INVENTORY OF THE OTTO WAGNER CORRESPONDENCE, 1885-1917

Finding aid created by Rose Lachman
The Getty Research Institute
Research Library
Special Collections and Visual Resources
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Los Angeles, California 90049-1688
Phone: (310) 440-7390
Fax: (310) 440-7780
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©1998
J. Paul Getty Trust

INVENTORY OF THE OTTO WAGNER CORRESPONDENCE, 1885-1917

Accession no. 870399

Finding aid prepared by Rose Lachman
Getty Research Institute

Contact Information:

  • The Getty Research Institute
  • Research Library
  • Special Collections and Visual Resources
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
  • Los Angeles, California 90049-1688
  • Phone: (310) 440-7390
  • Fax: (310) 440-7780
  • Email Requests: http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/library/reference_form.html
  • URL: http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/library/
Processed by:
Rose Lachman
Date Completed:
1997
Encoded by:
Philip Curtis
©1998 J. Paul Getty Trust.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Otto Wagner correspondence
Date (inclusive): 1885-1917
Collection number: 870399
Creator: Wagner, Otto, 1841-1918
Extent: ca. 130 items
Repository: Getty Research Institute
Research Library
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
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.
Request Materials: To access physical materials on site, go to the library catalog record  for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for access policy .
Language: Collection material is in German.

Administrative Information

Access

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.

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

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

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

Lux, Joseph Aug. (Joseph August), 1871-1947
Moser, Koloman, 1868-1918
Muthesius, Hermann, 1861-1927
Olbrich, Joseph Maria, 1867-1908
Wagner, Otto, 1841-1918
International Congress for Modern Architecture
Architecture—Austria—20th century

Contributors

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


Folder 1

Hasenauer, Karl von, architect, 1885

Scope and Content Note

offers to give Wagner a tour of his villa in the Thiergarten (Vienna) and confirms date. Dated: 8/5/85, 8/12/85.
Folder 1

Lobmeyr, L., businessman, 1894

Scope and Content Note

inquires whether there is still space to relocate his offices to Wagner's building in Kärnthnerstrasse. Dated 10/9/94.
Folder 2

Olbrich, Joseph M., Austrian architect working in Germany (primarily, Darmstadt), 1899-1907

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for the invitation to participate with the Wiener Architektur Abteilung (Viennese Architecture division). Dated 11/8/99. Publisher's (Ernst Wasmuth) advertisement for publication of Olbrich's works of 1900-1901. Dated 5/25/01. Congratulatory card to Wagner. Dated 1/3/02. Letter of greetings from Kiev. Dated 12/25/02. Printed wedding announcement of Joseph and Clara Olbrich. Dated April, 1903. Letter regarding Basel railroad station project proposed by Olbrich and asking Wagner for any friends in Switzerland, possibly Auer, for assistance. Dated 1/17/04. Letter concerning recent architecture, H. Muthesius's book, Stilarchitektur and prospects for commissions. Dated 8/2/04. Letter welcoming a visit from Wagner. Dated 8/29/?. Letter concerned with submitting best works to Vienna rather than to Germany where he sits on the architectural board of directors. Dated 6/9/06. Letter regarding architectural exhibition in Cologne which Olbrich and one other person will direct and for which he wants to display the same pieces that Wagner exhibited in London (1906), to demonstrate tradition vs. new forms. Dated 1/29/07. Letters regarding Cologne exhibition, how gallery was prepared for Viennese architects, Wagner's works and Olbrich's intent to participate in Viennese Congress. Dated 4/2/07 and 4/10/07. Printed enclosure describing Cologne exhibition with signatures of directors. Undated. Calling card with note on reverse asking Wagner to entertain a Mrs. Frieda Bücking and explain modern architecture to her. Dated 5/8/07. Letter regarding critical acclaim of the Cologne exhibition and how it identifies the gulf between new architecture and traditional Cologne architecture. Dated 6/19/07. Congratulatory letter on Wagner's 60th birthday in which Olbrich states the influence of Wagner on his own work. Dated 7/26/07.
Folder 3

Feldegg, Ferdinand von, editor, Der Architekt, Wiener Monatshefte für Bauwesen und decorative Kunst 1900-1903

Scope and Content Note

Thanks Wagner for response to Feldegg entry in Meyer's Lexicon and reacts to Wagner's suggestions for changes. Dated 2/27/00. Requests approval to publish Wagner's museum design. Dated 4/25/03.
Folder 3

Architekten-Club der Genossenschaft der Bildenden Künstler Wiens, 1900

Scope and Content Note

With several signatures including the chairman, Deputy Strauss; thanks Wagner for sending them his latest publication which included mention of the Architekten Club. Dated 12/20/00.
Folder 3

Kieber, C.Y. Louis, Secretary, Maatschappij Tot Bevordering der Bouwkunst, 1900

Scope and Content Note

Thanks Wagner for sending them his publication, Einige Skizzen, Projecte und ausgeführte Bauwerke, Band III, Heft II. Dated 12/28/00.
Folder 4

Hofmann, Albert, editor, Deutschen Bauzeitung 1902-1905

Scope and Content Note

requests Wagner enter a work in the architectural division of the Berlin exhibition of 1902. Dated 2/28/02. Letter regarding Wiener Secession exhibition with Wagner works and requests photographs from that show. Dated 5/7/02. Letter thanking Wagner for the signed work given to Hofmann. Dated 11/27/03. Letter regarding publishing more about Wagner and his school in Hofmann's paper. Dated 7/19/05.
Folder 4

Three envelopes addressed to Wagner, 1903, 1908

Scope and Content Note

one with coat-of-arms, "D.R.G.M."; one containing a print dated 1903 with initials GTK (possibly, Gottlieb Theodor Kempf-Hartenkampf?), one with mourning band dated 8/9/08.
Folder 5

Austrian officials, 1902

Scope and Content Note

Streit, A., W(indistinct), head treasurer of the Apost. Majestät, Wedel, Gf. v., advisor to German ambassador in Vienna, German Embassy, Archduke Otto (telegram), Ministerium für Kultus und Unterricht (signature indistinct), thank Wagner for sending them his book, Moderne Architektur. Dated 5/6/02, 5/7/02, 6/9/02, 8/8/02, 9/11/02.
Folder 5

Otto Wagner, 1902

Scope and Content Note

letter to the editorial office of Die Zeit in which he declines to answer their inquiry since he is among those petitioning the emperor for the formation of a "Kunstamt."
Folder 6

Deininger, Julius, architect, 1902-1914

Scope and Content Note

suspects that Wagner's enemies will prevent him from winning a prize and believes there will be a majority and minority vote. Dated 5/28/02. Informing Wagner that he did not receive any awards, which were given instead to Schachner and Pecha. Deininger and four others submitted a minority opinion placing Wagner first and Schachner second. The majority and minority opinions will be submitted to the local council and major. Dated 6/8/02. Reply to Wagner about interest in forming a new architecture society. Dated 12/23/02. Letter about a new work and patent by Deininger. Dated 4/19/14.
Folder 6

Swoboda, Dr. Heinrich, 1902

Scope and Content Note

sddressing lack of support by Bishops for Wagner project, Swoboda suggests contacting Josef Reich for assistance. Dated 8/12/02. Postcard telling Wagner to visit Montecassino. Date illegible.
Folder 7

Verband der Genossenschafts-Krankenkassen Wiens (signature indistinct), 1902

Scope and Content Note

informs Wagner of the intention to build a house, outlines the requirements and asks Wagner to consider the project. Dated 9/18/02.
Folder 7

Haberfeld, Hugo, editor, Die Zeit, Wiener Tageszeitung, 1902

Scope and Content Note

Asks Wagner to write an article commenting on a brochure from Dr. Heinrich Swoboda on the restoration of St. Stephen's dome. Dated 10/14/02.
Folder 7

Möhring, Bruno, architect, 1902, 1911

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for his book, Moderne Architektur, sends Wagner a brochure of Möhring's work and comments on the old Prussian monumental style of architecture. Dated 10/24/02. Asks for support from Wagner's colleagues for a memorial to Josef Olbrich. Dated 4/24/11.
Folder 7

Wagner, Otto, 1902

Scope and Content Note

responding to and agreeing with Möhring but also warning of the dangers of secession at any price. Dated 10/28/02.
Folder 8

Reich, Maler, 1902

Scope and Content Note

describes compositions (frescoes) teaching catechism which he prepared for the project directed by H. Swoboda in the church designed by Wagner. Dated 12/2/02. Informs Wagner of H. Swoboda's support for his project and forthcoming meeting with church leaders. Dated 12/3/02.
Folder 8

Wärndorfer, Fritz, telegram of congratulations, 10 Dec 1902

Folder 8

Printed invitation card to exhibition of Austrian Secession artists, Nov/Dec 1902

Folder 8

Muthesius, H., 1903, 1905

Scope and Content Note

received documents from Wagner and will work on the project to preserve historical buildings; asks whether any of his (Muthesius's) writings have been published in Vienna. Dated 1/1/03. Letter regarding a visit to Wagner. Dated 4/8/05.
Folder 8

Bamberger, Gustav, 1903

Scope and Content Note

acknowledges receipt of jury vote, with which he disagrees. Dated 1/12/03.
Folder 8

Société Centrale D'Architecture De Belgique (signatures indistinct), 1903

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for his letter, which is being forwarded to the special commission. Dated 1/12/03.
Folder 8

Plecnik, Joze, architect, 1903, undated

Scope and Content Note

regrets unavailable to attend the day's conference. Dated 1/14/03. Sends a quotation from a speech that criticized Wagner. Undated.
Folder 8

Suzor, Graf v., Russian architect, 1903

Scope and Content Note

asks to visit Wagner. Dated 2/17/03.
Folder 9

VI Congreso Internacional de Arquitectos, 1903

Scope and Content Note

(secretaries' signatures), informs Wagner that Congress will take place in 1904, requests names of Austrian architects to be included on the organization committee and reports progress on advertising for the Congress. Dated 3/7/03, 4/13/03, 5/22/03.
Folder 9

Anonymous letter, 1903

Scope and Content Note

addressing the controversy between Schachner and Wagner concerning the new museum. Dated 5/18/03.
Folder 9

Bahr, Hermann, 1903

Scope and Content Note

"Redaktion des Neuen Wiener Tagblatt", about theater rights. Dated 6/6/03.
Folder 9

Benirschke, Joh. Karl, architect, 1903

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for his acceptance and opportunities for work. Dated 7/9/03.
Folder 9

Koch, Alex, architect, 1903

Scope and Content Note

requests names of Austrian architects to publish in his publication, Academy Architecture and Architectural Review. Dated 8/19/03.
Folder 9

Wiener Werkstätte, 1903

Scope and Content Note

asks Wagner's approval for an inkstand sent with the delivery of this letter. Dated 8/22/03.
Folder 9

Frimmel, Dr. Th. v., 1903

Scope and Content Note

clarifies that the 9/14/03 issue of Montagsrevue altered text against Frimmel's wishes: he stated that Wagner's interior furnishings are more comfortable than Mackintosh's or Ashbee's. Dated 9/18/03. He appreciates Wagner's vote of confidence and asks Wagner to send him any new designs. Dated 11/25/03.
Folder 10

Anagnostopulo, N.G., 1903

Scope and Content Note

Wagner's design for a cathedral in Patras is one of seven under consideration. Dated 10/8/03.
Folder 10

Lampakis, Dr. G., 1903

Scope and Content Note

about Wagner's design for cathedral. Dated 12/29/03.
Folder 10

Alois Prinz Liechtenstein, 1903

Scope and Content Note

confirms voting for Wagner's church project and gives his thoughts on the old and modern styles of architecture. Dated 11/22/03.
Folder 10

Gurlitt, Cornelius, 1904

Scope and Content Note

asks Wagner to send him designs of floor plans for a handbook on country churches, which is an effort to end the routine approach to church construction. Dated 5/12/04.
Folder 10

Swoboda, Franz Josef, organ manufacturer, 1904

Scope and Content Note

describing design for area with organ. Dated 7/4/04.
Folder 10

Andri, Ferdinand, 1905

Scope and Content Note

asks Wagner to assist in a selection process. Dated 5/12/05.
Folder 10

Lenz, P. Desiderius, 1905

Scope and Content Note

responds to Wagner's church project designs and states the need for artistic freedom from church dogma. Dated 5/13/05.
Folder 11

Moser, Koloman, graphic artist, 1905-1911

Scope and Content Note

expresses concern about time constraints in preparing designs [for Kirche am Steinhof] and comments on the respect they have for one another. Dated 7/15/05. Turns down an invitation to visit Wagner due to work load. Undated. Reasons for delays on design for the high altar due to its importance. Dated 9/4/05. Letter accompanying the sketches for the high altar describe the design; also requests a commission look at the designs and determine further arrangements, including size, finances, etc., so that he can continue work. Undated. Requests stipends for artists (Kolik, Feistauer, Wigele, Schiele); also requests some brochures so that someone (possibly Seligmann) will write an article about Wagner's work. Undated. Refers to problems with the project and lack of support from Dr. Swoboda. Undated. Reasons for dropping the project and the financial consequences. Dated 2/18/07. Refers to completing designs that Wagner will like in theory though the forms are still fluid. Dated 12/18/11. File includes envelope addressed to Wagner.
Folder 12

Krupp, Arthur, 1907

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for his recommendation of Klimt for a family portrait. Dated 2/9/07.
Folder 12

Tate (Otto Wagner?), 1907

Scope and Content Note

about his stay in St. Petersbourg, his reception there, conditions in the city, and the exhibition he visited. Dated 5/27/07.
Folder 12

Wagner, Otto, to Mr. Kammer?, 1907

Scope and Content Note

letter arranging an appointment. Dated 8/29/07.
Folder 12

Palacios, A., architect in Madrid, 1908

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for assistance in a project just given to him, the Post Office in Madrid. Dated 1/15/08.
Folder 12

Berger, Hofrath von, K. & K. Ministerium des Aeussern, 1908

Scope and Content Note

arranging a meeting with Wagner. Dated 3/10/08.
Folder 12

Labò, Mario, editor, L'Arte: Decorativa Moderna, 1908

Scope and Content Note

letter to Miss ? [possibly Wagner's secretary] requesting some of the reports from the congress held in Vienna, especially the one from Mr. Bauer, as Labò could not attend. Dated 5/29/08.
Folder 12

Schuster, Dr., director, K.K. Postsparkassen-Amtes, 1908

Scope and Content Note

proposes financial matters to Dr. Gessmann and to the finance ministry. Dated 7/18/08.
Folder 13

Lux, Josef August, author of monograph on Wagner, 1909-1914

Scope and Content Note

regrets that Vienna does not appreciate Wagner as it should and describes how Lux was treated similarly until he left the city; he is proud to be praised by Wagner. Dated 8/24/09. Informs Wagner of his strong support to the central commission on Wagner's behalf, which was to no avail; decries the lassitude of Austrian architects. Dated 12/19/11. Hopes Wagner received copy of monograph and asks for corrections; asks Wagner to voice his support for Lux to Prof. Sturm who may influence jury which determines prize for best written drama, which Lux hopes to receive; description of play's content follows. Dated 7/1/14. Letter on Dresdener Werkstätten letterhead, describing German art movements (also in relationship to Viennese artists) and how German artists influence politics, press, industry and the public. Dated 5/16/?.
Folder 14

Tesar, Prof., critic, 1909

Scope and Content Note

regarding articles he wrote and suggestions made by Wagner. Dated 9/4/09.
Folder 14

Metzner, Franz, German sculptor of Olbrich memorial, 1909

Scope and Content Note

sends some of his notebooks at Wagner's request. Dated 11/19/09.
Folder 14

Rösch, Maler, Secession artist, 1910

Scope and Content Note

admires Wagner's project plans for the Karlsplatz. Dated 1/5/10.
Folder 15

Proclamations from various societies on Wagner's 70th birthday, July 1911

Scope and Content Note

These include: Deutscher Werkbund, Bund Deutscher Architekten (Dresden), Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Bouwkunst (Amsterdam), Direktion des Wiener Stadtbauamtes, Genossenschaft der Bildenden Künstler Wiens, La Société Centrale d'Architecture de Belgique. Includes printed announcement establishing an Otto Wagner annual prize in commemoration of his birthday.
Folder 16

Postcard to Marcel Kammer[er?] 1911

Scope and Content Note

with greetings from Budapest, various signatures including Wagner's. Dated 12/10/11.
Folder 16

Geyling, Remigius, artist, 1911

Scope and Content Note

regrets inability to bring to fruition the commission for the altarpiece at the Steinhof and suggest Forstner for the project. Dated 12/22/11.
Folder 16

Brinckmann, Albert E., art historian, 1912

Scope and Content Note

congratulates Wagner on his pamphlet, Die Grossstadt and compares their similar approach to design for cities (in duplicate). Dated 1/27/12.
Folder 16

Direktion der K.K. Österreichischen Staatsgalerie, Dr. Fr. Dörnhöfer, 1911, 1913

Scope and Content Note

informing Wagner that the gold medal awarded to him at the international architecture exhibition in Rome (1911) still hasn't been officially presented and he will attempt to rectify this. Dated 3/3/13. Informs Wagner of the official presentation of the award and that this is the only golden award given to a single artist. Includes envelope. Dated 6/2/13.
Folder 16

Gesellschaft Österreichischer Architekten, 1913

Scope and Content Note

congratulates Wagner for winning competition for the plans of the Kaiser Franz Josefs Stadt Museum, "Opus IV" and hopes that the project will soon be approved for construction by the city council. Dated 5/3/13. Letter to Dr. Josef Porzer, vice-mayor of Vienna, concerning above competition, how it was conducted, why it was awarded to Wagner and urging its construction. Dated 5/7/13.
Folder 16

Magyar Épitömüvészek Szövetsége (Budapest), 1913

Scope and Content Note

letter to the Bundes Österreichischer Künstler expressing regret that the city council of Vienna rejected Wagner's plans for the Stadt Museum (letter states reasons for strong support of Wagner). Dated 6/27/13.
Folder 16

Bund Österreichischer Künstler, 1913

Scope and Content Note

at their first general meeting named Wagner first honorary president (Signed Gustav Klimt, President and Rudolf Jung, Secretary). Dated 6/22/13.
Folder 16

Ohmann, Friedrich, architect, 1913

Scope and Content Note

urges Wagner to comment on plans for a special school. Dated 7/1/13.
Folder 16

Direktorium der Internationale Baufach-Ausstellung mit Sonderausstellungen, Leipzig, 1913

Scope and Content Note

proclamation for Wagner receiving the Königl. Sächsische Staatspreis.
Folder 17

Fritz, Hans, former student, 1913-1914

Scope and Content Note

regarding his failure to establish himself in Prague, his philosophy and approach to architecture and gratitude to Wagner as his teacher. Undated [Dec. 1913], 2/28/14. Letter detailing his trip to Rome and the acceptance there of the Vienna Secessionists, his impressions of religious attitudes, St. Peters, Sistine Chapel, and comments on his disappointments. Dated 4/7/14, 5/9/14. Letter about a probable commission. Dated 5/30/14.
Folder 18

Bernt, 1914

Scope and Content Note

letter of greetings. Dated 2/23/14.
Folder 18

Bammery?, T., 1914

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for condolence wishes. Dated 3/7/14.
Folder 18

N.-ö. Landes-Ausschuss Departement für Wohlfahrts-Angelegenheiten, 1914

Scope and Content Note

returning submitted photo for the Zedlitzhalle as inappropriate for planned exhibition. Dated 5/16/14.
Folder 18

Behrens, Peter, 1914

Scope and Content Note

postcard from Neubabelsberg with greetings also from Berta Zuckerkandl, Karl and Daly Scheffler, Lilli and Petra Behrens, Anna Simons. Dated 12/18/14.
Folder 18

Dülfer, Martin, architect, 1915

Scope and Content Note

thanks Wagner for sending him Die Baukunst unserer Zeit, 4th edition and requests that Cornelius Gurlitt, new director of the Hochschule, receive two copies. Dated 2/12/15 and 2/27/15.
Folder 18

Eisler, Max, 1915

Scope and Content Note

preparing material to teach a course "Die Kunst im Wiener Stadtbild" that will include Wagner; he will look for photographs of the Hütteldorfer Nachbarvilla, which Wagner requested. Dated 5/6/15.
Folder 18

Klopfer, Paul (Weimar), 1915

Scope and Content Note

about architecture based on conservancy of previous forms. Dated 5/25/15.
Folder 18

Vornehm, Kadett Karl, student of Wagner, 1915

Scope and Content Note

about upcoming project and Wagner's support. Dated 7/21/15.
Folder 18

Kunstverlag Anton Schroll & Co., 1915

Scope and Content Note

list of organizations that were sent Wagner's work, Moderne Baukunst. Dated 7/28/15.
Folder 18

Wagner, Otto to Dagobert Frey, architect, 1917

Scope and Content Note

Tells of his illness, despite which, he is working. Dated 7/13/17.
Folder 19

Zuckerkandl, Berta, art critic, undated

Scope and Content Note

needs more information to comment about two Lueger designs. Includes envelope with postmark, 6/21/13? undated.
Folder 19

W., Siegfried, undated

Scope and Content Note

personal letter of invitation.
Folder 19

Lechner?, Ödön, architect, undated

Scope and Content Note

requests interview for a biography of Wagner and his school.
Folder 19

Photocopy of a partial art bibliography, undated

Scope and Content Note

only letters Schaa-Schla.