The exhibition “WOW! The Heidi Horten Collection” is the first public unveiling of one of Europe’s most sensational private art collections. Its presentation at the Leopold Museum fulfills the collector’s long-cherished wish to make the masterpieces she has carefully assembled since the 1990s, spanning from Gustav Klimt to Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, available to a broad audience. The collector’s philanthropic dedication is further underscored by her support of educational programs to benefit children and adolescents, as well as weekly free admission to the museum for the general public.
The exhibition, curated by Agnes Husslein-Arco, showcases 170 works by seventy five artists and follows a chronological sequence of twentieth-century Western art. It also offers a unique view into the broad spectrum of art the collector has gathered over the past thirty-five years.
“The mid-1990s were an exceptionally opportune time for Heidi Goëss- Horten to build her impressive collection. While the acquisition of artworks was always driven by her personal taste, she can now survey a museum-worthy collection that exemplifies how certain art movements developed over time. The exhibition at the Leopold Museum presents a unique opportunity to access an art historically significant collection, and promises an exceptionally sensual experience.” -Curator Agnes Husslein-Arco.
Seeing some common threads emerging – exciting connections between particular works and artists – Heidi Goëss-Horten trusted that the time had come for the collection’s premiere
“The art I’ve surrounded myself and lived with has become tangible art history. It was my desire to share this experience with other people, which has now become a reality thanks to the exhibition at the Leopold Museum. Moreover, it was vitally important to me to support art education programs and to allow the broadest possible access to the exhibition. Art, for me, has an element of connection. Through it, you can reach people of all ages and nationalities. The idea, then, that with this project I can help build a bridge between generations and people of different origins fills me with great joy!” -Heidi Goëss-Horten
“I am convinced that the interplay of private initiative and museum work – and the rich sweep of the Heidi Horten Collection exhibition that reflects the triumphal procession of modernity – will be a highlight of the Leopold Museum’s history of exhibitions. The exhibition also brings into focus our museum’s mission of being a place of sensual experience, aesthetic education, and knowledge.” -Director Hans-Peter Wipplinger
With works by Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, Alex Katz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, Gustav Klimt, August Macke, Franz Marc, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Edvard Munch, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko, Egon Schiele, Andy Warhol, and many more.
Heidi Horten and her husband Helmut Horten started their art collection in the 1970s. At that time, they both focused on works of German Expressionism. Following her husband’s death in 1987, Heidi Horten decided to build her own collection based on new priorities. Disregarding prevailing trends in the art market, she concentrated on international works of Modernity, Neo-Expressionism, and American Pop Art, thereby creating a collection unique in quality and focus.
The Heidi Horten Collection includes some 300 paintings, graphic works, and sculptures by world-class international artists, which has resulted in a representational cross-section of art history from Modernity to the present.
Aside from German Expressionism, with masterworks by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Emil Nolde, and Max Pechstein, key areas of focus in the Heidi Horten Collection also include abstract approaches by Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko, and Ernst Wilhelm Nay, and works by prominent figures from American Pop Art like Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Roy Lichtenstein. Further strengthening its international scope are indispensable works by Marc Chagall, Georg Baselitz, Francis Bacon, Fernand Léger, Gerhard Richter, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, and Damien Hirst.
Austrian philanthropist Heidi Goëss-Horten was born in 1941 in Vienna. In 1966 she married the German entrepreneur Helmut Horten and, together with him, discovered her passion for art collecting. Following Helmut Horten’s death in 1987, Heidi Horten, in her function as vice-president of his medical foundation, supported several aid organizations and projects in the medical, sports, and animal-welfare sectors, receiving numerous awards for her contributions. During the 1990s, she started to build her own art collection and, with works by Picasso, Chagall, Nolde, and Warhol, gathered icons of art history under one roof. Married since 2013 to the count of Goëss, Karl Anton, Heidi Goëss-Horten now resides in Carinthia.