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    Modern architecture and Antisemitism in early Twentieth-Century Vienna

    Topp, Leslie (2018) Modern architecture and Antisemitism in early Twentieth-Century Vienna. In: Shapira, E. (ed.) Design Dialogue: Jews, Culture and Viennese Modernism/Design Dialog: Juden, Kultur und Wiener Moderne. Vienna, Austria: Böhlau Verlag, pp. 329-343. ISBN 9783205206347.

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    This essay revisits two well known modernist monuments from the beginning of the twentieth century: Otto Wagner's Postsparkasse, and Adolf Loos's Haus am Michaelerplatz. I show how the design in each case bore the traces of the anti-Semitic discourses prevalent at the time in the areas of banking and the clothing trade. Wagner's austere and open design downplayed the populist rhetoric surrounding the founding of the Postsparkasse in the 1880s as a public response to what anti-Semites branded the scourge of private "Jewish banking". Loos's building, for the Jewish-owned tailoring firm Goldman and Salatsch, was motivated by the desire to distance the firm's image from that of the Warenhaus, which was being attacked by Christian Social supporters as part of the Jewish threat to small tradesmen in Vienna. Each building was in an importantly distinct relationship to the politics and practices of antisemitism, not due to any particular stance taken by their architects, but because of the positions strived for by their owners – the Postsparkasse and Goldman and Salatch – within the banking and clothing sectors, and how the architects responded in their designs. The connection between modern architecture and anti-Semitic politics is shown to be real, and also highly complex.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Arts > History of Art
    Depositing User: Leslie Topp
    Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 14:32
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2020 09:43


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