Exhibition The City of Women at the Unteres Belvedere in Vienna

25/01/2019 > 19/05/2019

Female artists in Vienna from 1900 to 1938

Today, hardly anyone knows who they were, even though they made a part of art history: artists such as Elena Luksch-Makowsky, Helene Funke, and Erika Giovanna Klien contributed significantly to Viennese Modernism and artistic trends that manifested after the First World War. To commemorate these artists, their art, and their emancipatory achievements, a long overdue retrospective has now been staged in the Lower Belvedere.

The exhibition expands the view of Viennese Modernism and focuses on those women who actively helped shape the art scene at the beginning of the twentieth century. At that time, women who wanted to become artists were still at a severe disadvantage. They were denied access to education and artists’ associations, and thus to exhibition opportunities. In spite of these hurdles, some of them managed to successfully build a career. In the predominantly male art business, they had to fight hard to gain a foothold. They found training opportunities and developed strategies to market themselves. By establishing their own artists’ associations, they were able to network and become active in the art scene. Many of them exhibited at the Secession, the Hagenbund, the Salon Pisko, and the Miethke Gallery. Despite the fact that, in recent years, the lives and works of some of these formerly renowned artists have been researched and compiled into retrospectives, their work is still underestimated in importance and barely appreciated for what it is.

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Picture: Broncia Koller-Pinell, The Artist’s mother, 1907. Photo: Johannes Stoll © Belvedere, Vienna