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Finding aid for the Otto Wagner correspondence, 1885-1917
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Otto Wagner correspondence
    Date (inclusive): 1885-1917
    Number: 870399
    Creator/Collector: Wagner, Otto, 1841-1918
    Physical Description: 130.0 items
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Primarily letters sent to Otto Wagner, the Austrian architect and teacher, from other architects, artists, publishers, and students. Letters concern the work of Wagner and his correspondents, Wagner's influence, and exhibitions. Includes five letters from Wagner dated between 1902-1917.
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    Language: Collection material is in German

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Otto Wagner, known as the father of Vienna architects, was an architect, writer and teacher, whose followers included Josef Hoffman and J. M. Olbrich. Wagner studied architecture at the Vienna Polytechnic School (1857-1859) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (1861-1863). His writings include Moderne Architektur (1895) and his (nearly utopian) work on urban design, Die Grosstadt (1911). Wagner's architectural designs mark the change from the historical styles of the 19th century (in Wagner's early designs this meant a sober use of Renaissance forms and details), to the modernism of the beginning of the 20th century. Most of his designs consist of private and public buildings in and around Vienna. In his designs (particularly after 1890s), writings and teaching, Wagner addressed one major issue: the search for new forms best suited for modern, urban life

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers. Many of the letters have typescript copies.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Otto Wagner Correspondence, 1885-1917, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 870399.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1987.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Otto Wagner Correspondence consists of ca. 130 letters to Otto Wagner primarily from architects, artists, publishers and students concerning the work of Wagner and that of his correspondents. Also included are 5 letters from Wagner dated between 1902-1917. Letters are dated 1885-1917, the bulk between 1902-1915.
    Correspondents include Joseph Olbrich (18 letters, 1899-1907, mostly concerning his and Wagner's submissions for exhibitions, the Basel railroad station project, publications, and personal matters); Hermann Muthesius (2 letters, 1903 and 1905, one discussing a project to preserve historical buildings); Koloman Moser (8 letters, 1905, 1907 and 1911, mostly about his altar designs for Kirche am Steinhof and problems relating to the execution of the designs, includes sketches); and Joseph August Lux, (4 letters,1909-1914). Letters from various people discuss Wagner's church designs and the conflict between design and church dogma. Letters from students discuss their architectural work and Wagner's lasting influence. Other letters relate to a Cologne exhibition, 1906-1907, and Wagner's work as an officer of the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne.
    For most of the letters there is also a typescript copy which is filed with the original.

    Arrangement note

    The letters are arranged in one series by date and correspondent with undated correspondence at the end. Multiple letters from one correspondent remain together and are arranged chronologically after the earliest letter. Wagner's letters are interfiled by date.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Lux, Joseph Aug. (Joseph August), 1871-1947
    Moser, Koloman, 1868-1918
    Muthesius, Hermann, 1861-1927
    Olbrich, Joseph Maria, 1867-1908
    Wagner, Otto, 1841-1918

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    International Congress for Modern Architecture

    Subjects - Topics

    Architecture--Austria--20th century


    Moser, Koloman, 1868-1918
    Muthesius, Hermann, 1861-1927
    Olbrich, Joseph Maria, 1867-1908