Secession Building

12 Friedrichstraße

As you take in its dome made of gold-filigree laurel leaves, the utter modernity of the Secession Building stuns you. Joseph Maria Olbrich’s glorious exhibition hall just off the Ringstrasse is more than a century old, and is one of the most beautiful legacies of the great intellectual and artistic period known as fin de siècle Vienna—when the city’s coffeehouses were frequented by the likes of Freud and Klimt and the architect of the day, Otto Wagner. Not many cities can claim their own art movements, but the Vienna Secession was a reaction to the staid art of the late Hapsburg empire. “To every age its art, to every art its freedom” proclaims the inscription (in German) on the facade of the building which also has a 112-foot-wide, 1902 Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt.

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