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Art Nouveau in Munich: Masters of Jugendstil

September 25–November 27, 1988

The first German exhibition of decorative arts in the "new" style was held in the Munich Glaspalast in 1897. Critics immediately recognized the importance of this exhibition and praised the "Munich accomplishment" as the "way of the future." This was a prophetic judgment; the innovative spirit of the applied arts of Munich at the turn of the century did lay the groundwork for several vital directions of twentieth-century art, from Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky to the Bauhaus design school, and the establishment of the aesthetic of modern industrial design. At first the style was described simply as "new" or "modern," and sometimes also as "the new art," a direct translation of "l'Art Nouveau," the name given by the dealer Siegfried Bing to his shop in Paris and by critics to the objects in this style that were shown there. However, in Germany, as it spread outward from Munich, it became known as Jugendstil (Style of Youth) after the magazine Jugend, which had been founded in Munich in 1896 and incorporated typography and illustrations in this new style. Although aware of Art Nouveau in France and Belgium and the Arts and Crafts movement in England, Munich artists were for the most part impervious to outside influences, inventing new forms or relying on simple shapes and machine techniques to establish their own artistic identity, which was remarkable modern.


Philadelphia Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Saint Louis Art Museum
Stadtmuseum, Munich

Main Building


The Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Lufthansa German Airlines, and the Bayerische Vereinsbank AG. Additional support for the catalogue was provided by Merck Finck & Co. and the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk AG,Munich


Kathryn Bloom Hiesinger

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