More Than Coffee Was Served: Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner... Gentleman with Lap Dog at the Café (1911, Colored woodcut on paper, Private collection). From the exhibition More Than Coffee Was Served: Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany, September 19 - November 25, 2006 at Galerie St. Etienne in New York, NY. Our favourite gallery in NYC. "...The café and its evening offshoot, the cabaret, have come to assume near-legendary status in the history of European modernism. While the first European cafés date back to the mid-seventeenth century, industrialization and the growth of bourgeois capitalism in the nineteenth century transformed these once humble institutions into grand establishments in which members of an increasingly diverse society could meet, not just to drink coffee, but to read, write, play cards, chess or billiards and to discuss the burning issues of the day. The café thus helped establish the public face of 'bohemia': that self-selected cadre of intellectuals whose mission in life was to oppose and undermine the philistine values of their elders. Paris, which gave us the word 'café,' was in some respects the birthplace of café and cabaret society, but the Viennese paradigm of the Kaffeehaus was equally important, especially in Central Europe."