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Originally published in German as Wien 1900: Kunst und Kulturby editor Brandstätter's (Klimt & Fashion) own publishing house, this heavily illustrated collection of brief, translated essays by German and Austrian scholars provides a thorough survey of Viennese art and design, architecture, and--to a lesser extent--theater, literature, music, philosophy, and medicine (particularly psychoanalysis). The essays are generally succinct, clear, and to the point, and the more than 500 color and black-and-white illustrations, although small, are well chosen and feature many uncommon objects and archival photographs. For a more shaped view of that time and place and a deeper take on the culture as a whole, Carl E. Schorske's Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture(Knopf, 1980) remains an excellent place to start for the English reader, while Kirk Varnedoe's Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture & Design(MoMA, 1986), having defined much of our current understanding of this period, also continues to be of great value. That said, Brandstätter's book--attractive and highly manageable as it is (it's an octavo)--is recommended for all art collections.
—Jack Perry Brown