In this thesis I explore the importance of elite women in early twentieth-century Vienna in relation to the Wiener Werkstätte. My research has led me to believe that the Werkstätte held a more egalitarian view of women than other contemporary European applied arts workshops. Unfortunately the art-historical canon has generally overlooked the applied arts of the Wiener Werkstätte, as well as the significant roles of women in the Werkstätte as artists, clients, patrons, and promoters. In this thesis, I consider cases of women in these roles in early twentieth-century Vienna in order to gain a greater understanding of Viennese women's place economically and politically, as well as socially and culturally. In particular, I examine the Werkstätte's primary records of sales and production (called model books), housed in the Wiener Werkstätte archives at the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, as a means to better understanding their participation. The evidence of the importance of women in relation to the Wiener Werkstätte, includes: 1) the creation of new opportunities for women in the arts; 2) the emergence and popularity of a liberating reformed fashion; 3) the focus of the Werkstätte on creating objects that would appeal to a female clientele; and 4) the Werkstätte's success, particularly among prominent wealthy female art patrons. I conclude that women's roles as artists, clients, patrons, and promoters can be seen as positions of empowerment for Viennese women of the early twentieth century.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Visual Arts



Date Submitted


Document Type





Vienna, Wiener Werkstätte, fin-de-siècle, twentieth century, women, applied arts

Included in

Art Practice Commons