Sensual Works of the Art Nouveau Genius Koloman Moser
26 november 2021 
30 min. read

Sensual Works of the Art Nouveau Genius Koloman Moser

Koloman Moser (1968-1918) was a prominent representative of Art Nouveau and a member of the so-called Vienna Secession (among the founders were graphic artists and architects such as Josef Hoffman, Otto Wagner, and Gustav Klimt). Moser was a designer of almost everything: from postage stamps and magazine vignettes to porcelains, stained glass windows, jewelry, and furniture. 

picture of Koloman Moser

Fig. 1. Koloman Moser (interior.ru)

picture of Koloman Moser November

Fig. 2. November, print (meisterdrucke.ru)

picture of Koloman Moser April

Fig. 3. April, print (meisterdrucke.ru)

To school, Bilderbuch für die Nichte von Ditha Mautner von Markhof

Fig. 4. To school, Bilderbuch für die Nichte von Ditha Mautner von Markhof, 1904 (Wikimedia.org)

koloman moser Plakatentwurf

Fig. 5. Plakatentwurf, 1897 (Wikimedia.org)

Koloman Moser Two Dancers

Fig. 6. Two Dancers, 1902 (theviennasecession.com)

koloman moser The Wreath Bearer

Fig. 7. The Wreath Bearer, 1898 (wikimedia.org) 

Koloman Moser was born in Vienna to the family of a school headmaster Josef Moser. He was the oldest of three kids. After graduation from school, Moser enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 1885, not warning his parents, although his father initially didn't want him to be an artist. Three years later, Moser had to pay for education on his own due to his father's death. This way, he started working as a magazine illustrator. In 1892-1893, Moser, being a protégé of his mentor Trenkwald, taught fine arts to the kids of Archduke of Austria. In 1897, Moser became one of the founders of the Vienna Secession. The artist produced near to 140 pictures for Secession's periodical Ver Sacrum. At the beginning of the XXth century, he traveled throughout Europe seeking sources of inspiration. The artist was much impressed by Scottish modernism and English Arts and Crafts movement. The latter emerged as a protest against the industrial revolution that replaced traditional craft methods with mass production. Collaborating with Josef Hoffmann, Moser established the Vienna Workshop in 1903, which brought together various artists to produce ceramics, fashion, silver, furniture, and graphics. Afterward, the workshop was closed in the period of World War I due to financial problems. In 1905, Moser left the Secession together with Klimt. That year, he married a daughter of a wealthy manufacturer Mautner. Not being a member of a large group anymore, Moser still exhibited his works. In 1911, his solo exhibition was held at the Miethke Gallery in Vienna. The artist also participated in the 1st International Secession Exhibition in Rome. In 1916, he became a member of the German Association of Artists. He died two years later of throat cancer. 

sooman moser Reproduction template for the leaf for Gerlach’s love allegories

Fig. 8. Reproduction template for the leaf for Gerlach’s love allegories, new series, plate 35 (wikiart.org)

 sooman moser Gerlach

Fig. 9. Reproduction template for the leaf for Gerlach’s love allegories, new series, plate 30 (1stdibs.com)

 koloman moser Ver Sacrum cover

Fig. 10. Ver Sacrum cover (theviennasecession.com)

koloman moser Exlibris

Fig. 11. Exlibris (wikiart.org)

koloman moser

Fig. 12. pinterest.com

koloman moser prints

Fig. 13. pinterest.com

koloman moser poster

Fig. 14. pinterest.com

Moser's sensual graphic works were inspired by different types of art. Pictures like Spring (fig. 27) or Venus in the Grotto (fig. 22) contain the spirit of pagan freedom, taking us back to the Golden age of human history. Oeuvres like Two Dancers (fig. 6) have their roots in Greek and Roman art. The series of lithographs published by Martin Gerlach (fig. 8, 9, 34) reflect the Victorian view on innocent love (images of young girls and kids in general as symbols of purity). All sensual oeuvres of Moser demonstrate us a recurring motif of inner liberty. The sensuality of Moser's characters is a vital and impeccant trait of people before the fall. 

Koloman Moser A Crouching Woman

Fig. 15. A Crouching Woman (wikiart.org)

koloman moser Three Crouching Women

Fig. 16. Three Crouching Women (wikiart.org)

koKoloman Moser Three Crouching Women

Fig. 17. Three Crouching Women (wikiart.org)

Koloman Moser Study to mermaid

Fig. 18. Study to mermaid, 1914 (wikiart.org)

Koloman Moser Mermaid

Fig. 19. Mermaid (wikiart.org)

Koloman Moser Self-portrait with Mermaid

Fig. 20. Self-portrait with Mermaid, 1914 (wikiart.org) 

Koloman Moser Study for ‘Venus in the grotto

Fig. 21. Study for ‘Venus in the grotto’ (wikiart.org)

Koloman Moser Venus in the grotto

Fig. 22. Venus in the grotto (ggpht.com)

As Moser was a multi-gifted person, his colleagues called him Tausendkunstler ("the artist of thousand arts"). Although Moser himself said, "It's better to work on one thing for ten days than to work on ten things in one day," it seems that he worked on hundreds of things per second. The quotation was a slogan of the Vienna Workshop that confronted modern manufacturing and stood for medieval and Renaissance crafts where every object was a result of patient work and the secrets of profession passed from generation to generation. Nevertheless, Moser produced a wide array of art objects and objects of daily use (in his case, both categories don't seem to be principally different, though). Tausendkunstler produced jewel boxes, card decks, banknotes, postage stamps, and many other things, so there probably could be a room where all things from furniture and stained glass windows to curtains and carpets were designed by Moser. His creativity can be compared to that of the great Leonardo or so-called Homo Universalis, so Moser, standing for the revival of arts and crafts, was a Renaissance artist indeed. The after-war decay of Moser's workshop, which ideologically traces back not only to the English movement but also to Richard Wagner's concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, is a tragic example of how economics and politics eventually suppress art. Moser was striving for the idea that objects of daily use must relate to art and develop people's taste. Economically, this medieval utopia wasn't realizable. Just as Wagner's dreams of the reunification of Germany on the ground of art: in reality, it happened only by "iron and blood." 

Koloman Moser Rückenakt mit erhobenen Armen / Nude from behind with raised hands

Fig. 23. Rückenakt mit erhobenen Armen / Nude from behind with raised hands, 1915 (wikimedia.org)

Weiblicher_Rückenakt, Koloman Moser

Fig. 24. Weiblicher_Rückenakt, 1913 (wikimedia.org)

Koloman Moser Bathers

Fig. 25. Bathers, ca. 1911 (meisterdrucke.ru)

Koloman Moser The Three Graces

Fig. 26. The Three Graces (tumblr.com)

Spring Koloman Moser

Fig. 27. Spring (tripadvisor.com)

Koloman Moser The Three Graces

Fig. 28. The Three Graces, 1913 (wikiart.org)

Koloman Moser Two Girls 

Fig. 29. Two Girls (meisterdrucke.ru)

Poststamp with ‘The lovers’ by Moser

Fig. 30. Poststamp with ‘The lovers’ by Moser (austria-forum.org)

Female Nude with Blue Cloth koloman moser

Fig. 31. Female Nude with Blue Cloth (wikiart.org)

Koloman Moser Female Nude

Fig. 32. Female Nude (wikiart.org)

Koloman Moser Tristan and Isolde

Fig. 33. Tristan and Isolde (meisterdrucke.ru)

Reproduction template for the leaf for Gerlach’s allegories, Music, plate 37 

Fig. 34. Reproduction template for the leaf for Gerlach’s allegories, Music, plate 37, 1897 (1stdibs.com)

Ver Sacrum Koloman Moser 

Fig. 35. Ver Sacrum, 1897 (wikimedia.org)

Click HERE for the erotic illustrations of classic literature by the Russian painter Genia Minache....!!

Sources: Wikipedia.org; Н. Тимашева. Неисчерпаемый Коломан Мозер: 5 фактов биографии (www.interior.ru)

Let us know what you think about Moser's sensual art in the comment box below....!!

About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
JB
By

JB

on 08 Dec 2021

Love Moser's work. The use of line, composition and movement on his prints makes one want to look again and again; captivating. Very Fauve use of color, yet, tuned down just a wee bit, to pull you in but not push you away from too much light. In a way, although stylistically different, he makes me think of Piero Fornasetti. A Tausendkunstler indeed!

Darya
By

Darya

on 08 Dec 2021

Thank you! PS Fornasetti's fantasy is remarkable. His more than two hundred girls on plates are a dream of a collector.

JB
By

JB

on 09 Dec 2021

I agree! And the set with the nufe male/female. Are you familiar with his (unpublished) erotic drawings' series? Never saw the light of day but they can be found on the internet. His son thought about bringing them to light but I'm not sure it ever happened.

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