FRIENDS OF THE HAGENBUND
VEREIN DER FREUNDE UND DER WISSENSCHAFTLICHEN ERFORSCHUNG DES HAGENBUNDES
The Verein der Freunde und der wissenschaftlichen Erforschung des Hagenbundes, or Friends of the Hagenbund for short, was founded in Vienna in 2002. Collectors of Hagenbund art had met, mostly by accident, over the years in galleries and museums. The individual collectors came together to form a circle of friends, united not only by their collecting passion but also by their desire to find out more about the association that had produced the works they so admired. The articles of association therefore include the following aims:
- Research into the fate of the Hagenbund and its members
- Positioning of the Hagenbund within the contemporary art scene from 1900 to 1938
- Awareness-raising through exhibitions and catalogues
- Publication of monographs and books
- Media work
The results of the collection and research activities of the Friends of the Hagenbund have been presented in several public exhibitions.
- Künstler des Hagenbundes: 10. Sonderausstellung des Anton Hanak-Museums Langenzersdorf, May - November 1989
- Unbekannte Schätze - Klassische Moderne aus zehn Wiener Privatsammlungen. Ausstellung Schloss Rosenau 1998
- Moderne Tradition - Künstler des Hagenbundes und ihre tschechischen Gäste - Werke aus acht Privatsammlungen. Ausstellung Palais Kinsky Vienna July/August2002
- Die Künstlervereinigung HAGENBUND - eine Auslese. Ausstellung Museum ‚Alte Hofmühle’ Hollabrunn September/October 2005
- Sechs Ungarn im Hagenbund. Ausstellung mit Kunstwerken aus österreichischen Privatsammlungen und der ungarischen Nationalgalerie. Collegium Hungaricum Wien January/February 2015
Catalogues have been published to accompany the exhibitions.
The forty years of research on 180 Hagenbund artists culminated in 2016 in an encyclopaedic
work by Peter Chrastek and Peter Sroubek:
HAGENBUND AND ITS ARTISTS: Expressionism, New Objectivity, Prohibition, edited by Wien Museum and der Verein der Freunde und der wissenschaftlichen Erforschung des Hagenbundes, exh. cat.. Wien Museum (Vienna 2016), ISBN-13: 978-3950405910, in German and English.
It includes some hitherto missing biographical data and information about the fate of the members from 1900 to 1938. The biographies of Hagenbund members, characterized by economic hardship and political persecution, reflect how difficult it must have been to create art during this time.
Prof. Peter Chrastek, initiator and after Dr. Kurt Berger and Dipl.Ing. Erich Gusel, third president in the history of the association, announced his resignation at the general meeting on November 29, 2019 and was named honorary president for his merits. Founding member Peter Sroubek was elected as his successor. Overall, the association is now represented by the following persons:
HAGENBUND ARTISTS’ ASSOCIATION
The origins of the Hagenbund artists’ association in Vienna date back to the informal meetings of artists to discuss contemporary visual arts from 1880 onwards. These gatherings took place initially in various restaurants and then on a more regular basis in the restaurant Zum Blauen Freihaus in Gumpendorfer Strasse, whose owner Josef Haagen gave the association its name. The Künstlerbund Hagen der Genossenschaft Bildender Künstler Wiens was formally established on 3 February 1900. At the outset, it was an association within the Genossenschaft der bildenden Künstler Wiens (“Künstlerhaus”), established in 1861, the professional body representing Viennese artists, sculptors and architects. Just as the Klimt group had left the Künstlerhaus in 1897, the Hagenbund members also withdrew from its protection on 29 November 1900 following various disagreements. As the Künstlerhaus, which had opened in 1868, was no longer available for exhibitions, a new venue in the Markthalle in Zedlitzgasse was established. The restructuring of this hall was organized by the architect Josef Urban, founder member of the Hagenbund, who also worked as a theatre set designer, but already emigrated to the USA in 1911. The exhibitions in Zedlitzhalle reflected the ambitious aims of the Hagenbund and were devoted to the entire spectrum of visual arts, including applied and commercial art.
Guests from Austria and other countries were regular contributors to the exhibitions. Oskar Kokoschka’s expressive oil paintings were shown as early as 1911, creating something of a sensation in the city, but also giving rise to angry protests. The short-lived Neukunst group headed by Egon Schiele, who had left the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 1912, was invited to hold an exhibition that included works by Schiele, Gütersloh, Kolig, Wiegele and others. The Hagenbund was thus always open to and interested in foreign art and new artists, an interest that became more intense in the interwar years. Disapproving bodies forced the closure of the Zedlitzhalle from autumn 1912 and during the First World War, and the premises, in urgent need of renovation, could not be used again until 1919. Whereas traditional art had been the focus hitherto, after the war a younger generation of artists – names like Floch, Hauser, Lerch, Mayer- Marton, Merkel, Schatz or Schwarz-Waldegg – began to set new standards. The modern styles of Expressionism and New Objectivity became increasingly prominent, giving rise to a distinctive Hagenbund style.
From 1924 onwards, women were also permitted to join the association as extraordinary
members. They were not allowed to vote but could participate in the discussions and exhibitions.
The world economic crisis had a considerable impact on the Hagenbund and its members,
especially after 1929, since it made the sale of works of art increasingly difficult. With the
changing political circumstances in the 1930s, the characteristically tolerant and pacifist attitudes
of the Hagenbund became less and less desirable. Jewish members were expelled in February
1938 by president Karl Stemolak, apparently at the instigation of Leopold Blauensteiner,
responsible for visual arts in the Nazi Party Landeskulturamt (Provincial Department of Culture)
(1). The Hagenbund was ultimately dissolved after the “Anschluss” for both organizational and
economic reasons, the new legislation calling for its structure and assets to be transferred to a
(Nazi) “society of fine artists” (2). Some members were able to continue working under difficult
circumstances abroad; others were unable to escape and, like Fritz Schwarz-Waldegg or Robert
Kohl, were killed in concentration camps.
The attempt to revive the Hagenbund after the war was
short-lived and unsuccessful.
From today’s perspective, the Hagenbund may be seen above all as a powerful interwar art movement, occupying a distinctive and progressive place next to the Secession and Künstlerhaus groups and notable for its cosmopolitan, heterogeneous and innovative character. Many of its members were persecuted, driven out or murdered in concentration camps during the Nazi era on account of their “non-Aryan” origins and/or their antifascist opinions. The association’s archive was also completely destroyed. As the Hagenbund was extensively ignored for a long time in the Austrian art and cultural scene, there was an evident gap between the known and often high-quality works of art and the absence of biographical data about their creators, which was asking to be closed. Hagenbund art is now increasingly recognized, but there are still undiscovered treasures that make intensive research more worthwhile than ever.
Further information can be found under the Wikipedia entry for HAGENBUND
A list of members is provided here.
Bernhard Denscher published an analysis of the exhibition posters as a visual self-portrayal of the artists' association.
(1) Lisa Frank: Meine Erinnerungen an den Hagenbund (New York 1993). In: Die verlorene Moderne – Der Künstlerbund Hagen 1900 – 1938. Österreichische Galerie im Schloß Halbturn, Burgenland, Vienna 1993.
(2) Ernst Ploil. “Das Ende des Hagenbundes” in Peter Chrastek, Hagenbund and Its Artists: Expressionism, New Objectivity and Prohibition, eds. Wien Museum and Verein der Freunde und der wissenschaftlichen Erforschung des Hagenbundes, exh. cat. Wien Museum, Vienna 2016, in German and English.
EXAMPLES OF WORKS
Many additional illustrations can be found in the following video
Friends of the Hagenbund present individual works
Oil on canvas, 41 x 34 cm. This picture is typical of the period of new objectivity.
Otto Rudolf Schatz,
born in 1900 in Wien / Painter, graphic artist, illustration and mosaic and fresco artist – mostly urban scenes, landscapes, world of work, socially critical and political themes; initially expressionist, from second half of 1920s New Objectivity. 1915–18 and 1919 studied at Vienna School of Applied Arts with O. Strnad and A. v. Kenner; 1920 contract with Vienna art dealer M. Hevesi, 1921 start of collaboration with A. Roessler, 1924 travel to Italy and first exhibition of works in Neue Galerie (Nirenstein), 1923 participation in Hagenbund, 1928–38 member of Hagenbund; numerous black-and-white woodcuts, some as book illustrations (e.g. 1922 for A. Roessler Die Stimme der Gotik, 1927 for J. Luitpold-Stern Die neue Stadt, 1929 for S. Zweig Die Phantastische Nacht); repeated travel between 1935 and 1937, e.g. through Mediterranean countries, Italy and former Yugoslavia, 1936/37 travel to USA with visit to New York, 1937 visit to Paris and World’s Fair; following New York experience numerous oil painting, watercolours and woodcuts of themes there show at the Neue Galerie in Vienna (Nirenstein) in April 1937; 1938 persecuted for political reasons, banned from painting and exhibiting; until 1944 lived first in Brno then Prague, autumn 1944 arrested by the Gestapo and after four-week imprisonment transfer to Klettendorf, Grädit and Dworschowitz labour camps and ultimately to Bistritz concentration, from where he was liberated by the Russians; 1945/46 documentation of destruction of Vienna in oil paintings and woodcuts; 1946 member of the Vienna Secession, 1947 solo exhibition in Wiener Konzerthaus, 1962 retrospective exhibition in Wiener Künstlerhaus, 1978 joint exhibition in Kulturhaus Graz (through Otto Breicha), also 1978 major retrospective in Wiener Künstlerhaus; works in Belvedere, Albertina, Wien Museum, Leopold Museum.
A video on the occasion of the
HAGENBUND UND SEINE KÜNSTLER
on 21 April 2016 in Wien Museum