Moser Poster: (69 × 23 inches [1.75 × 0.6m]) Museum of Design, Zurich, Poster Collection; Photographer: Franz Xaver Jaggy

And yet, was Moser so ignorant or dismissive of his audience and his poster’s function? Perhaps not. It seems likely he could assume his Viennese public’s familiarity with the prominent and distinctive Secession Building designed by architect Josef Olbrich and completed in 1898. The building’s oft-quoted motto (“to every time its art, to every art its freedom”) announces its modernity—and its façade also renders Moser’s poster legible. The poster makes repeated and direct references to the location of the Secession exhibition, ...

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