The Architectural Dreams of Jugendstil
Joseph Maria Olbrich

03.03.2011 to 13.06.2011


The year 2011 marks the centenary of the acquisition of the graphic works that Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867-1908) had in his possession upon his death. The more than 2000 drawings by the architect, designer and landscape architect form the bulk of the Art Library's collection of architectural drawings from the first half of the 20th century. A century ago a foundation had to be set up to facilitate the purchase, the committee of which included the then Director General of the Royal Museums in Berlin, Wilhelm von Bode, and the artist Max Liebermann. Remaining funds came from generous donations from around 42 private individuals and companies. Thanks to their combined efforts, the purchase of this part of Olbrich's estate was made possible and is to be honoured today with an exhibition by the Art Library.

Olbrich's fame largely rests on his design for the Vienna Secession building, his constructions for the artists' colony in Darmstadt on the slopes of the Mathildenhöhe and his last great contract, the department store built for Leonard Tietz AG in Düsseldorf. As an architect, Olbrich created complex worlds as Gesamtkunstwerke that left no aspect of design untouched. The areas he tackled ranged from the outer design of buildings and interiors, right up to linen, cutlery, porcelain and domestic ceramic products. Olbrich made his architectural dreams reality. Today's exhibition aims not only to reflect the creative output of this European architect by showcasing his designs that lay somewhere between historicism, Jugendstil and early modernism, but also to reveal to the public the beauty and aesthetic appeal of his drawings in their own right.