|Years active||Late 19th and early 20th century|
|Country||Begun in France, concentrated in Germany and Austria|
|Major figures||Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Franz Stuck, Otto Eckmann, Gustav Klimt, Max Liebermann, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix|
|Influences||The French Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts secession and other Modernist art, including Art Nouveau, Dada, Impressionism, folk art native to the region and African and Asian art|
|Influenced||Later art movements, including the International Style, Bauhaus, and Art Deco|
In art history, secession refers to a historic break between a group of avant-garde artists and conservative European standard-bearers of academic and official art in the late 19th and early 20th century.  The name was first suggested by Georg Hirth (1841–1916),  the editor and publisher of the influential German art magazine Jugend (Youth), which also went on to lend its name to the Jugendstil . His word choice emphasized the tumultuous rejection of legacy art while it was being reimagined.   
Of the various secessions, the Vienna Secession (1897) remains the most influential. Led by Gustav Klimt, who favored the ornate Art Nouveau style over the prevailing styles of the time,  it was inspired by the Munich Secession (1892), and the nearly contemporaneous Berlin Secession (1898), all of which begot the term Sezessionstil, or "Secession style." 
Hans-Ulrich Simon later revisited that idea in Sezessionismus: Kunstgewerbe in literarischer und bildender Kunst, the thesis he published in 1976.  Simon argued that the successive waves of art secessions in the late 19th and early 20th century Europe collectively form a movement best described by the all-encompassing term "Secessionism."
By convention, the term is usually restricted to one of several secessions — mainly in Germany, but also in Austria and France — coinciding with the end of the Second Industrial Revolution,  World War I and early Weimar Germany. 
The first secession, known as the Salon du Champs-de-Mars (1890–present), is named after the 1791 Champ de Mars Massacre that saw dozens of civilians killed at the hands of the military, which radicalized the Paris citizenry – and the Salon's organizers were likely hoping for a similarly revolutionary effect.  Eager to curate their own work, Puvis de Chavannes and Auguste Rodin declared independence by forming a break-away group, which was a ground-breaking departure in a culture with salon traditions dating back to the early 1700s.  Unlike subsequent secessions, Chavannes' group sought higher standards and a more conservative approach, not a more liberal one.  Over the next several years, artists in various European countries followed in the Salon's footsteps, likewise "seceding" from traditional art movements and follow their own diktats. 
The Vienna Secession, founded in 1897, is the most famous of these groups. Although the Austrian Gustav Klimt is one of its most well-known members, the group also included Czech Alphonse Mucha, Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and the Polish artists Jozef Mehoffer, Jacek Malczewski and Stanislaw Wyspianski,  the latter of whom were invited to join the Secession in its opening year, as well as write for Ver Sacrum , the Secession magazine Klimt founded, which spread the influence of Art Nouveau.  Curvilinear geometric shapes and patterns of that period are typical of it. Artists reveled in the movement's broad visual vocabulary. Their work spanned the arts — painting, decor, architecture, graphic design, furniture, ceramics, glassware and jewelry — at times naturalistic, at times stylized. 
Founded in 1919, the Dresden Secession stands in contrast to the Vienna Secession. While the Viennese version is known for its beauty, Dresden's version is known for its politics and its post-expressionist rejection of romanticized aesthetics. The New Objectivist and German Expressionist styles of artists like Otto Dix and Conrad Felixmüller were hardened by the horrors of the First World War, and replete with criticism of Weimar Germany.    The Nazis would later condemn both artists.    Although the Dresden Secession officially dissolved in 1925, many of its artists continued pursuing careers into the 1930s and beyond, even while the Nazis began "cleansing" the culture of the Modernist art and artists they deemed offensive.  Their "purification" program included displacing Modernist art in Germany's museums with an earlier style of rigid Realism and an Apollonian "classical" style that glorified the Third Reich.    
In 1937, while planning a major exhibition of "pure" art, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, also conceived of a Degenerate Art Exhibition, which ultimately featured 650 works of art confiscated from 32 different museums – and then sold for profit.   "Degeneracy" was an entrenched policy by then, a useful way for Hitler, who twice failed to matriculate into art school, to routinely sanction other artists.   At that point, artists who could fled, those who couldn't were later deported to concentration camps.   Some, like Berlin Secessionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, committed suicide.  Still others collaborated.  
In 1945, the last year of World War II, the British and American bombing of (civilian) Dresden controversially left the city, an arts and cultural landmark, known for both the Dresden Secession and the turn-of-the-century Expressionist art movement Die Brücke , in ruins. 
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Paris (1890–present) — Known for its role in decisively ending the stranglehold the state had on the salon exhibition system, the rebel Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts formed in reaction to the Société des artists français.  The revolt led by Puvis de Chavannes, Ernest Meissonier, Carolus-Duran and Carrier-Belleuse helped radicalize the Central European art world.
Munich (1892–1938 and 1946–present) — Also known as the Association of Visual Artists of Munich, the Munich Secession formed in response to stifling conservatism from the Munich Artists' Association, the Academy of Fine Arts and, most notably, the art foundation dedicated to history painting in service to the state, known as Prinzregent-Luitpold-Stiftung zur Förderung der Kunst, des Kunstgewerbes und des Handwerks in München.  Key figures in the movement included Bernhard Buttersack, Ludwig Dill, Bruno Piglhein, Ludwig von Herterich, Paul Hoecker, Albert von Keller, Gotthardt Kuehl, Hugo von Habermann, Robert Poetzelberger, Franz von Stuck, Fritz von Uhde and Heinrich von Zügel.  They are best known for a breakout exhibition after seeking economic and artistic self-determination, which included forming a cooperative.  Although the group was dissolved amid the Nazi art purges, they were re-established in 1946, and celebrated their centennial in 1992. 
Munich, Weimar and Germany's Darmstadt Artists' Colony (1895–1910) — They were formed to resist the official and academic emphasis on historicism and neoclassicism in art, while instead pursuing a perfect blend of fine and applied arts. Jugendstil design often included the "floral motifs, arabesques, and organically inspired lines" of the Vienna Secession.  Its practical edge, however, was wholly its own, as it matched designers with "industrialists for mass production to disseminate products." That practicality undoubtedly influenced its increasing abstraction and interest in functionality, initially showcased in the illustrations and graphic design of its best-known designer Otto Eckmann in magazines like Jugend and Simpicissimus and Pan .   Like its Viennese counterpart, artists like Hermann Obrist, Henry van de Velde, Bernhard Pankok and Richard Riemerschmid also produced architecture, furniture, and ceramics. But unlike Vienna, it diverged sufficiently to provide the foundations for Bauhaus. "Principles of standardization of materials, design, and production" that, for example, architect Peter Behrens pioneered in pursuit of Gesamtkunstwerk (a complete work of art) were later passed on to his three most famous students: Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius. 
Vienna (1897–1905) — The most famous secession was the Vienna Secession formed in reaction to the Association of Austrian Artists. Leading figures included Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser and Otto Wagner. They are known for their painting, furniture, glass and ceramics, as well as the Secession Building the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich's designed in Vienna, and the magazine Ver Sacrum, founded by Klimt.
Berlin (1899–1913) — The Berlin Secession formed in reaction to the Association of Berlin Artists, and the restrictions on contemporary art imposed by Kaiser Wilhelm II, 65 artists "seceded" to create and exhibit new work, sometimes linked by terms like "Berlin Impressionism," or "German Post-Impressionism," in both cases reflecting the influence of French Impressionism, which had spread internationally.  They are also known for their conceptual art, as well as an internal split in the group which led to the formation of a New Secession (1910–1914). Key figures included Walter Leistikow, Franz Skarbina, Max Liebermann, Hermann Struck, and the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.   
Cologne (1909–1916) — Also known as the "Sonderbund" or the "Separate League of West German Art Lovers and Artists," the Sonderbund westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler was known for its landmark exhibitions introducing French Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Modernism to Germany.  Its 1912 show aimed to organize "the most disputed paintings of our time," and was later credited for helping develop a German version of Expressionism while also presenting the most significant exhibition of European Modernism prior to World War I."  The following year, in fact, it inspired a similar show in New York.  Artists associated with the group included Julius Bretz, Max Clarenbach, August Deusser, Walter Ophey, Ernst Osthaus, Egon Schiele, Wilhelm Schmurr, Alfred Sohn-Rethel, Karli Sohn-Rethel and Otto Sohn-Rethel, along with collectors and curators of art. 
Dresden (1919–1925) — Formed in reaction to the oppression of post World War I and the rise of the Weimar Republic, Otto Schubert, Conrad Felixmüller and Otto Dix are considered key figures in the Dresden Secession. They are known for a highly accomplished form of German Expressionism that was later labeled "Degenerate" by the Nazis.
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Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix was a German painter and printmaker, noted for his ruthless and harshly realistic depictions of German society during the Weimar Republic and the brutality of war. Along with George Grosz and Max Beckmann, he is widely considered one of the most important artists of the Neue Sachlichkeit.
Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorative arts. The style is known by different names in different languages: Jugendstil in German, Stile Liberty in Italian, Modernisme in Catalan, and also known as the Modern Style in English. It was popular between 1890 and 1910 during the Belle Époque period, and was a reaction against the academic art, eclecticism and historicism of 19th century architecture and decoration. It was often inspired by natural forms such as the sinuous curves of plants and flowers. Other characteristics of Art Nouveau were a sense of dynamism and movement, often given by asymmetry or whiplash lines, and the use of modern materials, particularly iron, glass, ceramics and later concrete, to create unusual forms and larger open spaces.
Jugendstil was an artistic movement, particularly in the decorative arts, that was influential primarily in Germany and elsewhere in Europe to a lesser extent from about 1895 until about 1910. It was the German counterpart of Art Nouveau. The members of the movement were reacting against the historicism and neo-classicism of the official art and architecture academies. It took its name from the art journal Jugend, founded by the German artist Georg Hirth. It was especially active in the graphic arts and interior decoration.
The Neue Galerie New York is a museum of early twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design located in the William Starr Miller House at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. Established in 2001, it is one of the most recent additions to New York City's famed Museum Mile, which runs from 83rd to 105th streets on Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The Vienna Secession is an art movement, closely related to Art Nouveau, that was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian painters, graphic artists, sculptors and architects, including Josef Hoffman, Koloman Moser, Otto Wagner and Gustav Klimt. They resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists in protest against its support for more traditional artistic styles. Their most influential architectural work was the Secession Building designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich as a venue for expositions of the group. Their official magazine was called Ver Sacrum, which published highly stylised and influential works of graphic art. In 1905 the group itself split, when some of the most prominent members, including Klimt, Wagner, and Hoffmann, resigned in a dispute over priorities, but it continued to function, and still functions today, from its headquarters in the Secession Building. In its current form, the Secession exhibition gallery is independently led and managed by artists.
Otto Müller was a German painter and printmaker of the Die Brücke expressionist movement.
Koloman Moser was an Austrian artist who exerted considerable influence on twentieth-century graphic art. He was one of the foremost artists of the Vienna Secession movement and a co-founder of Wiener Werkstätte.
Bruno Paul was a German architect, illustrator, interior designer, and furniture designer.
The Berlin Secession was an art movement established in Germany on May 2, 1898. Formed in reaction to the Association of Berlin Artists, and the restrictions on contemporary art imposed by Kaiser Wilhelm II, 65 artists "seceded," demonstrating against the standards of academic or government-endorsed art. The movement is classified as a form of German Modernism, and came on the heels of several other secessions in Germany, including Jugendstil and the Munich Secession.
A Kunstgewerbeschule was a type of vocational arts school that existed in German-speaking countries from the mid-19th century. The term Werkkunstschule was also used for these schools. From the 1920s and after World War II, most of them either merged into universities or closed, although some continued until the 1970s.
Jugend (1896–1940) was an influential German arts magazine. Founded in Munich by Georg Hirth who edited it until his death in 1916, the weekly was originally intended to showcase German Arts and Crafts, but became famous for showcasing the German version of Art Nouveau instead. It was also famed for its "shockingly brilliant covers and radical editorial tone" and for its avant-garde influence on German arts and culture for decades, ultimately launching the eponymous Jugendstil movement in Munich, Weimar and Germany's Darmstadt Artists' Colony.
Erwin Puchinger was a Viennese painter, illustrator, industrial designer and graphic artist. He was an influential figure in Viennese art in the fin-de-siecle. Puchinger was a part of the Austrian Jugendstil and Gesamtkunstwerk movements, which sought to erase the boundaries between fine art and applied art. Puchinger worked in London, Prague and Paris as well as Vienna and collaborated with other major figures in Viennese art and design such as Ernst and Gustav Klimt and Otto Prutscher. He was a respected art professor at the Graphic Arts Institute, where he taught for more than thirty years. His work was also part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Josef Maria Auchentaller was an Austrian painter, draftsman, and printmaker associated with the Vienna Secession and the Art Nouveau style.
Maximilian Albert Josef Liebenwein was an Austrian-German painter, graphic artist and book illustrator, in the Impressionist and Art Nouveau styles. He spent significant time in Vienna, Munich and Burghausen, Altötting, and took an active part in the artistic community in all three places. He was an important member of the Vienna Secession, becoming its vice-president, and exhibiting with the group many times.
Richard Alfred Eugen Jettel was an Austrian painter, producing mainly landscapes. He studied at the Vienna Academy and moved to Paris in 1873, before moving back to Vienna in 1897 and serving as a co-founder of the Vienna Secession. He was made a Knight of the Légion d'honneur in 1898.
Rudolf Otto von Ottenfeld was an Austrian military painter, a founding member of the Vienna Secession and a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague.
Felician Myrbach was an Austrian painter, graphic designer and illustrator. He was a founding member of the Vienna Secession and the director of the Applied Arts School in Vienna, and was instrumental in the creation of the Wiener Werkstätte.
Maximilian Lenz was an Austrian painter, graphic artist and sculptor. Lenz was a founding member of the Vienna Secession; during his career's most important period, he was a Symbolist, but later his work became increasingly naturalistic. He worked in a variety of media, including oils, watercolours, lithography and metal reliefs.
The Munich Secession was an association of visual artists who broke away from the mainstream Munich Artists' Association in 1892, to promote and defend their art in the face of what they considered official paternalism and its conservative policies. They acted as a form of cooperative, using their influence to assure their economic survival and obtain commissions. In 1901, the association split again when some dissatisfied members formed the group Phalanx. Another split occurred in 1913, with the founding of the New Munich Secession.
Friedrich König was an Austrian painter, illustrator and designer.