tina's building blog

Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secession

Art Nouveau was most successfully practiced in the decorative arts. The artists chose themes involving symbolism, especially in terms of eroticism; their designs often processed dreamlike and exotic forms. The richly ornamented and asymmetrical style has influenced even architecture. This type of style was very radically different compared to the styles prior 1890’s. 


Vienna Secession attempts to create a modern style without historicism. It was founded in 1897  in Vienna, Austria, by a group of artists, sculptors, architects, and designers. The building itself, however, rejects more lively and Art Nouveau expressions; it advocates rational construction, simplicity and honest use of materials, which will turn into an influence on modern developments to follow this period. 

The Vienna Secession

A monumental mass and geometrical pure forms, such as horizontal rectangles and cubes, are dominant in the composition, while still holding bits and pieces of the ornamentation aspects of classical styles, though the ornamentations are much less detailed and used much more sparingly. As compared to the styles before this time, which may have included ornaments of religious figures, detailed vegetal forms, etc., the ornamentation done in Vienna Secession is much less refined. More emphasis is put on function, light and air. It is this mix that has created a step in contemporary architecture. 

The Churrigueresque ornamentation style