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In art history, secession refers to an historic break between a group of avant-garde artists and conservative European standard-bearers of academic and official art in the late 19th and early 20th century. The term was almost certainly inspired by the history of annexation, secession and dissolution in the city-states of Central Europe, prior to the late 1800s. The name was first suggested by Georg Hirth (1841–1916), the editor and publisher of the influential German art magazine Jugend (Youth), which also went on to lend its name to the Jugendstil. His word choice emphasized the tumultuous rejection of legacy art while it's being reimagined.



Of the various secessions, the Vienna Secession (1897) remains the most influential. Led by Gustav Klimt, who favored the ornate Art Nouveau style over the prevailing styles of the time, it was inspired by the Munich Secession (1892), and the nearly contemporaneous Berlin Secession (1898), all of which begot the term Sezessionstil, or "Secession style."
Hans-Ulrich Simon later revisited that idea in Sezessionismus: Kunstgewerbe in literarischer und bildender Kunst, the thesis he published in 1976. Simon argued that the successive waves of art secessions in the late 19th and early 20th century Europe collectively form a movement best described by the all-encompassing term "Secessionism."
By convention, the term is usually restricted to one of several secessions — mainly in Germany, but also in Austria and France — coinciding with the end of the Second Industrial Revolution, World War I and early Weimar Germany.




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