Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Vienna Workshop, IV
Perhaps the most quoted ex libris in this context is the bookplate for Fritz Warendorfer, drawn by Kolo Moser (Vienna 1868 – 1918 Vienna). Moser studied at the Wiener Academy (Academy of Vienna) and at the Art Academy, where he held a professorship from 1900 – 1918. He was a co-founder of the Wiener Sezession and made numerous graphic contributions to the journal Ver Sacrum. He was probably one of the most talented all-around artists in Vienna at the turn of the century. One should also point out his organizing ability. Moser’s impact lies in the fact that early on he saw a pictorial trend for applied arts and therefore preached a reflection on simplicity and authenticity; also stressing usefulness and reliance on architectural ideals. His role models were Otto Wagner and his colleague Josef Hoffmann. The implementation of his ideas in a conservative Vienna took some determination, but he succeeded with the full support of the Secession.
Moser’s wife, Dita Moser, nee Mautner von Markhof (1883–1969) was also a graphic artist and designer. She studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School for Applied Arts) and made her mark at the WW by designing calendar sheets, toys for children and a deck of tarot card. The geometric clarity of these cards was appreciated as it represented the new style of functional graphics. The print was marginal, the usability was limited because of the idiosyncratic design of these cards, however, they were much sought-after by card collectors.
The ex libris for Editha Mautner von Markhof, Baronin Sustenau, created in 1907, is a good example for the style in which the quadrat – Hoffmann’s basic element – illustrates an important structure. It is actually a modern crest ex libris, showing the family crest of the industrial family Mautner von Markhof with a turret and a shamrock, still used as a trademark today on products of their company, Mautner Markhof. The same goes for the “archer”, the escutcheon of Barons Sustenau von Schützenthal. What a difference these are when compared with the excessive heraldic plates by Ernst Krahl, which were made at the same time.