For the first time, an exhibition examines the history of the branch on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse through paintings, drawings, furniture, jewellery and designobjects. The exhibition focuses on works by Josef Hoffmann, Ferdinand Hodler and Gustav Klimt as well as the creations of Dagobert Peche.

Unknown photographer, Front of the Wiener Werkstätte AG store, Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse 1, 1917, MAK - Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, photo © MAK
Ferdinand Hodler, Gaze into Infinity III, 1903, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, bought, 1994 photo © Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne / Nora Rupp
Ferdinand Hodler, The Kiental with Blümlisalp, 1902, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, deposited by the Gottfried Keller Foundation, Federal Office of Culture, Bern, 1940, photo © Sebastian Stadler 2014
Josef Hoffmann, Dagobert Peche, Armchair. Execution: Wiener Werkstätte, 1913, Ville de Genève, Musées d’art et d’histoire. Bought, 1961, photo © Musées d’art et d’histoire, Ville de Genève, Flora Bevilacqua
Dagobert Peche, Vitrine table for the Wiener Werkstätte store, Zurich. Execution: Wiener Werkstätte, 1917, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Kunstsammlung und Archiv, photo © Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien, Kunstsammlung und Archiv
Koloman Moser, Beaker. Manufacturer: Wiener Werkstätte, Vienna, 1906, MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, photo © MAK/Katrin Wisskirchen
Wiener Werkstätte, Edith Schiele’s evening shoes, 1912, Wiener Werkstätte, print design by Franz von Zülow: ‘Daffodils’ Albertina, Vienna, photo © Albertina, Vienna
Josef Hoffmann, Clasp. Manufacturer: Wiener Werkstätte, Vienna, 1905, MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, photo © MAK/Georg Mayer
Gustav Klimt, Judith I, 1901, from the portfolio ‘Das Werk Gustav Klimts’, Private collection
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Hermine Gallia, 1904, The National Gallery, London. Bought, 1976 photo © The National Gallery, London

A fresh view from a Viennese perspective


CHF 16.–/11.– (concessions and groups)
Free admission for members and children and young people under the age of 17. Tip : Senior (AHV) discounts every Wednesday
Due to the pandemic, the number of visitors is limited and waiting times may be expected. Time slot tickets are not available due to the uncertain situation and changing regulations.


Note for groups

We look forward to welcoming you to the Kunsthaus. For organizational reasons, prior registration is required., +41 44 253 84 84

The presentation includes some 160 exhibits. It is curated by Tobias G. Natter, former Director of the Leopold Museum in Vienna and author of the catalogues raisonnés of the paintings of Gustav Klimt (2012) and Egon Schiele (2017). The exhibition sheds new light, from a Viennese perspective, on Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918), who was at the time already seen as Switzerland’s ‘national artist’.

Of the artists Hodler met in Vienna, he reserved the greatest admiration for Gustav Klimt (1862–1918), and in particular ‘the decorative element’ of his art. Yet while known as a peerless exponent of colour, eroticism and ornament, Klimt was more than just the leading figure in Viennese Stilkunst. He played a pioneering role in breaking down the traditional distinction between the ‘high’ art of painting and sculpture and the ‘low’ form of applied art and championed a new definition of the artist: one which also embraced those able to ‘experience the work of art in emotional terms’.

Moritz Nähr, 19th exhibition of the Vienna Secession, interior view of the ‘Hodler gallery’, 1904, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien photo © ÖNB/Wien

Public guided tours

Take place on: 20.6. / 4.7. / 10.7. at 1 p.m. and 15.7. at 3 p.m.

Private guided tour

Group size: max. 15
Languages: German, English, French, Italian
Cost: admission to the exhibition (groupe rate) + CHF 190.– (German) / CHF 220.– (other languages), duration: 1 hour

Hodler and the 1904 Secession exhibition

When the Vienna Secession invited Ferdinand Hodler to take part in its 19th exhibition, it was to ‘enable a wider audience to appreciate Hodler’s greatness’. Its pioneering and ambitious aim was to demonstrate ‘that Ferdinand Hodler is not only the greatest Swiss artist, but one of the greatest ever’. Hodler was able to show all the main works he had completed up to that time. The response was overwhelming. The exhibition gave the Swiss painter everything an artist could hope for from the public: lavish praise, a good press, and important sales. Overall, the show in Vienna was a milestone in the reception of the artist, who was aged 51 at the time.

Jack Metzger, Hodler commemoration, around 1951, Metzger, Jack, Archive of the photographic agency Comet Photo AG ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Bildarchiv

Furniture from Hodler's last apartment

Towards the end of 1913 Ferdinand and Berthe Hodler moved into a luxurious apartment at Quai du Mont-Blanc 29 in Geneva. Josef Hoffmann was commissioned to design the reception rooms, and as well as creating the furniture he also altered architectural details of the apartment on Quai du Mont-Blanc. The exhibition at the Kunsthaus presents both the furniture and numerous utilitarian objects designed by Hoffmann for the Hodlers’ apartment, including a table clock, chandelier, flower stand, cupboards and seating.

Dagobert Peche, Design for ‘Perlthier’ (fantasy animal), around 1919, MAK - Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, photo © MAK

Dagobert Peche and the Wiener Werkstätte in Zurich

The exhibition underscores the importance of the Wiener Werkstätte as arguably Austria’s most important contribution to 20th-century design history, and reveal the breadth of its range, from the early, provocatively geometrical and abstract designs to the playful works of Dagobert Peche. A full-time employee of the Werkstätte from 1915 onwards, Peche ran its Zurich branch from its opening in 1917 until it closed in 1919. He designed the store on Bahnhofstrasse together with Josef Hoffmann and made bold new forays into product positioning. In Zurich, unconstrained by the wartime restrictions that were already starting to bite in Austria, he was able to give free rein to his creative imagination. Turning the ‘form follows function’ mantra on its head and elevating decoration over purpose, he accomplished the transition from Jugendstil to Art Déco, as the many designs created in Zurich that feature in the current exhibition vividly demonstrate.

With the generous support of the Walter B. Kielholz Foundation

Ill: Franz von Zülow, ‘Village rose’ fabric swatch, design 1910/11. Client: Wiener Werkstätte, 1910 to 1928; execution: Gustav Ziegler, Vienna; execution: anonymous, Zurich Silk, printed, plain weave MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, photo © MAK/Kristina Wissik

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