Who’s Who in Graphic Design: Secession XIV, Beethoven

Secession XIV, Beethoven was created in 1902 as a poster for the 14th Vienna Secession Exhibition. The poster was made to promote the exhibition but also to honor Ludwig van Beethoven, as that was one of the main factors of that year’s exhibition. The promotion seemed to work because almost sixty-thousand people showed up to the event. This piece is perhaps one of Roller’s most famous and well-known, considering the large crowd that came to view his art as well as others, and also because it is among the first to come up when searching “Alfred Roller” on Google. Because of his status as president of the Secession in 1902 and his previous work on Ver Sacrum (a secessionist periodical), this piece is an exemplary rendering of the style that was emerging at the time. Art Nouveau style was all the rage among secessionists. Roller designed a woman in the same sort of style as his peers, and it has qualities of Gustav Klimt’s: “The Kiss” weaved into its design. The project is a lithograph, which means that the colors and designs were skillfully printed onto the poster medium. Lithographs were common during this time period, and many other artists who worked in this style used this medium. That is why most of the art of the Art Nouveau period looks cohesive despite the style varying slightly with each different artist.