Editha Moser

* 12.04.1883 (Vienna) 03.11.1969 (Mödling) Austria
Author: Sieglinde Brunner

Ditha was the daughter of Carl Ferdinand Mautner von Markhof and Editha Baroness Sunstenau von Schützenthal. Her grandfather, Adolf Ignaz Mautner, was the founder of a family enterprise, which at the end of the 19th century became the third largest brewery and yeast factory and secured the family’s economic wealth.

Her father Carl Ferdinand, since 1874 married to his second wife Editha, Baroness Sunstenau, attained high merit for his charitable donations. E.g. the children’s hospital in Vienna-Landstrasse owes him the church and a pavilion for infectious diseases  (1894).

Her mother, Editha Mautner von Markhof, a philanthropist, was an energetic supporter of higher education for girls. As member of the board in the large societies patronizing the establishment of schools, such as the Viennese Women Acquisition Association, the Association for High School Education for Girls, but especially as president of the Association for developing Education for Women (1902-1918), which initiated the foundation of the first humanistic high school for girls in the German-speaking countries. Under great financial sacrifices they bought the school building in Rahlgasse 4 in Vienna.

In this setting Ditha and her two elder sisters Herta (1879 – 1970) and Magda (1881 -1944) grew up in the family palace Landstraßer Hauptstraße 138. The childhood was carefree as far as material prosperity was concerned, but overshadowed in 1896 by the suicide of her father. From 1902 till 1905 Ditha was guest student of Josef Hoffman at the Academy for Applied Arts, and on a parallel basis she attended lectures and special courses held by Carl Otto Czeschka for figurative drawing, she studied scripture and heraldry under Rudolf Larisch, 1903/04 artistic weaving under Leopoldine Guttmann, 1903/1905 enamel work under Adele von Stark. Among others, her colleagues in the Hoffmann class were Eduard Wimmer-Wisgrill, Fritz Dietl, Anton Kling, Carl Witzmann and Fritz Zeymer.

1904 Ditha travelled with her mother to Riva, Verona and Venice accompanied by Koloman Moser, with whom she was in regular contact since 1903. The wedding took place on 1.7.1905; the honeymoon trip led them to Hallstatt and St. Gilgen to Carl Moll. Kolo Moser moved from Hohe Warte to an apartment in the garden wing of the Mautner-Markhof palace and had it decorated by the Wiener Werkstätte according to his own designs.

The couple had two sons, Karl (1906-1976) and Dietrich (1909-1925), who died from pulmonary disease.

In 1906 Ditha Moser became well known as a graphic artist, when a Tarot deck of cards was launched, which she had designed. This deck of cards is regarded a highlight of Viennese graphic planar art. 1910 followed a geometrically styled Whist card game. In 1907 she designed an outstanding bookplate for her mother. Calendars illustrating biblical and mythological themes in the form of leporellos were published in small editions as gifts for New Year between 1908 and 1913. In the Museum of Applied Arts the design drafts for these graphic cycles are still preserved. Besides her graphic work, Ditha Moser also concerned herself with photography.

After Koloman Moser had died on 18.10.1918, she married on 23.2.1919 Adolf Hauska (1881-1929), owner of a coffee house. Three children originated from this marriage: Editha (1919-1920), Theodor (1920-1921) and Adolf (1922-1945).

After World War I no important artistic work by Ditha Moser became known any more.

Translation:  Ulrike Rahmatian



Publication: ÖBL 1815-1950, Bd.6 (Lfg.27, 1974) S. 166 und 167

Publication for the exhibition: Koloman Moser 1868-1918 by Gerd Pichler, Ed.   Rudolf Leopold and Gerd Pichler for private foundation Leopold 2007

Photocredits: Ditha Moser, photo Anna Reisinger from Gabriele Fahr-Becker: Wiener Werkstaette 1903-1932, Ed. Angelika Taschen 2008, original edition 1994, publisher Benedikt Taschen