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Gavin Plumley

Wednesday 5th December 2018



This Study Day comprises three lectures looking at the cultural and social context of culture in Vienna at the turn of the century with two concentrated studies of two of its primary shakers and movers both of whom died 100 years ago. It promises to be a fascinating in depth look at an era and place which will undoubtedly feature in many events and exhibitions remembering the special anniversaries of 1918.

How did the fin de siecle happen?

At the turn of the last century, Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer  Gustav Mahler and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Looking at these and other figures in context, this introductory talk asks how and why the City of Dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900.

Otto Wagner’s Vienna

Although largely unknown outside his native Austria, Otto Wagner (1841-1918) changed Vienna in a manner almost as marked as Baron Haussmann in Paris. Taking in every aspect of modern life, including railway stations, museums, apartment blocks and hospitals, this lecture looks at Wagner’s extraordinary architectural legacy.

Gustav Klimt: Imperial Muralist turned Radical Painter

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was one of the most prominent figures in Vienna’s fin de siecle creating paintings whose themes and bold use of colour and gold shocked an unsuspecting populace. Less is known about his early years as a muralist for the grand municipal buildings and royal and aristocratic palaces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This lecture looks at the many changes in Klimt’s life, his rejection of public pomp and the impact on his style and works.

Gavin Plumley is a cultural historian specialising in Central European art and culture. He has appeared on radio, written many articles and opera and concert programmes and lectured widely. He has recently given talks for the National Trust, the National Theatre, the National Gallery, the British Museum, the BBC Proms, the Royal Opera House, the V&A and the Tate.



Study Days take place at Cawley Hall, Eye near Leominster HR6 0DS.

This is a hall with excellent facilities allowing us not only to have first class presentations but kitchens available for our two course catered lunch and adequate parking.

The cost is £30 for members and £35 for non members who are very welcome to enjoy this day. Please look on our website for a booking form that you can down load. There will also be some copies available at our monthly meetings.