Alfred Roller, Plakat zur XIV. Ausstellung der Wiener Secession, 1902 © Leopold Museum, Wien, Foto: Leopold Museum, Wien/Manfred Thumberger

Alfred Roller, Poster for the 14th Exhibition at the Vienna Secession


The 14th Exhibition of the Vienna Secession taking place from 15 April to 27 June 1902 as a homage to Max Klinger’s Beethoven sculpture differs from contemporaneous activities venerating the composer in its inherent notion of a Gesamtkunstwerk. For the exhibition, Alfred Roller was commissioned to design the central part of the rear wall of Klinger’s Beethoven sculpture. Roller implemented a restrained design with stylised angels and the guiding theme of the “sinking night” that also formed the central motif for the exhibition poster. It is an allusion to Beethoven’s coming from the dark to the light, as well as to the sacralisation of the enthroned composer by way of the background featuring angels. The “sinking night” is also directly connected to the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which refers to the creator of the world: “Do you sense the creator, world? Seek Him above the starry canopy! Above stars must He dwell.”


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