Viennese Types -
Clichés and Reality

"Viennese types" was the name given to popular series of stereotypical pictures of street traders and other urban figures such as lavender sellers, coach drivers or Jewish peddlers. As cultural constructs they circulated in many different media including graphic prints and photographs but also became part of urban folklore as popular subjects in feature articles and Viennese songs.

The precursors of the "type" genre were the copper engravings of "Kaufrufe" (“Cries”) that appeared in all major European cities. They first came onto the market in Vienna in 1770, showing travelling tradesmen, who advertised their wares with standardised cries that could be heard above the city noise.

The more the real street figures disappeared from the scene in the late nineteenth century as a result of economic changes, the more popular they became as objects of longing for the "good old days". Only a few – the carriage driver or the grumpy waiter, for example – have survived as tourist attractions today.

The image of the „Viennese types“ was romanticised and their difficult living and working conditions ignored. These clichés contrast starkly with the reality of migration, child labour and ethnic stereotyping.

Otto Schmidt, "Prole", from the "Viennese Types" series, 1886, © Wien Museum
Viennese Types -
Clichés and Reality
25. April 2013 to 6. October 2013


"Das Kuratorenteam des Museums führt in dichten, kompakten Kapiteln an einzelne "Typen" und ihren Hintergrund heran, ein Audioguide liefert Tonmaterial zu den Bildern."

"Das Wien Museum hat eine ganze Reihe von „Wiener Typen“ vorzuweisen, ihnen ist eine sehenswerte Ausstellung gewidmet mit Lithografien, historischen Fotografien und Gegenständen."
Salzburger Nachrichten

"Die Ausstellung ist nicht nur eine humurvolle Reise ins Gestern, sie zeigt unetr anderem auch die menschlichen Nöte in der Donaumetropole."
Kronen Zeitung

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