Friedrich König was a multi-talented artist, one of the founding members of the Vienna Secession, a progressive, modern movement aiming to unite artists and designers of very different fields.
Our painting dates from circa 1900, that is from the early and most valued years of the Secession (1897 – 1905), before Gustav Klimt and an important number of members left. In 1901, that is probably one year after he painted our painting, Friedrich König and of course Gustav Klimt each decorated walls of the Vienna Secession Building with their painted Beethoven friezes.
About Friedrich König
Austrian painter, illustrator, designer and sculptor
Vienna 1857 – 1941 Vienna
König studied in Vienna at the “Kunstgewerbeschule” (School of Arts and Crafts) and at the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna (1878 – 1883) and of Munich.
He was one of the founders of the Vienna Secession in 1897. In 1902, the year of the important Beethoven exhibition, he was its vice-president.
Twenty-one artists participated in this ground-breaking exhibition.
- At the centre of the main hall of the Secession Building in Vienna stood Max Klinger’s much-criticized statue of Beethoven.
- Three walls of the main hall were decorated by Gustav Klimt’s famous Beethoven frieze.
- Our Friedrich König painted friezes on the two longitudinal walls of the right side hall. Other walls were decorated by Josef Maria Auchentaller and by Andri Längsbilder.
König published a lot of lithographs in “Ver Sacrum”, the official magazine of the Vienna Secession between 1898 and 1903. In 1929, as the oldest member of the Secession, he was honoured for his seventieth birthday with an exhibition of his works. He remained a member until his death in 1941.
In 1900 König had painted two large paintings for the Music Room of the Neo Renaissance Wittgenstein Palace (1871/1873) in Vienna, which was destroyed in the 1950s and replaced by a horrible apartment building.
Between 1902 and 1916 he was a professor of wood carving at the Vienna Art School for Women and Girls.
About the three goddesses of Destiny
Both in the Nordic-German and in the Graeco-Roman mythology three goddesses of Destiny appear, which could actually be the subject of our painting:
- the three Norns in Norse mythology;
- the three Fates: the Greek Moirai or Roman Parcae.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because this magical subject dates from the key years of the Vienna Secession: it must have been painted one year before König painted his Beethoven frieze (in the hall next to Gustav Klimt in the Secession Building of Vienna), in a mix of Romanticism and Jugendstil (Art Nouveau).