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Stefan Muthesius on Modernism and, or versus traditionalism: the work of the Wagnerschűler Leopold Bauer

3 September 2019

Modernism and, or versus traditionalism: the work of the Wagnerschűler Leopold Bauer

Review of:

Jindřich Vybiral, Leopold Bauer, Häretiker der modernen Architektur 1872-1938, Basel: Birkhäuser,  2018, English Summary,  548 pp.,  350 b/w illustrations, 120 colour illustrations, ISBN    978 3 0356 130 62

Stefan Muthesius (University of East Anglia) 21/SM1

Abstract: Leopold Bauer counted among the most prominent of the numerous pupils of Otto Wagner and was fully involved with the creation of the distinctive geometric forms of the Secession movement, first in interior design and in the planning of the sizeable Villa. His Villa Reissig in Brno (Brűnn) of 1901-2 is probably the best-preserved building of its kind of the movement. By 1910, however his sympathies also turned towards more traditionalist Classical-Baroque forms when dealing with public commissions. Contemporary critics and later art historians never forgave him for that. The second part of Bauer’s career was mostly spent in his native Moravia, now no longer part of the Hapsburg Empire but of new Czechoslovakia, especially in Opava (Troppau). A rich and diverse output of houses churches offices, hospitals and other tasks  is given here the fullest illustration and interpretation by the author, concentrating throughout  on the issues of modernity, anti-modernity and a third way.

Key words: Vienna Secession/Wagnerschule design, Vienna  Secession style villas and interior design, Interwar  Architecture in Czechoslovakia, Architecture of  Opava (Troppau), Definitions of Modernism – Anti-Modernisms and its problems

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