Otto Schönthal
Villa Vojcsik, Vienna

Villa Vojcsik, Vienna, facade facing the street, elevation and perspective
Otto Schönthal (1878-1961)
Villa Vojcsik, Vienna, facade facing the street, elevation and perspective
1901
Crayon, pen and black ink, watercolour, gouache
H. 20.5; W. 11.2 cm
© DR - RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Villa Vojcsik, Vienne, façade sur rue, élévation et perspective [Villa Vojcsik, Vienna, facade facing the street, elevation and perspective]


In 1997, the museum was given a rare opportunity to acquire an outstanding set of drawings by three great Viennese architects, all followers of Otto Wagner: Otto Schönthal, Emil Hoppe and Marcel Kammerer. The set covers the ten most important years of architectural research in Vienna from the beginnings of the Secession (1898) until 1908-1910, before the definitive break-up of the movement due to the war. It was a period of intense architectural activity: contests, construction, and publications abounded and are recorded in this collection of drawings. The works illustrate the architects' response to the needs of the modern world: an apartment building, a luxurious villa, a private mansion, an official palace, a theatre, thermal baths, a grand hotel and a bank.

These three young men showed such talent that Wagner entrusted them with major projects, the Postsparkässe (Savings Bank, 1903-1906) and the Am Steinhof church (1904-1907) to the extent that after 1898 it is difficult, in Wagner's projects, to distinguish the master's hand from theirs. They formed a partnership and opened their own agency in 1909. In the same year Schönthal became the director of the prestigious review Der Architekt.

The drawings for the Villa Vojcsik were executed by Schönthal in his third year of training under Wagner and constituted his first major commission. Dr Vojcsik asked him to build a villa which would include his consulting rooms. It was built on Linzer Strasse in 1901-1902. This villa marks the decline of Secessionist decoration and the emergence of the first abstract geometrical volumes in Viennese architecture. It exhibits a studied mix of formal classical conventions, simple construction and various ornamental elements taken from all over the immense Austro-Hungarian Empire, including the eastern provinces.


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