Secession & Liberty
It sounds like a call for rebellion doesn’t it? It was a rebellion of sorts, but not necessarily the drastic politic overtones “secession and liberty” sounds like a catchphrase for. The Vienna Secession & Stile Liberty in Italy were two more fin de siècle styles, and while there more beyond Art Nouveau (France), Modernisme (Catalan Spain), and these two — they didn’t impact architecture quite as much.
The Vienna Secession is the name for a group of artists who departed from the main artistic union in Vienna, the Vienna Künstlerhaus, and the style they created. This group veered from the historicism-centered style of the Künstlerhaus, instead embracing a lighter, more nature-based artistry. Ironically, to see what this style looked like, we’re returning to Brussels, Belgium, where the first Art Nouveau building was created back in 1894. A decade later, in 1905, the Stoclet Palace began construction. It was designed down to the doorknobs by Josef Hoffmann, a founding member of the Vienna Secession; in fact, he went so far as to design a dress for the lady of the house so she would not clash with the living room. The palace had an unusually sharp design for the era, the exterior looks akin to Art Deco, a style that wouldn’t take full form for another two decades. The interior mosaic work shows more of the familiar curving lines of the fin de siècle era.
In Italy, the Stile Liberty was a combination of classical designs, Art Nouveau concepts, and the highly popular fabrics imported from the Liberty department store in London … which were Art Nouveau in styling, of course. An opera house in Palermo, Italy opened on May 16th, 1897 called the Teatro Massimo. The original design for the teatro (theatre) was to be a blend of the classic styles: Greek and Roman. However, like so many intense projects, the original architect, Giovan Battista Basile, did not survive to see his project completed. When his son Ernesto took over, he introduced Art Nouveau elements of styling into the project.