Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design and Modern Life in Vienna 1900: Room guide, The Villa Henneberg

Gustav Klimt Portrait of Marie Henneberg 1901-2
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Gustav Klimt installation view at Tate Liverpool 2008
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The Villa Henneberg

The earliest instance of cooperation between Josef Hoffmann and Gustav Klimt in the creation of a domestic setting is to be found in the large hall of the villa built for the photographer Hugo Henneberg (1863–1918). The villa is one of a group of four artists’ residences, designed by Hoffmann, built on the Hohe Warte, a semi-rural plateau on the outskirts of Vienna.

Hoffmann’s design for the double-height hall of the Villa Henneberg was developed with Klimt’s commissioned portrait of Henneberg’s wife Marie in mind, its intended setting influencing the painting’s unusual square format (seldom used by Klimt for subjects other than landscape).

The four villas – built for Carl Moll, Koloman Moser, Henneberg and another photographer, Friedrich Viktor Spitzer as an artists’ colony – signal the emergence around 1900 of Hoffmann’s independent and unmistakeable style, creating buildings where ‘the exterior is one with the interior’. The buildings had many features in common such as brick wall construction, white roughcast facing and views over the Vienna Woods. Their interiors while more diverse and suited in each case to the requirements of the client, reveal an overall preference for simple rectilinear shapes and occasional black and white schemes as in the guest room of the Moser villa presented here.

It is to Carl Moll that we owe our most vivid notion of domestic life there. The painted record, shown here, of Moll’s own villa reveals Hoffmann’s striking use of colour, the careful muting and distribution of light, as well as the extension of living space onto terraces and into gardens.

Works on display

  • Koloman Moser Cabinet from the Salon of Marie Henneberg 1902
  • Carl Moll Hohe Warte 1903
  • Carl Moll My Living Room (Anna Moll at the Desk) 1903
  • Gustav Klimt Portrait of Marie Henneberg 1901–2
  • Gustav Klimt Portrait of Marie Moll c.1902
  • Carl Moll Self Portrait 1906
  • Carl Moll Terrace of the Villa Moll c.1903
  • Carl Moll The Artists’ House on the Hohen Warte 1905
  • Koloman Moser The Guest-Room of the Villa on Hohe Warte 1901
  • Three Wiener Werkstätte Presentation Books 1903