Book presentation: Michael Schmid „Biedermeier in Wien.“
From an art history perspective, the first half of the 19th century in Vienna is an era characterized by several transitions—from late classicism, to Biedermeier, all the way to early Romantic historicism. Different architectural styles sometimes even appear simultaneously. The so-called “civil servant architecture” is a very special Viennese form. Despite the intermittent disregard, particularly in the 20th century, many well-preserved Biedermeier ensembles, as well as buildings from the classicist and Romantic historicism periods, still exist in Vienna.
Vienna’s rich Jewish heritage is also extensively discussed in the new Biedermeier guide. Perhaps the most interesting example is the architectural complex on Seitenstettengasse with Josef Kornhäusel’s unique city temple. Not only is it the most significant preserved building from Kornhäusel’s Œuvre, but arguably the most beautiful synagogue of its day by far in the German-speaking world. The structures surrounding the temple partly belonged to the Jewish community from the beginning or were added over the course of time, like the remarkable so-called “Kornhäusel Tower,” once the highest secular building in Vienna.
Particularly noteworthy from an art historical viewpoint are two further objects that have to do with Jewish Vienna. On one hand, the Alte Leopoldsapotheke (the Old Leopold’s Pharmacy), in Jewish ownership for many decades, could still be passed on within the family during the Nazi era. Today it is the sole Viennese pharmacy with original furnishings from the classicism period. The Pereira Palais on Weihburggasse, a work by Ludwig Förster for the banker Ludwig Pereira-Arnstein, marks the transition from late classicism (Biedermeier) to Romantic historicism, and therefore serves as an outstanding example for the change of epochs. There is an indirect connection to the National Bank through Pereira-Arnstein. Pereira’s partner, Bernhard Eskeles, was a co-founder of the Austrian National Bank. Its edifice is a work by Charles Moreau.
The Nákó Palais, a Baroque construction at its core which was fundamentally redesigned many times over the centuries, has a completely different building history. In its current appearance it is essentially a late classicist structure with elements of historicism. Now the mansion is the home of the Jewish Museum Vienna.
This art and culture guide accompanies readers on Biedermeier discovery walks through Vienna. An extensive overview of the publicly accessible collections with exemplary Biedermeier furnishings, along with the most important paintings of the epoch, round out the picture.
Michael Schimd is a journalist, press photographer, book author and marketing professional. For years he has designed alternating exhibitions focusing on Vienna around 1900. Rich in anecdotes, his informative art and culture guides covering diverse topics are popular bestsellers.
Advance booking requested: Tel.: +43 1 535 04 31-110 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free admission from 6:15 p.m.
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