The museum landscape in Vienna was enriched by another major object – the Albertina Modern Gallery opened its doors on 27 May. It will be the second exhibition site of the Albertina and more than 60,000 works by five thousand artists will make it one of the largest museums dedicated to the art of the present era. The inaugural exhibition, called “The Beginning. Art in Vienna, 1945 – 1980” will be the first complete overview of the Austrian art scene in the three post-war decades.
The main museum exhibition will be a collection that has been collected since the 1970s by Karlheinz Essl and his wife Agnes. The collection includes works by such superstar artists as Gerhard Richter, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Sigmar Polke, Ai Weiwei, Maria Lassnig, and Anish Kapoor as well as lesser-known artists. After the four Hessels were faced with financial difficulties, a large part of their collection was bought by entrepreneur Hans Peter Haselsteiner in 2014. Three years later, he and Hessel leased their treasure to the Albertina Museum on a long-term lease (at least until 2044).

The Künstlerhaus on Vienna’s Karlsplatz became home to the new Viennese Museum of Modern Art. In 2016, Haselsteiner took over the majority of its shares. He promised to renovate this magnificent exhibition complex, which had fallen into oblivion, and to modernize it to meet the requirements of the Albertina Museum.

Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Robert Klemmer. Untitled, 1969
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Maria Lassnig, “Women Power” (1979).

The Albertina Modern Museum occupies an area of over 2500 m² in a renovated architectural monument. Another 900 m² is dedicated to the organization that succeeded the first occupant of the building, the House of Artists. Künstlerhaus was originally given to Viennese artists by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1865. The building in neo-Renaissance style, designed by Augustus Weber, was an example of the architecture of the prestigious Vienna Ringstraße, together with the Imperial Hotel and the Vienna Philharmonic. It was in Künstlerhaus that a split occurred in the society of artists, after which Gustav Klimt and his associates formed the Vienna Secession.

During the 20th century, Künstlerhaus repeatedly planned to reconstruct or even demolish. In the 1980s and 1990s, the architectural masterpiece experienced a “golden era” when its premises were made available for the Wiener Festwochen music and theatre festival and later for a number of major exhibitions. Over the past 20 years, however, the building has most often been hidden behind scaffolding.

Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
 Albertina Museum
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Albertina Museum
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Albertina Museum

Over the past three years, this 150-year-old prestigious building has been restored to its original form both inside and outside – including original wall paintings, jewelry from that era, and authentic terrazzo floors. At the same time, Künstlerhaus has adapted to Albertina’s requirements in terms of security, lighting, and climate control. The top floor, which is occupied by the Society of Austrian Artists, has been designed as a gallery, a venue for performances and multimedia productions.

The Albertina Modern collection focuses on Austrian masters. International art is represented by works by Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Cindy Sherman, Marcus Lüperz, and other artists. “The museum intends to create an entirely new status for Austrian art history after 1945,” said Klaus Albrecht Schroeder, General Manager of the Albertina and Albertina Modern Museum.

Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna

Günter Brus, Self-Portrait II (1973)
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Peter Pongratz, Schutzengel, 1971
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Sonne für die, die auf dem Lande weinen
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Alex Katz. Beach Stop, 2001
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Wolfgang Herzig. Die schaukel, 1972
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Christian ludwig. Attersee torte mit speisekugeln und_ peiseblau, 1967
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Elke Krystufek. My Picabia, 1997
Albertina Modern: New Art Museum in Vienna
Franz Zadrazil. Ruedigerhof
The exhibition “The Beginning. Art in Vienna, 1945 – 1980” was to begin work on March 12, 2020, but due to the emergency situation with the coronavirus, its opening was postponed. The exhibition, which runs until November 15, marks an important era for international and Austrian contemporary art on the threshold of postmodernism. Visitors will see around 400 works by seven dozen artists. The exhibits are from the Albertina Modern collection as well as from other collections.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here