Multitalented star of Vienna Modernism

Wiener Werkstätte designer, architect of monumental residential buildings, as well as an influential art professor and above all a representative of a new school of thought. Otto Prutscher was more versatile than almost all other artists of the Vienna Modernism period. A new exhibition at the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art focuses on the astonishing range of abilities of this all-rounder.

There was hardly an area of life that Otto Prutscher (1880 to 1949) didn't give good shape to: the native Viennese designed residential and industrial buildings as well as country houses and villas. But the outer wrapping wasn't enough for him. He leaned towards the total work of art.

Prutscher's designs were the basis for all kinds of furniture – he designed everyday objects such as vases, coffee and tea services, tablecloths and silverware. Around 200 companies implemented his designs: from Backhausen to Lobmeyr and from Thonet to the Wiener Werkstätte. Whether textile, wood or metal: when it came to materials, Prutscher was also extremely flexible. He was one of the most productive and versatile artists of the Vienna Modernism period.

The exhibition "Otto Prutscher. Universal Designer of Viennese Modernism" at the MAK focuses the spotlight on Prutscher's extensive repertoire and the special circumstances that made such an extraordinary career possible in the first place. Prutscher was among the first students to graduate from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, founded at the end of the 19th century. Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser were his teachers. It was a time in which conventions were cast aside. Prutscher found great favor in it.

His receptiveness to new ideas also expressed itself in the form of his membership in the most important reform art movements of Vienna Modernism. From the Secession to the Werkbund and the Wiener Werkstätte. Prutscher's exceptional status is also related to an unusual career. In addition to his artistic training, he also completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter and bricklayer. Handicrafts were also a central motif of Prutscher's work.

Around 200 of Prutscher's designs and objects can be seen at the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art. Many of them are being exhibited in public for the first time. The exhibits come from private collections, from the Prutscher family archive in Milan and from the extensive Otto Prutscher estate of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art.

Otto Prutscher. Universal Designer of Viennese Modernism, November 20, 2019 - May 17, 2020


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