Yvonne Oswald is the photographer behind the The Südbahnhotel – Magic Mountain of The Viennese, project. She is Austrian and a photographer for Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Christie’s Magazine, The World of Interior, among others. She’s author of more than 6 books and her work can be seen in galleries and art-shows all over Europe.
Yvonne as a true artist, became fascinated by the Hotel’s history and faith, and is walking us through this desolate monument in pictures full of melancholic beauty.
The Semmering area became fashionable in the late 1870’s. The Südbahnhotel opened in 1882 as an alpine luxury hotel. From the very beginning, the hotel as well as the whole region, thrived under the allure of Austria’s imperial family, the Habsburgs. The financially potent bourgeoisie soon followed, as did intellectuals and artists and the area became the hotspot of the Fin de Siècle society. The hotel was constantly expanded until 1913. In it’s prime it was one of the largest palace hotels in Europe with over 350 rooms and all the luxury and conveniences of the period.
Its decline was caused by Austria’s annexation by the Nazis in 1938. Jewish citizens were banned from all hotels and their Villas were confiscated.
After WW2 the Südbahnhotel was reopened, but could never regain its former significance. The spirit was gone and a deep melancholia took its place. In the late 1960’s it was finally closed and stands empty since then.
Most other grand buildings in this alpine region have either been destroyed or renovated beyond recognition. So the Südbahnhotel stands as the only remaining symbol of a sophisticated and artistically inspiring era: truly the Magic Mountain of the Viennese. It’s abandoned since fifty years and in danger to disappear forever.
Yvonne took more than 200 photos and is planning to bring it to life in a fantastic book, the first one telling the Südbahnhotel’s story through pictures alone.
And you can be part of that cultural project, helping Yvonne to get the founds necessary to print the book. Her project is described in details on indiegogo, the international crowd-funding site, contribution starts from €10.
If photography is the graphic recording of light, The Südbahnhotel project is the graphic recording of Austrian memory.
selma v schönburg