Good Living Street

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-11-15
  • Publisher: Pantheon
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Not since the publication of Carl Schorske’s Fin-De-Si cle Vienna has a book so brilliantly given us a close-up portrait of turn-of-the-century Vienna, as seen through the lives of an eminent family, the Gallias, among the city’s great patrons of the early twentieth century: their upper-class life; their rarefied collections of art and design; their religious life; and their daring flight from the Nazi Anschluss. Tim Bonyhady, great-grandson of the Gallias, tells the story of the family’s middle-class prosperity from the provinces of Central Europe where they grew up to their arrival in Vienna, following the emperor’s proclamation that Jews had freedom of movement and residence, and shows how for the next two decades, the Vienna that became theirs was at the center of art, music, and ideas in all of Europe. We see the amassing of the Gallias’ rarefied collections of art; their cosmopolitan society; and how, as Kristallnacht was raging, the family escaped to Australia and took with them the best private collection intact of modernist art and design. An extraordinary portrait of a time and place.


“Most Viennese in 1900 came from somewhere else. Vienna became the third most populous European city after London and Paris.
“Moriz and Hermine Gallia were among the provincials who flocked there from across the Hapsburg Empire. Moriz came from southern Moravia; Hermine from southern Silesia. They were part of Vienna’s extraordinary transformation in fifty years from a city almost without Jews to the most Jewish city in western Europe.
“The Gallias had appeared in books and catalogs about art and design as patrons of Klimt and Hoffmann, but they were also in the literature about what made Vienna one of the intellectual and cultural centers of the early twentieth century. The Gallias were part of the argument about whether it was Jews and Jewish converts to Christianity who gave Vienna a cultural significance it had not achieved before or since.
“When I began this book, I had little idea of what was in my mother’s cupboards. It had not occurred to me that she might have correspondence linking the Gallias and the Mahlers. My stints in the library and with her papers began to illuminate the place of the Gallias in turn-of-the-century Vienna. For all I found, nothing equaled my mother’s cupboards, which contained much more than I realized. The abundance of the material was about how the Gallias lived in Vienna in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It took me deeper into the past than I ever thought possible. . . .”

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