Germany 1863 – 1923
Muenchen 1897 - VII Internationale kunst Ausstellung 1897 Materials & Technique: prints, posters,
The turn of the century was a time of growing upheaval – social, political, economic and artistic – characterised by breakaway artistic movements, particularly those of the Secessionists in Germany and Austria.
With these movements came a new, if short lived, idealism exemplified by the many references to Hellenism in the posters produced to advertise Secessionist exhibitions. In Franz von Stuck’s poster of 1897 advertising the Seventh International Art Exhibition in Munich, we see Athena, the goddess of wisdom, war, and the arts and crafts, holding Nike, the goddess of victory, in one hand and the staff of judgement in the other. A helmeted Athena – an image that would reappear in von Stuck’s poster advertising the Sixty-First Exhibition of the Vienna Secession in 1921 – looks on from the right-hand panel.
The message is clear: the false gaiety of 19th-century Paris is being jettisoned and a new, more rigorous, more ambitious and revolutionary age is being heralded.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra