On the occasion of his 130th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his death, the MAK has dedicated to the artist and master
of diversity Franz von Zülow (15 March 1883 26 February 1963) an exhibition that provides a first-ever look at
his creative output.
Inspired by the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, the Vienna Secession, and the Wiener Werkstätte, and under the lifelong
influence of rural impressions, Franz von Zülow gave rise to a comprehensive oeuvre characterized by an unmistakably individual
style. It was quite early on that, in addition to painting and graphic art, he discovered the broad field of arts and crafts.
Alongside watercolors and oil paintings, therefore, his output also encompassed designs for fabrics and ceramics as well as
furniture decoration and frescos. Zülows style is most clearly evident in wallpaper, pictorial broadsheets, and wall decorations. New graphic techniques
and interior decorating concepts were just as much the products of Franz von Zülows enthusiasm for experimentation as
they were of is interest in foreign cultures, above all that of Japan, which influenced him as well as many of his colleagues.
1903 saw him adapt the Asian technique of katagami (stencil-based textile dying) to create a printing process that, in 1907,
he had patented as paper-cut printing. In 1947, having reached the zenith of his success, von Zülow authored his
Malfibel, a compilation of techniques for decorating objects of daily use that Zülow deemed most important as examples to
be followed. Throughout his creative career, which was characterized above all by graphic art, Zülow repeatedly created works
for children. These included watercolors reminiscent of theater scenery, diorama-like carousel picture books, and paper toys
and puppet theaters.
Thanks to the museums ability to directly access the artists entire estate, this exhibition includes objects that
have never before been see by the public. The presentation concentrates above all on this Austrian painter and graphic artists
works on paper, while also emphasizing graphic works and creations that are frequently quite intricate and/or fall into the
category of arts and crafts as well as large and elaborately folded paper objects. The point is to direct attention toward
Franz von Zülows inexhaustible creative abilities by focusing exclusively on his work with one single carrier medium
(paper), as well as to show the new understanding of stylistic consciousness and formal will that stemmed from his fascination
with non-European cultures.
Zülows Monatshefte, hand-painted periodicals that he published in very small print runs and to which figures including
Josef Hoffmann, Gustav Klimt, and Egon Schiele subscribed, are featured as clear examples of his Jugendstil-derived decorative
planar art, which he combined with folk art influences. There is also a selection examples documenting Franz von Zülow
artistic development; despite his turn to applied art, Zülow is by no means to be categorized simply as an applied artist,
since he spent his entire life oscillating around the very core of art as manifested in the quality of the decorative.
Curator Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, Head of Library and Works on Paper Collection
This exhibition is accompanied by a publication as part of the MAK Studies series: FRANZ VON ZÜLOW. Paper, edited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, with texts by by Roland Girtler, Friedrich C. Heller,
Peter Klinger, Gerd Pichler, Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, and Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg, 2013,
144 pages, available at the MAK Design Shop, 24.
Expert guided tour
Thu, 28.11.2013, 5 p.m. Expert guided tour through the exhibition with Kathrin Pokorny-Nagel, head of the MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection
The MAK Library and Works on Paper Collection is one of the largest and oldest museum libraries with a focus on applied art.
Alongside classic library functions, the collection is also devoted to artistic aspects of the pictorial in all possible variants
as well as to the initiation of a reappraisal of art production manifested in paper form.