Munich's status as the City of Jugendstil is reflected in the passion of private connoisseurs, who collect and specifically dedicate themselves to the outstanding works of the last big artistic reform movement. This book presents rarely seen Jugendstil treasures from high-quality private collections in Munich comprising works from the most important European and several American artists, designers and manufacturers. In these works, the whole dynamic of this movement is spectacularly revealed: art should be a way of life. More than 350 objects occupy the scope, which the leading artists of the day drew upon to create a "new style" for the twentieth century across all material and genre boundaries. Paintings, graphic works, and sculptures as well as furniture and wall hangings, and works in bronze, silver, enamel, glass and ceramic reflect the proclamation of the "new era". The aim was to lead art to a new unity and so reform the life of a new era. Edmund Lachenal's bowls with diving frogs (ca. 1888) introduces the chronology, which covers the years up to ca. 1913/14 .
At this time Henry van de Velde designed a service for the porcelain manufacturer Ferdinand Selle in Burgau an der Saale - according to van de Velde, "the first factory whose business is solely focused on the fabrication of objects in the 'modern style'." The collection captivates through the quality and uniqueness of its pieces; focal points include objects from the Paris avant-garde galleries "L'Art Nouveau" of Siegfried Bing and "La Maison Moderne" of Julius Meier-Graefe as well as the Paris World Exhibition of 1900. Highlights of the Japonism, which unleashed a wave of enthusiasm not only in Europe, and objects which illustrate the progressive development of the Jugendstil in Munich, culminate in a multi-layered picture of the artistic development in the early twentieth century.