ARTS AND CRAFTS AT A TURNING-POINT
Winter Exhibition 1899/1900 Centenary
MAK 15 December 1999-26 March 2000
"Vienna arts and crafts have become European againî-it was an enthusiastic tenor that characterized the art critic Ludwig Hevesi's review concerning the design of the Third Winter Exhibition of the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry in December 1999, which offered a survey of the status quo of Austrian arts and crafts at the turn of the century. In accordance with the museum director Arthur von Scala's initiative, a number of Austrian artists and designers presented their recent products at this exhibition. While still committed to the concepts of historicism and its overflowing richness of forms on the one hand, the shown items already revealed the beginnings of a new simplicity and immediateness as regards design and materials on the other. This modern outlook resulted from the fact that many artists got their inspirations from the objects Arthur von Scala had acquired for the museum as models for people working in this area. As for his acquisitions, Arthur von Scala concentrated on English and French models like products from the London Guild of Handicraft, Morris & Co, Chippendale and Samuel Bing's L'Art Nouveau Gallery in Paris. Though his strategy met with rather hostile reactions, it established a productive discourse and helped the Austrian arts and crafts to achieve European standards.