From Stefan Zweig to Arnold Schönberg, from Grete Wiesenthal to Maria Jeritza
Within the framework of the new permanent presentation “Between the Wars. Art from 1918 to 1938”, the Leopold Museum now affords interesting insights into the sophisticated world of Viennese society of the 1920s and 30s with a selection of unique photographs from the studio of the Viennese photographer Franz Xaver Setzer.
Franz Xaver Setzer: Photographer of Viennese society
Franz Xaver Setzer (1886 – 1939) was one of the most important photographers of Viennese society in an era full of style and glamour. Opened in 1911, his attic studio in the Museumstraße in Vienna’s 7th district soon became a meeting place for the rich and famous, for artists and the bourgeoisie. Setzer’s studio is the only photographic studio from the interwar period to have survived in its original condition until today.
Grand opera: Divas from Jeritza to Lehmann as guests of Setzer’s
For stars from the stage, a visit to Setzer’s studio was an absolute must. Operatic divas, including Maria Jeritza, Elisabeth Schumann, Jamilla Novotná and Lotte Lehmann, as well as the start tenor Leo Slezak, were only too happy to be photographed by Setzer and had a fondness for being portrayed in their stage costumes.
Stefan Zweig and Arthur Schnitzler – Arnold Schönberg and Richard Strauss
Franz Xaver Setzer not only captured opera singers on camera but also composers, directors, theater actors and everybody who was anybody in the world of the stage. Notable literary figures, such as Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Felix Salten and Richard Beer-Hofmann, as well as the brilliant director Max Reinhardt, were photographed by Setzer in his inimitable manner. Composers of the early 20th century, including Giacomo Puccini, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel and Arnold Schönberg, as well as the operetta composer Franz Lehár, were immortalized by Setzer in the 1920s. A wonderful example from the glamorous age of operettas is a photograph of the soprano Betty Fischer in a role from the operetta “Die Königin” by Oscar Straus.
The conductors Bruno Walter and Clemens Krauss
Two photographs taken in the 1930s show eminent conductors with dramatically diverging biographies – the frontal view of a serious looking Bruno Walter, who had to emigrate first to Austria and later to the US following the rise to power of the National Socialists, and the distinctive profile of Clemens Krauss, who was adored by the regime.
Legendary actors: From Raul Aslan to Paula Wessely
Equally impressive are the portraits of the legendary actors Conrad Veidt, depicted in his role of Cesare from the film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, Raoul Aslan, Emil Jannings, Attila Hörbiger, Paula Wessely, Ewald Balser and Wolf Albach-Retty.
From the Federal President to an aviation pioneer
Further highlights among these photographs taken in the 1920s and 30s include the portraits of the Federal President Wilhelm Miklas, of the entrepreneur Julius Meinl III and of the aviation pioneer and inventor of the Etrich Taube, Igo Etrich. Particularly interesting are the photographs of Elisabeth Ephrussi, the grandmother of Edmund de Waal, author of “The Hare with Amber Eyes”, of the German developmental psychologist Charlotte Bühler, of the photographer Lisette Model and of the dancer Grete Wiesenthal. The portrait of actress Lotte Medelsky as Marthe Schwerdtlein in Goethe’s “Faust” is delightful, while that of the dancer Toni Birkmeyer as Carnival Prince is dashing. The three “Children of Baron Loudon” are adorable, while the 1929 photograph of the elegant Norwegian-born entertainers “The Rocky Twins”, who enjoyed great popularity in the US, is somewhat peculiar… (for full text, please visit the Leopold Museum website)
Please note that the Museum is open longer on Thursdays! (10am-9pm)