cover image Koloman Moser: 1868–1918

Koloman Moser: 1868–1918

Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, . . Prestel/Leopold Museum, $75 (445pp) ISBN 978-3-7913-3879-8

In 1903, the artist and designer Koloman Moser, along with fellow artist Josef Hoffmann and industrialist Fritz Waerndorfer, founded the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop). There Moser produced some of the icons of 20th-century design. This heavily illustrated volume, edited by the museological director of Vienna’s Leopold Museum and an art historian at Vienna University with contributions by other scholars, traces Moser’s full career, beginning with his work as a young illustrator of art journals and children’s books and as a participant from 1897 to 1903 in the Vienna Secession. During his years with the Werkstätte he produced fabrics, furniture, book bindings, jewelry and toys before leaving in 1907 over various disputes. Later he gained his widest exposure by producing postage stamps and bank notes for the Austrian government as well as working in both theater design and church decoration. Although many of the stage efforts were unproduced and the religious projects often devolved into what he described as a “series of unpleasant situations,” the illustrations prove that he was creating breakthrough designs. On the other hand, 70 examples of his easel paintings offer thin support for the editors’ claim that he was an innovator and not a follower of established modernist trends. 350 color and b&w illus. (Nov.)