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Detail of an embroidered cloth, presumed Romanian, 19th century

Austrian Folklore Museum

Dazzling embroideries, delicate laces, fine braids, fabrics with Art Nouveau ornamentation – the majority of the pieces in the extensive collection of textiles assembled by fashion designer – and Gustav Klimt’s muse and partner – Emilie Flöge (1874–1952) come from Southeastern Europe.

Detail of an embroidered edge, presumed Romanian, 19th century Detail of an embroidered edge, presumed Romanian, 19th century

The Austrian Folklore Museum was able to acquire 350 of these objects in 1998 from the Flöge estate. These will go on show to the public for the first time from May to October 2012 and will be presented against the backdrop of the discovery and invention of folk art around 1900. Comparative non-textile exhibits will help to present the fabrics in their wider historical context.

The urban bourgeoisie took a very strong interest in rural handicrafts at the end of the 19th century. Only as people began to collect examples of this decorative, yet primitive and traditional art, did its artistic and aesthetic merits come to be appreciated, and ultimately influence the stylistic development of Austrian art nouveau.

Klimt's famous portrait of Emilie Flöge - completed in 1902 - is on show at the Wien Museum. In 1904 Flöge and her sister Helene opened the Schwestern Flöge haute couture salon on Vienna's Mariahilfer Strasse. Here they presented designer clothes based on the fashions of the Wiener Werkstätte. The interior of the salon was designed in the art Nouveau style by Josef Hoffmann. Helen and Emilie Flöge were famous for their "rational dresses" for which Klimt also supplied designs. These dresses could be worn without a corset, hung loosely from the shoulders, and had broad sleeves. Up to 80 seamstresses were employed at the Flöge sisters' salon. It was forced to close in 1938 and production was transferred to their home in the third district.

Objects in Focus: the Emilie Flöge Fabric Sample Collection

May 25 – December 2, 2012

Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art (Österreichisches Museum für Volkskunde)

Laudongasse 16-19
1080   Wien

Guide dogs permitted

Main entrance

  • Main entrance no steps (Automatic sliding door 180cm wide).

Parking spaces Main entrance

disabled parking spaces available.

Special offers for disabled persons

Special tours for visually impaired visitors.


Access to permanent exhibition area and café: no steps, freight elevator to special exhibition rooms (assistance necessary).


  • +43 1 406 89 05

Opening hours

  • Tu - Su, 10:00 - 17:00


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