Othmar Schimkowitz

Othmar Schimkowitz, around 1900
© Wien Museum

Signet by Othmar Schimkowitz on the occasion of the XIV Secession Exhibition (Klinger-Beethoven), in: Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs Secession (Hg.): XIV. Ausstellung der Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs Secession. Klinger Beethoven, Ausst.-Kat., Secession (Vienna), 15.04.1902–15.06.1902, Vienna 1902.
© Bibliothek des Belvedere, Wien

A distinguished fine art and architectural sculptor, Othmar Schimkowitz was a long-standing member of the Association of Austrian Artists Secession, as whose president he served from 1929 to 1930.

Othmar Schimkowitz, born in Hungary in 1864, studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts between 1886 and 1892, where he attended the specialized classes of sculptors Edmund Hellmer and Carl Kundmann. After completing his studies, he worked in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia for several years.

Schimkowitz and the Vienna Secession

In 1895 the sculptor returned to Europe, opened his own studio in Vienna, and after a few years joined the Association of Austrian Artists Secession. In 1898, the Secessionists officially admitted him as a full member in the third issue of their magazine Ver Sacrum. In the preceding issue, mention had been made of Schimkowitz’s prize-winning, albeit unrealized, competition design for the envisaged Gutenberg monument in Vienna.

Othmar Schimkowitz, who, among other things, designed the decorative sculptural elements for the entrance portal of the Vienna Secession’s newly erected exhibition building, did not join the progressive Klimt Group in 1905, but chose to remain a member of the association until 1939. He was also appointed president of the Vienna Secession in 1929/30.

An Architectural Sculptor for Vienna

Around the turn of the century, Othmar Schimkowitz became one of the most sought-after architectural sculptors in Vienna. He worked closely with the architects Ludwig Baumann and Otto Wagner for several years. The latter entrusted him with the design of the famous figures for the façades of the Steinhof Church and the Postal Savings Bank in downtown Vienna.

Further Professional Milestones

Between 1914 and 1934, Schimkowitz taught “sculptural design and model making” at the Vienna University of Technology. The sculptor became a member of the Cooperative of Visual Artists in Vienna (Künstlerhaus) in 1939. He died in Styria in 1947.

Literature and sources

  • Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs Secession (Hg.): Ver Sacrum. Organ der Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs, 1. Jg., Heft 2 (1898), S. 2-3.
  • Felix Czeike (Hg.): Historisches Lexikon Wien, Band 4, Vienna 1995, S. 87-88.
  • Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs Secession (Hg.): Katalog der II. Kunst-Ausstellung der Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs, Ausst.-Kat., Secession (Vienna), 12.11.1898–28.12.1898, Vienna 1898, S. 15.
  • Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Hg.): Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950, Band 10, Vienna 1991.
  • Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs Secession (Hg.): Ver Sacrum. Organ der Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs, 1. Jg., Heft 3 (1898), S. 23.
  • Andreas Beyer, Bénédicte Savoy, Wolf Tegethoff (Hg.): Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon. Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, Band CI, New York - Berlin 2018, S. 502.
  • Hans Vollmer (Hg.): Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Begründet von Ulrich Thieme und Felix Becker, Band XXX, Leipzig 1936, S. 72.