Saturday, October 8, 2016

Austria 2016 - Modern Art in Austria - Koloman Moser – Lovers

ISSUE DATE: 7 September 2016

The lovers painted by Koloman Moser are simultaneously turned towards and away from one another. The man is looking up towards the sky, the woman glancing coquettishly over her shoulder. Is he embracing her, or holding her against her will? The oil painting that serves as the template for the commemorative stamp from the “Modern art in Austria” series, was created in 1913 by the Austrian artist, who also designed postage stamps. Kolo Moser, born in 1868 in Vienna, was known as a “jack of all trades” as he was active in so many different artistic disciplines. Whether painting or handicrafts, making furniture, jewellery, vases or glasses, in keeping with the idea of a total work of art, an idea of which he was a pioneer, his influence permeated many branches, and Moser became a key figure in the emergence into the 20th century of Austrian art. After completing his studies he allied himself to the Siebenerklub (Club of Seven), a seed from which the Vienna Secession grew. When this was founded in 1897 he became one of the most important players on the contemporary art scene. The Secession building near Karlsplatz, which Moser helped design, is still standing today, and was dubbed the “Goldenes Krauthappel” (golden cabbage). It became a talking point, as well as reminding one of the innovations of the age. 

The secessionists soon experienced a real boom. Moser was one of their most important artists and was a leading figure in the design of the association’s art journal, “Ver Sacrum”, the publication named after the “sacred Spring”. However, he was also active outside of the Secession, and constantly sought individuality, which he finally found in the Wiener Werkstätte. The aim of the latter was to bring together different forms of handicrafts and to celebrate both the craftsman and the artist responsible for the design. According to the Wiener Werkstätte’s agenda, they started “from the purpose: serviceability is the primary criterion, our strengths should lie in good proportions and in good treatment of the materials”. Everything produced there was to be simple and functional, but the execution should be first class. “Draping reality in festive dress” was what mattered to Koloman Moser. The Wiener Werkstätte created complete interiors, including the interior design of the Flöge fashion house, owned by Emilie Flöge, Gustav Klimt’s muse, and the interior of the sanatorium in Purkersdorf. In addition to interiors based on Moser’s designs, they also produced furniture, jewellery, leather and metal work, toys and book bindings. The exceptional level of quality was achieved by the craftsman and the designer working together. Even today furnishings by Moser and Josef Hoffmann are considered the epitome of design from that period and seen as prime examples of carefully styled living. After leaving the Wiener Werkstätte, Koloman Moser concentrated on painting. Like Klimt, Schiele and Otto Wagner, he died in the year 1918. He had had a significant influence on the art of his time. 


Stamp images and description thanks to Austrian Post - Österreichische Post
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