The Otto Wagner exhibition in Vienna also includes material and documents from the Plečnik Collection

"You are a sort of a Pygmalion, Otto Wagner told me once in a fatherly fashion," architect Jože Plečnik remembered his professor who thusly commented Plečnik’s working enthusiasm. In 2018, our north neighbour Austria is commemorating the 100th anniversary since the death of architect Otto Wagner. The exhibition, prepared by the Wien Museum, will also present documents from our Plečnik Collection.

Plečnik in Wagner's school in Vienna, circa 1898
Plečnik in Wagner's school in Vienna, circa 1898 © MGML documentation

Otto Wagner (1841–1918) is one of the most important architects of the turn of the twentieth century. His building projects – among which were the city railroad (Weiner Stadbahn), the Postal Office Savings Bank building (Postsparkasse), and the Church at Steinhof – are all regarded as milestones on the path from architectural historicism to modernism. Besides his architectural work, Wagner also significantly influenced new generations of architects. Among his students at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna between 1895 and 1898 was also the Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, who graduated best in class.

The retrospective exhibition, titled simply Otto Wagner, is opening at the Wien Museum on 15 March, and will be on display until 7 October 2018. It presents Wagner's extensive oeuvre in connection with his co-workers, colleagues and adversaries, as well as illuminating the artistic, cultural and political environment of his career, and his international recognition.

The Plečnik Collection, in custody of the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, loaned out some interesting documents for the exhibition: Wagner's letters to Plečnik and two photographs. The latter are Plečnik's portrait made in Wagner's studio in 1898, and a portrait of Wagner's students, among them also Plečnik, from 1897.

Certainly a good excuse for a trip to Vienna!

Posted: 12. 3. 2018