Vienna 14., Otto Wagner's mansion -
The Ernst Fuchs museum


Otto Wagner, "the" Viennese architect of the Art Nouveau, in 1888 built a mansion for own use in the Haltervalley in Hütteldorf, at that time one of the suburbs of Vienna. His "summer residence" is worth a look or two; if you are in the vicinity, you should make a detour into the Hüttelbergstraße, if only to catch a glance of it. A huge outside staircase leads up to a pillar supported vestibule, surrounded by two wings.

A couple of years later Otto Wagner and his family lived all year in his creation - until in 1911, when the children had left the house and the mansion had become too big.

He sold the house, which was decaying throughout time, though, and in 1963 it was close to demolition. But Ernst Fuchs bought the pretty building and thus saved it for posterity. The renovation was partly done in the spirit of Otto Wagner, partly with new ideas after the thoughts of the new owner, which today makes the estate a conglomerate, designed by two important Viennese artists.


Some shots in the garden

In 1988, at the 100th birthday of the original Wagner-mansion, Ernst Fuchs opened a private museum in this house. It shows examples from all stages of his life, many of them were especially created for this museum.
It is said that the symbolism in the work of Ernst Fuchs is not part of any special myth, but that it is formed by a "hybrid marriage of hybrids", as Marcel Brion has called it.
In Queen Esther (whose sister I encountered in the Dalí-Museum in Figueras in Spain), standing on the patio and guarding the entrance, I see a roundup of the history of mankind and at the same time its future. The round forms of the figure, the pronounced limbs and the protruding breasts remind doubtless of the twenty thousand year old "Venus from Willendorf", which can be seen in the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. Esther is the "the archetype of the mother par excellence", according to Fuchs himself. At the same time she is powerful and thus has tendencies of matriarchism, the beginnings of which we already have seen in the last century of the latest millennium.
If you visit the museum you get to see a video over the life of Ernst Fuchs and you can later explore the mixture of Wagner-Fuchs inside the house. No matter if it is the bathtube by Otto Wagner in Art Nouveau-style, or the design of a piece of furniture by Ernst Fuchs, it is the matching to the other style, that gives it its charm. It is a pity, but the photos can't reproduce all of the atmosphere.


Inside of the house

Finally I won't deny you the memorial tablet, that you can find in one of the rooms. It is dedicated to Leopoldine Fuchs, the mother of Ernst, with the following wording:
"To the memory of our beloved grandmother and great grandmother, to whom Ernst Fuchs already as a child had promised: 'Mom, when I will have grown up, I shall give you this house as a present.' After that he had fullfilled his promise in 1972, by buying and renovating the house, his mother lived here until her death."
Of course you could see this as if he was glorifying himself, but I think, that is far from the truth. It is more the joy of the young boy, having been able to make his promise work. And, seeing it this way, this plaque moves all of the museum-environment right into interpersonal reality.


Bernhard Kauntz, Wolvertem, Belgium 2014



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3.4.2014 by webmaster@werbeka.com