’s academy course, 35 FV (Freie Vereinigung), 162 Galerie Miethke, 58, 58–61, 68, 72, 147 Garb, Tamar, 76 gardening, as teaching metaphor, 47, 52 Gauguin, Paul, 127, 147 GDK (Große deutsche Kunstausstellungen), 193–94 Gender and Culture (Mayreder, R.), 43, 44 General Austrian Women’s Association, 42–43, 80, 88 Gesamtkunstwerk criticism and rejection of, 105, 121, 124, 125 decline of, 1 exhibitions promoting, 1, 67, 102, 113, 178 female secessionists’ promotion of, 5, 6, 164, 178 secessionists’ promotion of, 5, 6, 13, 72, 85, 103 translation, 1 Geschlecht und Kultur (Gender and Culture) (Mayreder, R.), 43, 44 Gesellschaft zur Förderung moderner Kunst, 136 Girl (Singer-Schinnerl), 184 Gitterwerk, 58, 68, 117





Glasperlen, 169, 169–70 glass and beaded-glass, 3, 135, 169–70, plate27 Glöckel, Otto, 87–88 Goebbels, Joseph, 191, 204 Gogh, Vincent van, 127, 147 Goldman, Leopold, residence, 181 Goldwater, Robert, 11 graphic art artist acclamations, 178 gender associations, 82 proto-expressionist, 12, 65, 70 secessionist, 48, 53, 55 women’s academy courses in, 91, 201 Greenberg, Clement, 16 Griepenkerl, Christian, 29, 34, 77 Grimme, Karl, 169 Gröber, Karl, 107 Grom-Rottmayer, Hermann, 79, 89, 163, 209n8 Gropius, Walter, 16, 166–67 Große deutsche Kunstausstellungen (GDK), 193–94 Grunenberg, Christoph, 58 Guttmann, Leopoldine, 68 Hadrboletz, Mina, 92 Haeckl, Ernst, 150 Hagenbund (exhibition house) artist associates, 88 exhibitions at, 104, 162–63, 194–95 gender exclusion practices, 3, 148, 173 1908 Kaiserhuldigungsfestzug (emperor homage parade), 63 parade presentations, 63 women art student admissions, 94 Hahn, Lilly, 181 Hainisch, Marianne, 3, 30, 38–39, 185, 186–87 Hamburg Kunsthalle, 41 Hamburg Society of Friends of Art, 41 Hands at Work (Zweybrück-Prochaska), 197 Harlfinger, Richard, 79, 163, 173, 209n8 Harlfinger-Zakucka, Fanny art education, 23, 37, 37, 48 art league memberships, 155, 159, 161–62 art style descriptions and influences, 3, 24, 63 children’s nursery designs, 115–16, 116, 178, 179 death of, 198 Der Klavierunterricht, 23–24, 24, plate2 exhibition curation awards, 180 exhibitions of, 58–60, 86, 86, 102, 109, 115–16, 116, 160, 176 exhibitions organized by, 158, 163, 174, 175, 178, 182, 190 Madonna, 116 philosophies of, 8–9 publicity and recognition, 24, 109, 114 Schachspiel (chess set) with Podhajská, 3, 9, 116–17, plate1, plate18, plate19 Schõnbrunn, 52–53, plate4 Selbstporträt, 23–24, 24

stencil prints for children’s picture books, 24, 25, 54, 55, 63, plate5 toy designs, 24, 60, 86, 86, 87, 109–11, 112, 117, plate15, plate16, plate17 women’s art leagues founded by, 103, 124, 155, 157–58, 159, 164–65 (see also WFK) Hartmann, Bertha, 30 Hartmann, Ludo, 30 Haus am Horn, 178 Haus Hennenberg, 118, 119 Häusler, Philip, 141 Haus Moll, 118, 118–19 Hellmer, Edmund, 77, 80, 87–88, 202 hermaphroditism, 30–31, 38, 126, 133, 154, 161, 194 Herzog-Hauser, Gertrude, 186 Hetzendorf Palace, 198–99, 200 Hevesi, Ludwig Art for the Child exhibition reviews, 114–15, 119, 121 Böhm descriptions, 49 child art reviews, 104–5 Flächenkunst principles, 85 Galerie Miethke exhibition reviews, 59 Kaiserhuldigungsfestzug 1908 reviews, 63–64 Klimt, Gustav, reviews, 48, 57 Kokoschka reviews, 125 Moser, E., tarot card design reviews, 66 parade reviews, 63–64 hierarchies of art decorative arts, status of, 14, 15, 36, 73–74, 93, 159, 162 National Socialist resurrection of, 192 secessionist rejection of, 5, 72, 74, 84, 102, 103 traditional views of, 14, 16, 26, 36, 84, 113, 159 Viennese Women’s Academy philosophies on, 7, 8, 15–16, 78, 91 women artists as threat to, 123, 126 women’s art academy philosophies on, 7, 8, 15–16, 78, 91 women’s art groups’ philosophical views on, 5, 157, 158, 159, 161, 162, 165 See also feminine-gendered art fields Hildebrandt, Paul, 108, 112–13, 117, 119, 120 Hirsch-Landesmann, Heddi, 32 Historical Museum of the City of Vienna, 199 Hitler, Adolf, 194, 204 Hoffmann, Josef applied-arts school reforms implemented by, 28 architectural school gender discrimination practices, 36 artist associations led by, 189 ceramics workshop artists recruited by, 69–70, 133–34 ceramic workshop reorganization opposition, 141 child art primitivism, and, 104 commercial workshops founded by, 1 country estate commissions, 141 exhibitions organized by, 102, 189, 194

exposition installations organized by, 138 expressive ceramics review response, 137 Haus Hennenberg, 118, 119 Haus Moll, 118, 118–19 interior design exhibition installations, 57, 57, 58, 58 metalwork product line, 68 multidisciplinary versatility of, 2 Palais Stoclet model, 58, 61, 119 peasant toy collections of, 106, 108, 108 silver flatware designs, 60–61, 86 students of, 70, 71, 133 toy designs, 106 Hoffmann, Wolfgang, 196 Hofmann, Else, 16, 133, 167, 180, 181–82, 186, 190 Hokusai, 63 Hollenstein, Stephanie biographical information, 161, 162, 192–94 Positano città morte, 193–94 Holzmeister, Clemens, 189 Hope II (Klimt, Gustav), 125–26 Hořice Spielwarengenossenschaft, 112 Houze, Rebecca, 17–18, 70, 72, 148 How Does the Woman See? (Wie sieht die Frau? exhibition), 157, 158, 158–59, 182–87, 184 Hussl-Hörmann, Marianne, 135 “Ideal Community of All Those Who Create and Enjoy Art, The.” See Künstlerschaft ideal community philosophies. See Künstlerschaft Improvisierter Festzug (Böhm school), 115, 115, 116 individuality aesthetic perception theories, 186–87 criticism and opposition to, 13, 128, 139 gendering of, 137 pedagogical promotion of, 7, 24–25, 34, 45, 78, 82 promotion of, 128 industrial design, 189, 191 “innocent eye, the,” 9, 101, 103 innovation, creative gendering of, 131 youth as metaphor for, 7, 9 , 101 institutional separatism art academy policies of, 2, 3, 29–33, 75–78 criticism of, 3, 88, 160 exhibition practices, 3, 81, 148, 160–61, 173 philosophies supporting, 8, 74, 77–78, 80–82, 87–89, 94, 95, 202 interior design installations applied-arts rooms, 176, 177, 177–78 breakfast nooks, 176 children’s nurseries, 116, 117–18, 178, 179 exhibition purpose, 158–59, 163, 173, 174, 175, 181–82 lady’s salons, 176, 176–77 lounges, 183, 185, 186 reception rooms, 176, 177, 178–80, 180 secessionist, 57, 57, 58, 58, 60

International Council of Women, 183 Internationale Kunstschau (1908 exhibition), 1, 125–27, 148 International Exhibition of Ceramic Art, 146, 195, 196 international style, 173, 181 See also Neue Sachlichkeit Ipold, Maja, 39 Iranyi, Ella, 32, 34, 217n67 Itten, Johannes, 52, 92, 131 Janke, Urban, 55 Japanese art, 49, 62, 63, 71, 150 Jensen, Robert, 15 Jesser-Schmid, Hilde art education, 72, 130 art league memberships, 67, 69, 130, 160, 161 exhibitions co-organized by, 183 exhibitions of, 135, 176, 177 fashion print series, 70 multidisciplinary versatility of, 2, 132, 160 National Socialist persecution, 195 ornamental revival, 167 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 67, 69, 130, 160, 161 WW postcard designs, 67 Jettmar, Rudolf, 29, 35, 76, 209n8 Jews anti-Semitism, 189–90, 193–98, 201 art league memberships of, 32 Nazi art expropriations from, 205 women’s art academy students, 32 Jodl, Friedrich, 23, 27, 30–31, 35, 41 Johanna Staude (Klimt, Gustav), 71, plate14 Johnson, Julie dilettantism, 39 women artists as secessionist influences, 34 women artists as style transmitters, 12, 148 women artists’ careers, 6 women artists’ inclusion, 17, 113, 148 women artists’ influence on expressionism, 127 women’s art criticism, 149 Jugendkunstkursen, 50–52, 103–4 Jugendstil, 66, 127, 147 Jung, Moritz, 55 Junge Kunst im Deutschen Reich (exhibition), 203–4 Jungnickel, Ludwig Heinrich, 55 Jurisprudence (Klimt, Gustav), 31 Justitia und Clementia (Kauffungen), 80 Kaiserhuldingsfestzug (emperor homage parade), 63–64, 65, 67 Kallir, Jane, 49, 132 Kalvach, Rudolf, 12, 55, 64, 65 Kandinsky, Wassily, 16, 106 Kastl von Traunstätt, Elsa, 62 katagami, 49, 63 Kauffmann, Angelika, 38, 149





Kauffungen, Richard art career, 80 art education, 80 dilettantism views, 90–91 Justitia und Clementia, 80 Thucydides, 80 WFA faculty member, 28, 33 WFA leadership and principles, 78–79, 81–83, 86–92 WFA retirement and departure, 95 WFA state institution status, 93–95 Kenner, Anton von, 70, 176 KFM (Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen), 2, 8, 95 See also WFA KGS (Kunstgewerbeschule) children’s art classes at, 50–51, 104 faculty at, 72 gender discrimination practices, 36 National Socialism and anti-Semitic policies, 195 1908 emperor homage parade designs by students from, 64, 65 ornamental studies classes, 131 parade designs by students from, 64, 65 pedagogical philosophies, 7, 25, 28, 50 publications featuring student work from, 55 WFA decline and student transfer proposals, 202–3 WFA student attendance at lectures at, 90 women’s admission restrictions, 29–30, 75–76 women students at, 68, 70, 71, 72, 75, 91, 128, 130, 133, 134, 176 Kinderspielzeugschrank (Siedhoff-Buscher), 178 Kind und Kunst (journal), 60, 109, 119, 121, 123 Kindweib, 12–13 kineticism, 131, 161 Kitt, Ferdinand, 79, 203–4, 209n8 Klee, Paul, 106 Klimt, Georg, 23, 35, 92, 209n8 Klimt, Gustav Adele Bloch-Bauer, 48, 56–57, 57, 71 art leagues founded by, 1, 103, 164 art style descriptions, 48–49, 56–57, 66, 85 Beethoven Frieze, 48, 50 child art primitivism, 9, 104, 122 exhibitions of, 48, 56, 57, 204–5 exhibitions organized by, 102 Friederike Maria Beer, 71 Fritza Riedler, 48 Hope II, 125–26 ideal community philosophies of, 40–41, 114, 119, 209n20 Johanna Staude, 71, plate14 Mäda Primavesi, 71, 122–23, plate23 National Socialist perception of, 204–5 Nuda Veritas, 9 Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence, 31 Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer, 32 reviews, 85

secession exhibition posters designed by, 53 Stammtisch, 122 University of Vienna mural installation scandals, 31 Klimt Group art education pedagogical philosophies, 26–27, 28, 36, 50, 62, 86, 121 art and artmaking redefinitions, 26, 121 art league philosophical conflicts and schism, 1, 58, 114, 157–58 ceramic style descriptions, 130 child art primitivism, 7, 9, 101–2, 103–5, 113, 122 criticism and opposition to, 80, 84, 85 decline of, 1–2 design principles promoted by, 8, 48, 53, 60, 102, 113 exhibitions of, 1, 8, 13, 58–61, 102, 113, 125 expressionist principles based on, 1, 66–67, 123–24, 147 folk art valorization, 10, 63–64, 66 galleries representing, 58 holistic art philosophies, 5, 6, 13, 72, 85, 103 1908 emperor homage parade designs by, 63–64 parade designs by, 63–64 patrons of, 6 spatial art harmonization philosophies, 8, 103 as WFA influence, 2–3, 23, 29, 35 women artist inclusivity, 24, 32, 33, 53, 113, 121–22 youthfulness valorization and symbolism, 7, 9, 101, 102 Klinger, Julius, 16, 141–42, 155, 164 Klinger, Max: Beethoven, 37, 50 Kneeling Youths (Minne), 56, 57 Kniepert-Fellerer, Erni, 91 Koch, Alexander, 60 Koehler, Mela art education, 71 Mode, 71, plate12 Mode, 71, plate13 Kogelnik, Kiki, 131, 135, 154 Kohn, Hedwig, 92 Kokoschka, Oskar art style descriptions, 12, 65 descriptions and image, 65, 125 Dreaming Youths, The (Die träumenden Knaben), 12, 65, 120, plate7 exhibitions, 125 expressionist dramas and costume designs by, 124, 125, 152 Flute Player and Bats, 65 Mädchen Li und ich, Das, 65, plate7 mentors and expressionist conversion of, 147 1908 emperor homage parade costume and prop designs, 64, 65 parade costume and prop designs, 64, 65 secessionist-influenced expressionism, 1, 66–67, 123–24, 147 teaching qualification issues, 79

traditional academy descriptions, 37 Warrior, 152 Kolbe, Leopoldine biographical information, 68 Blumenkorb, 68, 69 Koller-Pinell, Broncia, 33, 148 Kollwitz, Käthe, 186 König, Friedrich, 2, 23, 26, 35, 209n8 Köpfe (Baudisch), 152–53, 153 Kopf mit Blume (Wieselthier), 128, 151, 152, plate24 Koplos, Janet, 173 Kopriva, Erna art education, 130 art league memberships, 130, 160 exhibitions, 135, 153, 183, 184 National Socialist persecution, 195 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 130, 160 Korner, Sofie, 32 Körner, Theodor, 199 Kowalski-Wallace, Elizabeth, 154 Kraus, Karl, 12–13 Krauss, Helene von, 161, 162, 163 Kuhn, Dina art education, 130 art league memberships, 130, 160 Bacchante, 135, 135 exhibitions, 135, 135, 153, 195 Spring, 137 style descriptions, 137, 152 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 130, 160 Kulturamt, 202, 203 Kundmann, Carl, 80 Kunst der Frau, Die (exhibition), 148–49 Kunsterziehungsreformbewegung, 41 Kunst für das Kind. See Art for the Child Kunstgewerbeweiber ceramics production of (see expressionist ceramics) criticism and opposition to, 13–14, 126, 141, 150 lifestyle descriptions, 132–33 material selection, 132 multidisciplinary versatility of, 132 political opposition, 190 rebellion and secession of, 157–58 term translation and usage, 126 women’s leagues founded by (See WFK) Kunst im Leben des Kindes (exhibition), 104 Künstlerbund Wiener Frauen, 192 Künstlerhaus artist members, 80 descriptions and influence, 77, 80 gender exclusion practices, 3, 148, 173 women artist participants, 34, 42, 148, 162 women student admissions, 94 Künstlerinnen in Österreich (Plakolm-Forsthuber), 17 künstlerische Gesamtausbildung translation, 25 as WFA pedagogical philosophy, 25, 26, 28, 32–33, 34, 35–36, 41, 43 women’s movement philosophies supporting, 43

Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen (exhibition), 193, 193–94 Künstlerisches Frauenschaffen (philosophy), 194 Künstlerschaft (Ideal Community of All Those Who Create and Enjoy Art) ceramic workshop principles of, 131 female secessionist philosophy, 164–65 patrons’ membership in, 40–41, 71 secessionist philosophy, 26, 40–41, 114, 119, 209n20 women’s art academy philosophy, 26, 32, 40–45, 121 Kunstschauen 1908 (see Art for the Child; Kunstschau 1908) 1909, 1, 125–27, 148 1920, 134–37, 135, 151 philosophies promoted by, 113, 114, 165 Kunstschau (1908) artist participants, 33, 48, 66, 86, 113, 148, 195 children’s art installation, 67, 113–14 descriptions and motivation, 102 exhibition descriptions, overview, 113 organizers of, 102 philosophies promoted by, 113, 114 reviews, 84–86, 120 themes, 185 See also Art for the Child Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (KFM), 2, 8, 95 See also WFA Kunsttrieb, 102 Kunz, Alfred, 199–200 Kupferstecher-Akademie, 27 Kurzweil, Maximilian, 26, 29, 35, 209n8 Kuzmany, Karl, 52–53, 115, 116, 119, 212 KW (Künstlerische Werkstätte) ceramics production, associated with, 2–3, 4, 69–70, 130–31, 133–34 exhibitions featuring ceramics of, 129–30, 134–44 postcard designs, 69–70 purpose, 130 reorganization and artist resignation, 141 Kyselo, Jan, 112 lacemaking, 92, 167, 168, 169 Lackner, Rudolfine, 192 lady’s salons, 176, 176–77 Lagus-Möschl, Gabi anti-Semitism and emigration of, 195 art education, 72, 176 art league memberships, 67, 69, 161, 176 exhibitions co-organized by, 182 exhibitions of, 163, 176, 176, 176–77 lady’s salon designs, 176, 176–77 ornamental revival, 167 postcard designs, 67 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 67, 69, 161, 176 Larisch, Rudolf von, 54, 68, 71





Late Roman Art Industry (Riegl), 15 Laurencin, Marie, 186 League of Austrian Women’s Associations, 42–43, 88 League of German Girls, 204, 205 Le Corbusier, 16, 138, 140 Lederer, August, 31, 104, 205 Lederer, Elisabeth, 32, 104, 205 Lederer, Serena, 6, 104 Lehrwerkstattunterricht, 28 Leinkauf-Weineck, Franziska, 211n67 Leisching, Julius, 102, 108, 109 Leisching, Marianne, 132 Leitsch-Uray, Hilde, 192 Leuchter (Wieselthier), 139, 139 Levetus, Amelia, 10, 59, 107, 112, 114, 121 Liberated Handcraft, The (exhibition), 189, 194 Lichtwark, Alfred, 41–42 life classes, 29, 32–33, 76–77, 214n18 Likarz-Strauss, Maria anti-Semitism and emigration, 195 architectural design collaborations, 181 art education, 48, 70, 72 art league memberships, 67, 69, 160 batik wall panneau displays, 183, 185, 186 beaded-glass evening bag, 169–70, plate27 descriptions of, 132, 133 exhibitions, 135, 153, 183, 184, 186 multidisciplinary versatility of, 2, 160 National Socialist clashes, 191–92 ornamental revival, 167 postcard and prints, 67, 70–71, plate11 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 67, 69, 160 WW textile department recruitment, 70 lithography, 35, 65–69, 69, 70, plate8, plate9 Living with Famous Paintings (exhibition series), 198 Löffler, Berthold, 64, 68, 130, 206 Lombroso, Caesar, 150 Long, Christopher, 16, 150, 166, 218n66 Loos, Adolf architectural designs of, 181 art themes of, 12 child art descriptions, 105 decorative arts criticism, 13, 16, 36 expressionist ceramics criticism, 128, 140–41, 153, 155, 164 expressionist myth of origins promoted by, 148 expressionist protégés of, 147 modernism theories, 140 ornamentation criticism, 16, 125, 150, 153, 166, 181 responses to criticism of, 141, 155, 164, 181, 182 Lott, Else: Die Fläche cover design, 48, plate3 Löw-Lazar, Fritzi anti-Semitism and emigration, 195 art education, 32, 72 art league memberships, 67, 69 chests-on-stands, 179, 180 exhibitions, 102, 116, 135, 179, 180

postcard designs, 67 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 67, 69 Lux, Joseph art pedagogical philosophies, 102 Böhm pedagogical methodology, 47, 48, 50, 52 child art descriptions, 105 craft school education and handcraft criticism, 53 design education descriptions, 50 exhibition reviews, 59, 60, 114, 121 on toys and toy design, 108, 109 Lyceum (Austria), 38–39 Mäda Primavesi (Klimt, Gustav), 71, 122–23, plate23 Mädchen Li und ich, Das (Kokoschka), 65, plate7 Madonna (Harlfinger-Zakucka), 116 Magyar, Marie, 162 Mainardi, Patricia, 14 Malmosaik, 48, 57, 66, 85 Maneles, Leontine, 55 Mannheim Kunsthalle, 48, 56, 57 Marchet, Gustav, 79 Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples and Sicily, 38 Maria Christina, Archduchess of Austria, 38 Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, 38, 80, 198 Martin, Christian, 79, 89, 163, 209n8 masculinity art fields associated with, 36, 84, 92, 138 ceramic materials associated with, 140 functionality associated with, 137 innovation associated with, 131 of modern civilization, 43–44 modern styles associated with, 140 Matejka, Viktor, 199 materials aesthetic philosophies on, 24, 28, 50, 60 gendering of, 140 wartime availability and selection of, 132 Mautner von Markhof, Magda: Puppenhaus, 115, 118–19, plate20, plate21, plate22 Mayreder, Karl, 23, 30, 35 Mayreder, Rosa art education, 42, 211n67 dilettantism debates, 42 exhibition reviews and associates, 42 exhibitions, 42 feminist associations co-founded by, 42–43 gendered aesthetics essays by, 185, 186, 187 proponents of, 33 pseudonyms of, 43 women’s art academies and secessionist influences of, 20, 23, 35, 44, 187 women’s institutional exclusion protests, 3 women’s movement philosophies of, 43–44, 45 Medicine (Klimt, Gustav), 31 Mehrfachkünstler/in. See multidisciplinary artists Memory Factory, The (Johnson), 12, 16 mentally ill, 96, 191

metalworking commercial product lines, 58, 68, 117 as toy design influence, 117 women’s art academy courses and students in, 23–24, 24, 35, 91, 92 Metropolitan Museum of Art, 146, 195 Meyer, Rosa, 52 MfKI (Museum für Kunst und Industrie) exhibitions at, 2, 63, 134, 173 Japanese katagami collection of, 62 needlework schools established by, 39 Michalek, Ludwig, 89 Miller-Hauenfels, Elfriede, 161, 183, 190, 192, 193 Ministry for Cults and Education, 31, 32, 73–74, 93, 96, 190, 200 Minne, George: Kneeling Youths, 56, 57 Minor, Margarete (Daisy), 30, 38–39 Mirani, Therese, 92 Mode (Likarz-Strauss), 70–71, plate11 Mode (Singer-Schinnerl), 70, plate10 Mode (Koehler), 71, plate12 Mode (Koehler), 71, plate13 modernism children’s art comparisons, 9, 14, 50, 101, 105, 120, 191 materiality and hierarchy of art, 14–15, 15 National Socialist relationship with, 191, 193–94 primitivism and, 10–11 See also architecture, modernist Modern Youth (Wieselthier), 195, 196, 207 Modeschule der Stadt Wien (MSW), 95–96, 198–200, 200, 201, 204, 205–6 Mode Wien (Jesser-Schmid), 70 Moll, Karl, 35, 58 MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), 11, 122 Morowitz, Laura, 205 Moser, Editha (Mautner-Markhof) biographical information, 66 multidisciplinary versatility of, 2 Secessionstarock (tarot cards), 66, plate8, plate9 Moser, Koloman biographical information, 66 child art primitivism, 122 commercial workshops founded by, 1 exhibitions co-organized by, 102 Japanese-inspired textile designs, 63 students of, 68, 71, 133 toy design, 106 WW metalwork product lines of, 58, 68 MSW (Modeschule der Stadt Wien), 95–96, 198–200, 200, 201, 204, 205–6 Müllner, Josef, 76 multidisciplinary artists (Mehrfachkünstler/in) criticism of, 84–85 descriptions, 2 WFA pedagogical philosophy, 2, 3, 26, 28, 35 WFA post-accreditation reform rejection of, 91 women artists as, 2, 24, 49, 128, 131–32, 160, 178–79

Munich Women’s Academy, 88 Munro, Thomas, 61 Muntenau, Zoë, 165, 166, 167, 198 Murderer, Hope of Women (play), 124, 125, 152 Museum für Kunst und Industrie. See MfKI Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 11, 122 Muthesius, Stefan, 63 Myrbach, Baron Felician von, 7, 28, 62, 104, 122 National Council of Jewish Women, 198 nationalism, 10, 191, 193–94, 204 National Socialism, 91, 95–96, 189, 190, 191–94, 200–206 Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), 191, 192 Natter, Tobias, 53 necktie designers, 150 Neue Freie Presse (newspaper), 29, 88, 89, 129–30 Neuer Werkbund Österreichs, 189 Neue Sachlichkeit exhibition catalogue covers in style of, 158, 185 exhibition posters in style of, 157 interior designs in style of, 179–80, 180, 185 modernist architectural style, 172 National Socialist factions supporting, 191 portraiture displays influenced by, 193, 193 style criticism and response, 172, 181 Neues Frauenleben (journal), 39, 80, 160 Neukunst. See expressionism Neukunstgruppe Manifesto (Schiele), 34, 45 Neutra, Richard, 197 Neuwalder-Breuer, Grete, 130, 135, 160, 195 Niemann, Georg, 77 Nikolo-Markt, 42 Nochlin, Linda, 6 NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), 191, 192 NS-Frauenschaft, 193, 204 Nuda Veritas (Klimt, Gustav), 9 Nuremberger Wares, 107 Obsieger, Robert, 203 Obstschale (Wieselthier), 129, 144, plate25 Olbrich, Josef, 122 Old Mistresses (Pollock and Parker), 6 “On Regulating Art Instruction for the Female Sex” (Eitelberger), 76 “Open Letter to Adolf Loos” (Primavesi, E.), 141, 164 opera, 91 orientalism, 49, 62, 63, 71, 150 Original-Keramik (Bucher), 144–45, 145 “Ornament and Crime” (Loos), 16, 150, 166, 181 ornamentation criticism of, 16, 36, 138, 150, 151, 166, 181 exhibition series promoting, 158–59, 170, 172–73, 174, 175, 181–82 of modernist architecture as feminine rebellion, 170, 172, 181 primitivism comparisons, 16, 36, 125, 150, 152





ornamentation (continued) revival and promotion of, 166–67 self-decoration, 149–51, 152, 154, 183 in textile design, 167–72 Österreichische Kunst (journal), 90, 91, 133, 201 Otten-Friedmann, Mitzi anti-Semitism and emigration of, 195 art education, 32, 72 art league memberships, 67, 69 exhibitions, 102, 116, 135–36, 153, 177, 177, 180, 183, 184 postcard designs, 67 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 67, 69 Palais Stoclet, 58, 61, 119, 130 Pantomine (Schröder-Ehrenfest), 179–80, 180 paper-mosaic collages exhibitions featuring, 114 pedagogical manuals for children’s, 67–68, 68, 69 postcard designs, 68–69, 69, 70 technique descriptions, 67 women’s art academy courses in, 35, 48 Papier-Schneide-und Klebearbeiten (Children’s Coloured Paper Work) (Čížek), 67–68, 68, 69 parades, 63–64, 65, 67 Parker, Roszika, 6, 170, 182, 210n12 Paukert, Adelheid, 92 Paul, Bruno, 196 Peche, Dagobert, 106, 136–37 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 76–77 Perlmutter, Marianne, 32 Petter-Zeis, Valerie, 162, 190, 198 Peyfuss, J., 117 Peyfuss, Marietta, 55 Philosophy (Klimt, Gustav), 31 Picasso, Pablo, 11 picture books exhibitions featuring, 59, 116 stencil-printed, Bilderbuch, 24, 25, 54–55, plate5 stencil-printed, Schablonen Drucke, 57, 59, 59–60, plate6 Picture in the Interior, The (Das Bild im Raum, exhibition) awards for, 180 exhibition descriptions, 173, 174 handbags, 169, 169–70 interior design installations, 176, 176–80, 177, 179, 180 reviews, 178 themes, 158–59, 173, 174–76 Plakolm-Forsthuber, Sabine, 17, 28–29, 90, 183, 185, 191 Platzfrage, 76–77, 87 Podhajská, Minka art education, 37, 37, 48, 93 exhibitions, 58–60, 86, 86, 102 publicity and recognition, 55–56, 60, 114, 123

Schachspiel (chess set) with Harlfinger-Zakucka, 3, 9, 116–17, plate1, plate18, plate19 stencil prints, 50, 51, 55–56, 57, 59, 59–60, plate6 teaching positions of, 93 toy designs, 59–60, 109, 111, 111–12, 114, 122–23 union memberships, 112 Poiret, Paul, 196 Pokorny, Henrietta von, 55 Pollock, Griselda, 6, 210n12 Pönninger, Franz, 33 Popp, Alexander, 190 porcelain, 29, 91, 92, 140, 146, 154 Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer (Klimt, Gustav), 32 Positano città morte (Hollenstein), 193–94 postcards of WW (Wiener Werkstätte) adolescent youth series, 65 children’s paper mosaics influences on, 68, 69 Easter-themed, 68–69, 70 expressive-style transition, 65–66 fashion-themed, 69–71, plate10, plate11, plate 11, plate12, plate13 floral arrangements, 68 paper-collage, 68, 69, 70 purpose of, 67, 69 women’s art academy courses in, 48, 49 poster art, 53, 157 postimpressionism, 148, 161, 162 Powolny, Michael, 86, 130, 133, 134 Prager, Olga, 29, 93 Pranke, Maria art education, 48, 68, 72 exhibitions, 86, 86, 102, 116 Frohe Ostern, 68–69, 70 influences on, 68 postcard designs, 67, 68–69, 70 Primavesi, Eugenia artists’ workshops reorganization, 141 bibliographic information, 141 child art movements, 104 commercial workshop associations, 141 Exposition reviews and open letter responses by, 141, 164 patronage of secessionist art, 6, 117, 122, 141 Primavesi, Mäda, portraits of, 71, 122–23, plate23 Primavesi, Melitta, 117 Primavesi, Otto, 117, 122, 141 primitivism as aesthetic influence, 49, 62, 65, 71, 161, 182, 183, 185 children’s art links to style of, 9, 101, 104–5, 105 definitions of, 10–11 folk art associations, 10 modern art associations, 10–11 opponents of, 29 ornamentation comparisons, 16, 36, 125, 150, 152 pedagogical principles compared to, 47–48, 54, 62

toy designs described as, 60 women’s craft traditions and, 167 See also child art primitivism Primitivism and Modern Art (Goldwater), 11 “Primitivism” in 20th Century Art (exhibition), 11 printmaking engraving, 27, 35 lithography, 35, 65–69, 69, 70, plate8, plate9 woodblock, 35, 36, 49, 52–54 See also stenciling Problems of Style (Riegl), 15 professionalism, 26, 40–41, 44, 90, 121 Puppenhaus (Mautner von Markhof), 115, 118–19, plate20, plate21, plate22 puppets and puppet theaters, 12, 106, 116 Raumkunst (philosophy), 1, 8, 103 Raumkunst exhibition series concept development, 161 curation awards for, 180 description and motivation, 158–59, 170, 172–73, 174, 175, 181–82 organization of, 158, 178 See also Beautiful Wall, The; How Does the Woman See?; Picture in the Interior, The Reading of the Pragmatic Sanction, The (Seligmann), 80 reception rooms, 176, 177, 178–80, 180 Reed, Christopher, 15 Reich, Martha, 92 Reichskulturkammer, 191, 197 Reinöhl-Werner, Ella, 211n67 reproduction, biological, 37, 40, 43, 102, 153, 186 Réthi, Lili, 32 Riegl, Alois, 15–16, 36, 64 Rie-Gomperz, Lucie, 177, 177, 195 Rix, Felice, 135 Rix, Katharina (Kitty) anti-Semitism and disappearance of, 195 art league memberships, 67, 69 ceramics style descriptions, 3 ceramic workshop production, 4, 130, 134, 134, 141 exhibitions, 153, 195 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 67, 69 Rochowanski, Leopold, 16, 128, 142, 146, 182, 187 rococo criticism of, 136 as expressionist ceramics influence, 128, 129, 130, 136, 139, 140, 142, 145, 146, 149, 154 as toy design influence, 110, plate17 Roeßler, Arthur expressionist ceramics criticism, 128, 136, 138, 153 expressionist myth of origins promoted by, 148 expressionist protégés of, 147 modernism theories, 140 responses to criticism of, 152, 155 women as artists, 13, 81, 149, 150 Roller, Alfred, 7, 9, 28, 68, 111 Roller, Marianne, 111 Roth, Helene, 93, 201

Roth, Joseph, 126, 131, 132–33 Rothe, Ella, 162 Rubenstein, Helene, 152 Rubin, William, 11 Ruysch, Rachel, 149 Salon Pisko, 42 Saxl-Deutsch, Marianne, 32 Schablonen Drucke (Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská), 57, 59, 59–60, plate6 Schachspiel (Harlfinger-Zakucka and Podhajská), 3, 9, 116–17, plate1, plate18, plate19 Schaschl, Reni art education, 130 exhibitions, 135 Frauenkopf, 151, 151, 152 Scheffler, Karl, 37–38, 40, 149, 150 Schéhérazade (ballet), 71 Scherenschnitte, 67, 69 Schiele, Egon art manifestos of, 34, 45 mentors and expressionist conversion of, 147 peasant toy collections of, 106 postcard designs, 65–66 secessionist-influenced expressionism, 1, 66–67, 123–24, 147 sexualization of children, 12 Schirach, Baldur von, 204–5 Schlangenhausen, Emma, 162, 177 Schmidl, Hedwig, 130, 135, 151, 160 Schmutzer, Ferdinand, 76 Scholz-Klink, Gertrud, 193 Schönbrunn (Harlfinger-Zakucka), 52–53, plate4 Schöne Wand, Die. See Beautiful Wall, The Schorske, Carl, 1, 65, 127, 147–48 Schröder-Ehrenfest, Anny awards, 178 exhibition catalogue cover designs by, 158, 185 exhibitions co-organized by, 178 exhibitions of, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180 multidisciplinary versatility of, 178–79 ornamental revival, 167 Pantomine, 179–80, 180 reception room designs, 176, 177, 178–80, 180 Schütte-Lihotzky, Margarete: Frankfurt Kitchen, 180 Schütt-Lunaczek, Lydia, 193 Schwarz, Gertrude, 178, 179 Schwarzwald, Eugenie, 79 Scott, Joan, 74 Secession (exhibition house), 3, 148, 173, 193 Secessionstarock (Moser, E.), 66, plate8, plate9 sehenlernen, 34 Selbstporträt (Harlfinger-Zakucka), 23–24, 24 self-decoration/ornamentation, 149–50, 151, 152, 154, 183 self-identification expressionist strategies for, 65, 96 of WFA students, 12, 64–65 women and children associations, 12, 13, 49, 96, 101–2, 106–7, 123





Seligmann, Adalbert Franz art education and career, 29, 80 Billroth Lecture Hall, 80 child art education, 103 child-based art pedagogy, 103 dilettantism, 90, 120 exhibition house associations, 80 Klimt review, 85 modernism and child art comparisons, 120 multidisciplinary artists, 84–85 primitivism, 72 Reading of the Pragmatic Sanction, The, 80 secessionist applied arts, 29, 60–61, 72, 84, 85, 102, 120–21, 162 students of, 33, 193 surface decoration, 85 VBKÖ schism interpretations, 163–64 WFA faculty member, 28, 29, 32 WFA leadership and pedagogical reforms, 78–79, 83–84, 95 WFA leadership and women’s art status, 78 WFA mission statement for funding, 95 WFA resignation, 95 women as artists, 83, 186 separate but equal (philosophy), 8, 74, 77, 80–82, 87–89, 95 sexualization themes, 12–13 Sex und Charakter (Weininger), 30–31, 81 Shapira, Elana, 12, 65 ship building sets, 106–7 Siedhoff-Buscher, Alma Bauspiel-Schiff, 106–7 Kinderspielzeugschrank, 178 Sika, Jutta, 55 Silberer, Rosa, 88 silversmithing, 60–61, 86, 92, 93 Simmons, Sherwin, 70, 126–27, 147 Singer-Schinnerl, Susi Akt, 139–40, 140, 146 anti-Semitism and emigration of, 196–97 art education, 32, 34, 48, 50, 51, 69, 130 art league memberships, 67, 69, 130, 160 ceramics influences, 146 ceramics style descriptions, 13, 145–46 ceramics subject specialties, 151, 152 ceramics workshop association, 69–70, 133–34, 141 Chinese mit Pferd (Chinaman with Horse), 146, plate26 exhibitions, 1908, 102 exhibitions, 1920, 135 exhibitions, 1925, 139–40, 140, 163, 196 exhibitions, 1928, 146, 195, 196 exhibitions, 1929, 179, 180 exhibitions, 1930, 183, 184 exhibitions, 1933, 182, 182 exhibitions, 1934, 196 exhibitions, 1935, 196 exhibitions, 1937, 196

Girl, 184 postcard designs, 67, 70, plate10 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 67, 69, 130, 160 Sitta-Allé, Mathilde, 211n67 Sitting Figure with Flower Pots (Wieselthier), 4 Sladky, Hertha, 166, 167, 182 sliding pictures, 178, 179 Snischek, Max, 70, 142 Society of Viennese Watercolor Artists, 42 Sorkin, Jenni, 27 Sparke, Penny, 39 spatial harmony, 1, 8, 103 Speer, Albert, 191 Spielzeug im Leben des Kindes, Das (Hildebrandt), 119 Spring (Kuhn), 137 Spring in the Prater (Blau-Lang), 34, 35 Stammtisch (Klimt, Gustav), 122 Staude, Johanna, 71, plate14 Steiner, Lilly, 32 Steinmetz, Ludwig, 16, 128, 137, 142 Stencil Book, The (Zweybrück-Prochaska), 54, 197 stenciling for children’s picture books, Bilderbuch, 24, 25, 54–55, plate5 for children’s picture books, Schablonen Drucke, 56, 57, 59, 59–60, plate6 history of, 55 influences on, 49, 63 magazine cover designs, 50, 51 manuals on, 54, 197 as pedagogical tool, 53 publications featuring student work, 55 style descriptions, 54, 55–56 women’s academy courses in, 35, 48 Stettheimer, Florine, 129 Stillhaltekommissar, 190–91 Stöhr, Ernst, 26 Stoitzner, Josef, 209n8 Stradal, Emmy, 93 Strehblow, Heinrich, 33 Strnad, Oskar, 177 Strzygowski-Karasek, Hertha, 161, 183, 190, 192, 193, 193 Subversive Ceramics (Clare), 5 Subversive Stitch, The (Parker), 6, 170 surface decoration. See Flächenkunst Survey of the Woman Problem, A (Mayreder, R.), 43 Tandler, Julius, 36 tarot cards, 66, plate8, plate9 tattooing, 16, 36, 65, 125, 150, 152 Taussig, Hertha, 201 Taussig-Roth, Helene, 195, 201 Taussig-Roth, Paula anti-Semitism experiences of, 201 art education, 92

stencil prints for Bilderbuch, 54 WFA faculty member, 35, 93, 201 tea rooms, 176, 177 Technical University, 79 textiles commercial workshop recruits for, 70 gendering of, 36 handbag designs, 167–70, 169, 177, 178, plate27 interior design installations featuring, 183, 185, 186 Japanese stenciled, 49, 63 ornamental influences on, 49, 63, 169, 182 ornamentalism revival in, 167–72 style development, 3 as surface decoration influence, 71 women’s art academy courses in, 35, 92 See also embroidery Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform in Austria-Hungary Before the First World War (Houze), 17–18 Third Exhibition of Vienna Secession, 42 Thucydides (Kauffungen), 80 Tichy, Hans, 2, 35, 209n8 Tickner, Lisa, 127 Tietze, Hans applied arts status debates, 136 art societies co-founded by, 136 expressionist ceramics, 128, 136, 137, 142 gender aesthetics essays, 186 lectures of, 36 women artists, views of, 126 Timms, Edward, 13 toys art historical scholarship on, 106–7 child development theories, 105, 109, 112–13 commercial production of, 112 criticism, 105 design influences, 102, 103, 106, 107, 108, 109 exhibitions featuring, 59–61, 86, 86, 102, 106, 115, 116, 122, 135 folk art/peasant, 66, 102, 106, 106–9, 108 gendering of, 36, 106–7, 108 Klimt portraits featuring, 122–23 picture book stencil prints featuring, 59, 59–60 publicity and recognition, 24, 60, 109 style descriptions, 3, 58, 59–60, 86, 105–12, 116–19 surface decorations for, 58, 59–60, 78 WFA courses and instructors, 35, 78 träumenden Knaben, Die (The Dreaming Youths) (Kokoschka), 12, 65, 120, plate7 Trethahn, Therese, 55 Troy, Nancy, 140 Truxa, Anna art league memberships, 192 Curtained Wall, 182, 182 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 192 tulle, 168, 169, 170, 171 “turn to the object” movement, 128

ukiyo-e, 49 Unger, William, 77 Untitled (Brausewetter), 105 Vally Wieselthier Ceramics Workshops, 128, 141 Vase (Wieselthier), 142, 143 VBKÖ (Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs, Association of Austrian Women Artists) art leagues incorporated into, 192 art styles influencing, 161, 194 exhibitions of, 148–49, 160, 161, 162–63, 183, 193, 193–95 exhibition style preferences, 161 founding, 5, 12, 124, 148 institutional separatism criticism, 89 leadership, 161, 162, 192–93 members, 160, 192, 194 National Socialist coordination, 192–95 philosophical debates and schism, 155, 159, 161–63 philosophies of, 157, 159, 161 progressive faction of, 161–62 Verband bildender Künstlerinnen und Kunsthandwerkerinnen Wiener Frauenkunst, 163 See also WFK Verbotszeit, 192 Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen der Ostmark im Großdeutschen Reich, 192–95 See also VBKÖ Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs. See VBKÖ Verein Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (VKFM), 8, 29, 30, 33, 41, 45 Ver Sacrum (magazine) anti-academicism discourses, 26, 27 art pedagogical philosophies, 27–28 board members, 26 cover designs, 9, 50, 51 dilettantism philosophies, 42 editorial committee members, 209n8 Japanese art featured in, 63 WFA student work featured in, 2, 23–24, 24, 25, 50, 55, plate2 youth metaphors, 9 VFKM (Verein Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen), 8 Vienna School of Art History, 15 Vienna Secession exhibitions of, 35, 42, 50, 63 founding and principles, 1, 161 founding members of, 2, 209n8 magazines of (see Ver Sacrum) National Socialist associations, 190 philosophical conflicts and schisms, 1, 58, 114, 157–58 post-schism members as WFA teachers, 79 See also Klimt Group





Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper), 91 Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. See ABKW Viennese House of Fashion, 204 Viennese Women’s Academy. See WFA VKFM (Verein Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen), 8, 29, 30, 33, 41, 45 Vlaminck, Maurice de, 11 Volkskunst. See folk art Volkskunst, Hausfleiss und Hausindustrie (Riegl), 64 Waal, Edmund de, 133 Wagner, Otto, 122 Wagner-Ascher, Hilde applied-arts room designs, 176, 177, 177–78 art education, 177 handbags, 169, 169–70, 177, 178 National Socialist persecution and emigration of, 195 ornamental revival, 167 wall surface decorations batik panneaux, 183, 185, 186 curtains, 182, 182 wall paintings, 176, 176–77, 177 wallpaper designers, criticism of, 150 Weiberkunst. See women’s art Weinberger, Trude, 135 Weininger, Otto, 30–31, 43, 81 Weiser, Armand on expressionist ceramics, 128, 129, 138, 142, 145 modernism theories, 140 ornamentation criticism, 16 women’s art criticism, 153 Weissenhofsiedlung (1927), 189 Weixler, Viktor, 201, 202, 206 Werkbundsiedlung (1930), 189 Werkner, Patrick, 127 Werkstätte Emmy Zweybrück-Prochaska, 54, 166, 168, 169, 170 WFA (Wiener Frauenakademie, Viennese Women’s Academy, formerly Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen) ABKW women’s admission exclusion due to, 72, 77–78 ABKW women’s admissions competing with, 78, 80–81, 87, 88, 89 admissions policies, 41, 74, 78, 89, 90 art style development at, 3 class enrollment structure, 33 coeducation petitions, 88 commercial workshop recruitment, 2–3, 4, 69–70, 128, 130–31, 133–34 community and environment, 31–32, 37, 40–41 curriculum descriptions, 29, 32–36, 73–76, 80–82, 87, 89–92, 90, 95 decline of, 200–203 dilettantism, 40–41, 44–45, 74, 90 directors of, 79, 95, 200–203

executive committees of, 30 exhibitions of, 2, 173, 174, 201 factionalism, 29, 72 faculty, 2, 8, 28, 73–74, 78–79, 92, 93, 200–201, 203, 209n8 founding and history, 2, 8 funding, 32, 87 image development, 12, 49, 64–65, 96, 101–2 incorporation and accreditation, 3, 8, 73–75, 79–80, 87, 93–94 institutional separatism principles, 8, 74, 80–82, 88–89, 94, 95, 202 lectures at, 34, 36 location, 26 logos of, 73, 74 mission and educational goals, 24, 26, 81–82, 95 mottos, 157 name changes, 2, 8, 95 National Socialist leadership and policies, 190, 194, 200–204 National Socialist reinvention of, 95–96, 198–200, 200, 201, 204, 205–6 pedagogical methodology, 2, 3, 28, 34, 43, 45, 78–79, 82, 87, 92 pedagogical philosophies, 7–8, 23–36, 27, 36, 41, 43, 78–79, 81–87, 91 professionality pledge requirements, 90 reputation of, 73 scholarship programs, 32 special events of, 42 status challenges, 87, 93–95 student demographics, 32 See also WFA Böhm school WFA Böhm school art style descriptions, 48–49, 53, 55, 57, 61–64 curriculum descriptions, 35 embroidery courses, 49 exhibitions of, 58, 58, 67, 86, 86, 102, 113, 114–21, 115, 123 faculty, 35, 47 friezes created by, 115, 115, 116 image development, 12, 49, 64–65, 96, 121 pedagogical methodology, 45, 47, 48, 50, 52–53, 62, 78, 121 pedagogical philosophies, 7, 50–52, 121 publications featuring, 55 stenciling courses, 24, 37, 37, 54–56, 59–60 students of, 48, 62, 69, 70, 92 toy design, 102, 105, 107, 109–21 WFK (Wiener Frauenkunst,Verband bildender Künstlerinnen und Kunsthandwerkerinnen Wiener Frauenkunst) arts integration principles, 5, 157, 158, 159, 161, 165 art styles influencing, 161 community and inclusion ideologies, 159–60, 164–65, 165, 173 dissolution of, 190–91

exhibitions of, 33, 92, 160, 173, 174, 190, 192 (see also Raumkunst exhibition series) founding of, 103, 124, 155, 157–58, 159, 163–64 international style criticism, 173 members, 67, 69, 128, 130, 160 mission and goals, 158, 163, 164, 165, 173, 190 postwar reactivation attempts, 198 spatial harmonization principles, 103 women’s work by women’s hands philosophies, 103, 124, 157, 161, 164, 165, 187–88 “WFK and Its Goals, The” (Harlfinger-Zakucka), 165 white cube (design concept), 58 “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (Nochlin), 6 Wick, Rainer, 28 Wiener, Paul, 196 Wiener Frauenakademie für Kunst und Kunstgewerbe. See WFA Wiener Keramik manufactory, 130 Wiener Kunsthandwerkverein, 203 Wiener Kunst im Hause (WKiH), 36, 55, 92, 182 Wiener Porzellanmanufaktur, 130 “Wiener Weh” (Loos), 140–41, 164 Wiener Werkstätte. See WW Wiener Wohnkultur movement, 180 Wieninger, Johannes, 63 Wieselthier, Vally acclamation and recognition, 3, 133, 138, 195 art education, 130, 133 art league memberships, 130, 160 ceramic workshop associations, 4, 128, 133, 141, 151 descriptions and lifestyle, 132, 133 design cooperative memberships, 196 emigration and celebrity of, 195–96 exhibitions, group, 135, 135, 139, 139, 142, 163, 195 exhibitions, solo, 195 family background, 133 fictional characters based on, 133 Figur mit zwei Vögeln, 135, 135 instructors of, 34 Kopf mit Blume, 128, 151, 152, plate24 Leuchter, 139, 139 Modern Youth, 195, 196, 207 National Socialist clashes, 191–92 in New York, 196 Obstschale, 129, 144, plate25 signature of, 151 Sitting Figure with Flower Pots, 4 style descriptions, 13, 144 subject specialties, 128, 147, 151, 152, plate24 Vase, 142, 143 Wiener Frauenkunst membership, 130, 160 working process descriptions, 133, 134 X-Form Kachelofen, 139, 139 Wie sieht die Frau? (How Does the Woman See? exhibition), 157, 158, 158–59, 182–87, 184 Wigley, Mark, 158–59, 175

Wildenhain, Marguerite, 196 Wilhelm, Grete, 192 Wittels, Fritz, 12–13 WKiH (Wiener Kunst im Hause), 36, 55, 92, 182 Wolf-Krakauer, Grete, 32 Woman and Art (Die Frau und die Kunst) (Scheffler), 37–38, 40, 149, 150 “Woman and the New Objectivity” (essay), 172, 181 women art and roles of, 26, 81 art history exclusion of, 6 artistic limitations, perceptions of, 29–30, 37, 39, 40, 43, 77–78, 81, 86–87, 131, 149, 154, 174, 186 artistic strengths, perceptions of, 29, 36, 82, 149, 174, 187 biological reproduction as artistic influence, 37, 40, 43, 102, 153, 186 boundary/gender-defying, perceptions of, 31, 38, 126, 133, 154, 161, 194 children and gender links, 12–13, 49, 96, 101–2, 106–7, 121, 123 child sexualization theories, 12–13 folk art and gender links, 10, 49, 106 intellectual abilities of, 3, 6, 13, 29–30, 75, 83 perception abilities of, essays on, 185–87 secondary education quality, 38–39 societal exclusion as civilization crisis, 43–44 status of, 30–31 workplace discrimination, 73–74, 93 See also dilettantism; feminine-gendered art fields; Kunstgewerbeweiber; women’s art; women’s art education; women’s movement women’s art (Frauenkunst, Weiberkunst) art education and field demarcations, 36 criticism of, 13, 16, 81, 131, 149–50 of dilettantes, 37, 38, 39 individualization associated with, 137 marketing strategies, 13 National Socialist requirements of, 194 status of, 8–9, 73–76, 78, 210n12 stereotypical perceptions of, 80–82, 86–87, 174 style development, 2–3, 12, 126, 142, 144, 146 women’s groups’ valorization of, 5, 103, 124, 157, 158, 161 women’s perception debates and, 185–87 See also feminine-gendered art fields women’s art education admission restrictions, 2, 3, 29–30, 39, 72, 75–77 consequences of restrictions on, 32–33 field restrictions, 36, 77 institutional separatism philosophies, 8, 74, 77–78, 80–82, 87–89, 94, 95, 202 life class alternatives, 32–33 natural gender differences principles, 8, 72, 78, 81–82, 88, 202 pedagogical challenges of, perceived, 82–83 women’s academies, descriptions, 77





women’s movement dilettantism debates, 39–40, 42 equality of difference philosophies, 74 feminist associations supporting, 42–43 feminist congresses, 183 institutional separatism debates, 88, 160 women as artists approval by opposition to, 81 women’s institutional exclusion protests, 3 women’s perception theories, 185, 186–87 women’s societal exclusion consequences, 42–44 woodblock printing, 35, 36, 49, 52–54 World’s Fairs, 39–40, 63, 196 Wurzinger, Karl, 29 WW (Wiener Werkstätte) architectural projects, 118–19 artist commissions, 65, 131, 145, 147 ceramics department, 128, 134, 151 decline of, 2, 3 directors of, 141 exhibitions, 2, 57, 58, 58–61, 84–86, 138, 138, 153 founding and descriptions, 1, 7 metalwork product lines, 58, 68, 117 pedagogical methodology, 50 postcard production (see postcards of WW) principles of, 3, 102, 126 sales catalogues, 134, 134 signature design styles of, 58 student demographics, 32 venues of, 67, 130 women artists at, 2, 126, 142 workshops of, 69, 70 (see also KW) X-Form Kachelofen (Wieselthier), 139, 139 Yonan, Michael, 14 Zeidler, Viktor, 93 Zels, Marianne, 93 Zimbler, Liane anti-Semitism and emigration of, 198 architectural style descriptions, 180–81

architectural tours guided by, 183 career, 158, 180–81, 198 design team collaborations, 160, 181 exhibitions co-organized by, 180, 181–82, 183, 184, 185 exhibitions featuring, 198 Zita, Heinrich, 41, 200–203, 209n8 Zuckerkandl, Bertha, 23, 137 Zuckerkandl, Emil dilettantism theories, 42 exhibition reviews, 59 Klimt scandal counterprotest, 31 lectures of, 34, 36 VKFM inaugural executive committee member, 30 WFA and secessionist influences of, 23 WW postcard sales, 68 Zuckerkandl-Stekel, Gertrude, 211n67 Zülow, Franz von, 58, 60 Zur Kritik der Weiblichkeit (Mayreder, R.), 43 Zweckkunst. See applied arts Zwei Jahrhunderte Kunst der Frau in Österreich (exhibition), 183 Zweybrück-Prochaska, Emmy anti-Semitism and emigration of, 197–98 applied-arts workshops of, 54, 166, 168, 169, 170 art style descriptions and influences, 108, 166, 169 assistants of, 68 children’s art instruction, 54, 166, 197 exhibitions, 160, 183, 184, 197 folk-art toy collections of, 106, 106, 108 influence of, 182 National Socialist clashes, 191–92 ornamental textile designs, 170, 171 ornamentation revival, 166–67 pedagogical philosophies of, 54 publications of, 54, 197