Life and influence

Writings

Das Andere

Front covers of 'Das Andere', 1903 

 

Loos's polemical writings brought his views to a wider public and were to have a lasting impact. They showed Loos's admiration for the culture of Britain and America and the influence of his time in the United States between 1893 and 1896. It was upon his return from America when Loos began to write many articles, bringing together the modern elements of Anglo-Saxon way of life he so admired and rallying against the fashions and cultural backwardness of Austria. As well as his own writings, Loos was part of an intellectual circle in Vienna that included writers Peter Altenberg and Karl Kraus amongst others.

His magazine, Das Andere, which ran for just two issues, came out in 1903 and featured advertisements for 'typically' English clothing. The articles in this short-lived publication reflected Loos's concern to bring the Anglo-Saxon culture to Vienna.

His writings were sometimes thinly veiled attacks on others with whom he disagreed with, such as members of the Vienna Secession through his essay 'The Poor Little Rich Man'. This was an imagined story of a man's life made miserable and his house rendered unliveable by the excess of applied art created for him by his architect. As the Secession gained acceptance and influence, Loos published this essay as part of an anthology called 'Spoken into the Void' in 1900.

Loos's argument develops further in his most famous article, 'Ornament and Crime', which appeared in 1908 along with other articles where he comments on the state of contemporary culture. He attacks superficial ornamentation as wasteful and a sign of primitiveness that was holding back the development of humanity. His belief that excess decoration could be replaced by the use of fine materials and craftsmanship is evidenced in his built work which was to bring him more public attention.

 

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