Vienna, Austria is a destination like no other. A walk through the streets reveals stunning architecture that hints at the beauty found behind every door. Like Paris, there’s a particular attention paid to aesthetics here. This appreciation stems from Vienna‘s tradition of intellectualism, where the arts have historically been of greatest importance in the culture — after all, this was the home of Mozart and Beethoven.

There are two distinct moments that changed the evolution of art in Vienna. One was the Vienna Secession, a movement started in 1897 formed by painters, sculptors, and architects, who objected to the emphasis on tradition and nationalism within the Association of Austrian Artists (who were housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus) and resigned from the organization. With Gustav Klimt as the first president of the Secession, the group held exhibitions that became the first dedicated spaces to contemporary art in the city. Visitors to the exhibitions were also exposed to international artists and movements they wouldn’t normally get to see, like French Impressionism.

Among the members of the Vienna Secession was Josef Hoffman, who would go on to establish the Wiener Werkstätte movement with Koloman Moser a few years later in 1903. Wiener Werkstätte translates to the “Vienna Workshop” — which is precisely what it was. This community of visual artists produced ceramics, fashion, furniture, silver, graphic arts, and more, ushering in an era of modern design. The designs created here would go on to influence later aesthetic movements like the Bauhaus and Art Deco.

Another strong influence in Vienna‘s aesthetic tradition was architect Adolf Loos, who briefly associated with the Vienna Secession. However, he rejected and left the movement in order to pursue his own distinctive architectural style. This style was informed by his world travels, but was built on his own theories on ornamentation. Namely, he advocated architecture that was largely unadorned, and interiors that made full use of the entire floor plan.

Inspired by these movements — and the Neue Galerie installation of Austrian Masterworks — we’re taking a look at furniture and accessories currently for sale at Sotheby’s Home with an Austrian origin or influence.

Why we love it: Sleek and shapely, this Austrian Biedermeier period settee features pierced splat arms and black upholstery. Solid fruitwood, rolled bolster pillows, and parcel ebonized highlights ensure this eye-catching settee is every bit as comfortable as it is stylish.
Biedermeier Round Center Table
Why we love it: This commanding round center table is composed of fruitwood and features a book-matched banded tabletop. An ebony highlighted apron and giltwood finial give this eye-catching center table an elegant finish.
Vintage Stainless Steel and Leather Humidor
Why we love it: Wrapped in leather with visible stitching, this vintage brushed stainless steel humidor and cigarette case is in the manner of Carl Aubock and Jacques Adnet.
Hagenauer Werkstatte Sailboat
Why we love it: Austrian design workshop Hagenauer Werkstätte is known for its handcrafted décor items that boast a modern charm. This sailboat sculpture is a distinctive vintage accent piece that can instantly elevate any mid-century modern setting.
Biedermeier Cylinder Roll Top Secretary Cabinet
Why we love it: This stunning storage piece features a ribbon mahogany veneer with ebonized elements and a polished finish. Several hidden compartments and three large drawers ensure this eye-catching fitted desk cabinet is every bit as storage savvy as it is stylish.
Biedermeier Upholstered Scrollwork Lounge Chair
Why we love it: Bring a dash of European simplicity to your living room or office with this lounge chair. A gorgeous scrolled headrest sits atop curved legs.

Shop more Viennese-inspired pieces on Sotheby’s Home

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