The Munich Secession (German: Münchner Sezession) was an art association founded in 1892 by artists leaving the official Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, in protest against its conservative teaching methods. The group was based in Munich, and later had a major impact on development of modern art in both Germany and Austria, particularly expressionism and other styles of avant-garde art. Some of the artists involved were Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Paul Klee, Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde.
The group was founded on April 3, 1892 by a number of artists who had recently resigned from the official Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. The key motivating factor for their resignation was the Academy’s requirement that its students produce traditional academic art, which the artists saw as constraining and stifling their creativity. The founders of the Secession were not opposed to academic art as such, but rather to what they saw as the excessively rigid and conservative teaching methods of the Academy. In addition, the Academy’s policy of imposing strict censorship on students’ work meant that their own artistic visions could not be fully expressed.
The Secessionists argued that by freeing artists from the constraints of the Academy, they would be able to develop their own unique styles and visions. They believed that this would lead to a more vibrant and exciting art scene in Munich, and ultimately to a better understanding and appreciation of art by the general public.
The group’s first exhibition, which opened on May 17, 1892, featured works by Max Klinger, Arnold Böcklin, Auguste Rodin, and other prominent artists. It was an immediate success, and within a few weeks had attracted over 42,000 visitors. This initial success was followed by a series of other highly successful exhibitions, which firmly established the Secession as a leading force in the Munich art world.
In the years that followed, the Secessionists continued to produce innovative and exciting exhibitions, which had a significant impact on the development of modern art in Germany and Austria. Many of the artists associated with the group, such as Kandinsky, Marc, Klee, and Nolde, went on to become major figures in the world of modern art. The Secession was dissolved in 1913, but its legacy continues to this day.