The Leopold Museum is currently showcasing the incredibly
influential work of photographer Moriz Nähr in Photography and Viennese Modernism, Vienna. Nähr is considered as one of the forefathers of the Vienna Secession and remembered for his efforts in giving photography a modern twist.
The Vienna Secession was an art movement formed in 1897 and was the formal beginning of Austrian modern art. At that time, Vienna was highly attached to its traditions and rules — sporting a generally conservative attitude. A rather hostile environment for promoting a global-view of art and embrace all forms, mediums, genres, and fields.
Photographer Moriz Nähr dictated modern Viennese photography at the time through his powerful portraiture. According to exhibit curator Uwe Schögl, Nähr's particular relationship with fellow Secessionist Gustav Klimt was a particularly motivating factor in Nähr's photography. This friendship with Klimt is also up for visual study through the portraits Nähr took. Schögl said:
“The legends that have formed around Moriz Nähr are based on the one hand on his close ties with Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession, and on the other on his relationships with the family of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Imperial House of Habsburg, especially with the heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand who named him his court photographer in 1908. Fellow artists and photographers, as well as bourgeois and archducal highnesses from the House of Habsburg all held his photographic oeuvre in the highest esteem.”
Leopold Museum director Hans-Peter Wipplinger summarized that Nähr's oeuvre may also be attributed to his connections with affluent figures, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein's family, the imperial Hasburg family including the throne-heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Nähr was eventually appointed as the Archduke’s court photographer in 1908. Wipplinger stated:
“The oeuvre of this singular photographer, which consists of commissioned photographs and of results of his freelance work, is shown in a comprehensive manner and in connection with the art of his time well into the late 1920s at the Graphic Cabinet. [Also] the exhibition highlights the correlations between photography, painting and architecture...”
Nähr’s contributions are rediscovered in this retrospective and his work is up for viewing in Vienna until 29 October.