Decay and Revolution: Art in Vienna, 1890-1910

Nearly 40 works from the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna, among paintings, sculptures and works on paper, formed the exhibition that brought for the first time to Puerto Rico the work of internationally renowned Austrian artists. These works were presented integrated with pieces from the permanent collection of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, as they had a stylistic or thematic relationship. The exhibition Decadence and Revolution: Art in Vienna 1890-1910 opened in Ponce on March 22, 2014 and lasted only four months, closing on July 28.

The exhibition was representative of a very diverse movement, which made Vienna one of the most important artistic centers in Europe around the change from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. The art of this era attracts attention for its modernity, and is characterized by a vindication of creative freedom by the artists, who made the transition between the symbolist and aesthetic art of the nineteenth century and expressionism and other avant-gardes of the twentieth century.

The works trace a fascinating portrait of the moment they were created, and reflect the obsession of these artists with topics such as the femme fatale and the functioning of the human mind, libido, and the power of the subconscious.

This current of artistic renewal that developed in Austria caused a change in the aesthetic intentions of many painters and sculptors of the time. The result of this broad conceptual revolution, which persists in the historical context known as Modernism, is precisely what this exhibition entailed.

The exhibition presented was representative of a very diverse international movement, which resulted in an explosion of art in the Austrian capital for two decades. Many of the pieces of this period show a break with the dominant styles of the time.

Decadence and Revolution: Art in Vienna, 1890-1910 was backed by an educational program that included guided tours, talks and workshops for children and adults.

Undoubtedly, it was an artistic inventory that proved striking to an audience that knows both modern art and nineteenth century art, in the context of a transition that laid the foundation for welcoming the new century with an innovative and experimental spirit. However, it was also a revealing opportunity for those who began to discover the art scene.