Arnold Schönberg’s aesthetic positions at the epoch threshold between finite romanticism and emancipation of dissonance are thematized in a section of the “Vienna 1900. Birth of Modernism” exhibit at the Leopold Museum (starting March 16, 2019). Schönberg’s paintings are on view in Vienna on a larger scale for the first time in 14 years as part of this exceptional show.

The cultural-scientific discourse on “Vienna 1900” allows us to derive a series of epochal terms, but in the special case of musical art, these terms either only touch upon the subject superficially or characterize it altogether incorrectly. The question critically discussed by Carl Dahlhaus as to whether there could have existed similar constellations in composition as in other art genres – which might, for example, allow for a multi-discipline terminological narrowing of “music and Jugendstil” – can only be answered peripherally in view of the heterogeneous status of composing in Vienna around 1900. The “hazy atmosphere” (Dahlhaus), elicited by the label of Vienna Secessionism as a commonplace for simultaneous but, in their individual materiality and concreteness, entirely different concepts, cannot be ignored when analyzing the sonorous witnesses of this time. Owing to the multifariousness of artistic witnesses to this era, it is, however, possible to arrive not only at a topographical specification but also to identify commonalities in terms of substance.

The way in which Schönberg’s music and paintings fit into the context of “Vienna 1900” as a collection of material is illuminated by around 70 items on loan from the Arnold Schönberg Center which will supplement the new presentation at the Leopold Museum in Vienna until January 2020.

The Schönberg section of the exhibition at the Leopold Museum (March 16, 2019 – January 31, 2020) was curated by Therese Muxeneder | Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna

Vienna 1900. Birth of Modernism
(curated by Hans-Peter Wipplinger)
Leopold Museum