In the 1890s in Prague, as in Munich, Vienna and Berlin, the work of young artists developed as a "secession" from traditional artistic structures. Its main task was to promote new modern art. The Mánes Artists' Association became the nucleus of these artists and in 1896 began publishing its own periodical. From 1898, when it premiered its first exhibitions, it was already an unmistakable representative of Czech art. The main inspiration for the Mánes group was contemporary France and its Art Noveau, but the young Czech artists looked were surprisingly international in their tastes.
This book traces Czech Secessionist art as the gradual division into three main programmatic trends: the naturalistic-impressionistic, symbolist, and ornamental-decorative styles. They were realized separately, but their symbiotic relationship gives Secessionist art a deeper artistic significance and disrupts the general understanding of Art Nouveau and Secessionist art as an eclectic decorative style that faded away at the beginning of the 20th century.