MAK (Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art), AU

The MAK, founded as the Royal and Imperial Austrian Museum of Art and Industry in 1863, is a museum and space of experimentation for applied arts at the interface of design, architecture, and contemporary art. Its core competence lies in a contemporary exploration of these fields aimed at revealing new perspectives and elucidating discourse at the edges of the institution's traditions. It pursues new approaches to its extensive collection, which encompasses various epochs, materials, and artistic disciplines by combining it with contemporary art in order to produce a dialog that constantly reexamines the various frontiers between the applied and fine arts.
The MAK’s substantial national and international holdings from the Art Nouveau period, covering all materials, are of particular significance. The MAK Collection includes fine turn-of-the-century glass works from Austria as well as from the various regions of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy, from France and from America, numerous Art Nouveau ceramic and metal objects, and a comprehensive documentation of textile production around 1900, intended for use in fashion design and interior decorating. Together with simple and practical utilitarian furniture from this period and a widely recognized collection of bentwood furniture, the MAK is able to cover a considerably broad and multifaceted spectrum of Art Nouveau artistic production and—with works by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Gustav Klimt, Ernst Stöhr, or Carl Moll—illustrate the creative output of the Vienna Secession with all its international influences on a high level.
Being in possession of the Wiener Werkstätte Archive, the MAK is in the unique position to document this association’s history and significance. The Archive contains around 16,000 design sketches and around 20,000 fabric designs, as well as posters, designs for postcards, model books, photo albums, and pieces of business correspondence. These valuable holdings facilitate the understanding of design processes and show impressively how members of the Viennese avant-garde marketed modern brand-name design with their characteristic corporate identity, an identity which was refined down to the very last detail. The MAK is also home to the world’s largest museum collection of Wiener Werkstätte objects, covering its entire productive period (1903 to 1932).
One of the highlights of the MAK’s collection is Gustav Klimt’s nine-part sketch for the mosaic frieze for the dining room of Josef Hoffmann’s Stoclet House in Brussels. Stoclet House is regarded as a major work of the Wiener Werkstätte circle, and the final result symbolizes most clearly the utopia of the Gesamtkunstwerk or total work of art. Moreover, the Seven Princesses frieze by Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, who is considered to be the leading female artist of the Art Nouveau period, is presented at the MAK.
Considerable parts of the MAK’s collection have already been made accessible to the public at The permanent expansion of this online collection is currently one of the major objectives at the MAK.

Role in the Partage Plus project: In the scope of the project MAK will digitize 1200 Art Nouveau objects made from metal, 1500 graphic works, 900 glass and ceramic objects from the former Austro-Hungarian territory, France, Germany and America, 750 Art Nouveau textile patterns and 250 wooden objects.