The Belvedere’s exhibition Wien - Berlin staged in cooperation with the Berlinische Galerie explores the links, similarities and differences between the turn-of-the-century Secession movements in both cities. While a feature of the Viennese expressionists was their strong sense of empathy for psychology, their wild young contemporaries in Berlin were characterized by gestures of aggression and ecstasy. Closer ties between Austria and Germany brought about by the World War I led to a productive artistic exchange between the two cities. Highlights include works by Otto Dix, George Grosz, Albert Paris Gütersloh, Josef Hoffmann, Friedrich Kiesler, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Liebermann and Egon Schiele.
In The Albertina - Birth of a World-Class Collection, the gallery’s masterpieces are presented in the context of the colorful and fascinating history of the collection itself. The show’s timeline spans the court of Maria Theresa, revolution in America and Europe through to the reconsolidation of the monarchies following the Congress of Vienna. The Albertina’s collection was founded by Archduchess Maria Christina and Duke Albert of Saxony-Teschen who lived in Dresden, Rome, Paris, Brussels and Vienna: some of the most influential artistic and political centers of their day. The exhibition sheds light on the complex networks of collectors and dealers, the lavish lifestyles of Europe's aristocracy, and political and intellectual developments stemming from the Enlightenment. Albrecht Dürer’s famous Field Rabbit of 1502 is the collection’s show piece.
Arguably Austria’s most radical 20th century painter was Egon Schiele (1890-1918), who is the focus of a remarkable exhibition at Vienna’s Leopold Museum in the MuseumsQuartier titled Schiele Rediscovered. An Artist and His Collector. The gallery is internationally renowned for its Schiele collection, which comprises more than 40 paintings, over 180 watercolors and drawings, along with a large number of photographs, and more than 200 letters and other handwritten documents. This will be the public’s first chance to view the collection in its entirety. Visitors will be guided through the works in the order that they were acquired by collector Rudolf Leopold, retelling one of the most fascinating stories in the history of 20th century art. The exhibition not only uncovers the life of the collector, and cultural networks and controversies in the art world, but also the successful reawakening of interest in Schiele following the end of the World War II.
In Experiment Metropolis – 1873: Vienna and the World Exhibition the Wien Museum will be zeroing in on the radical changes from the 1860s onwards that were triggered by the decision to tear down the old city walls. This period of rapid population growth was one of the most dynamic phases in the city’s history and became known as the Gründerzeit. Huge projects like the Ringstrasse, the “Great Regulation” of the Danube and an ambitious water supply network providing inhabitants with mountain spring water left their indelible mark on the capital. The 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna was the first to be hosted in a German-speaking country, and at that time the largest ever. Around 200 pavilions were set up in the Prater park for the six million visitors, which also occasioned the construction of Vienna’s landmark Rotunde building. The devastating Vienna Stock Exchange crash of 1873 came just a few weeks after it opened its doors, signaling an abrupt end to the years of plenty.
- Wien - Berlin, Feb 14-Jun 15, 2014, Belvedere, Lower Belvedere, Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna, www.belvedere.at
- The Albertina - Birth of a World-Class Collection, Mar 12-Jun 29, 2014, Albertina, Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.albertina.at
- Experiment Metropolis – 1873: Vienna and the World Exhibition, May 15-Sep 28, 2014, Wien Museum, Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna, www.wienmuseum.at