When war broke out in 1914, the painting Danse Macabre of 1809 by Austrian artist Albin Egger-Lienz (1868-1926) was interpreted as a foreboding of what was to come. Taking the work as its starting point, a Belvedere exhibition (at the Orangery in the Lower Belvedere) opening on March 7, 2014, will focus on Egger-Lienz’s artistic development and shine a light on various interpretations of his work. The exhibition will feature a large number of paintings, including Danse Macabre itself, by one of the most important pioneers of Austrian expressionism.
From April 2, 2014, Doomsday – Jewish Life and Death in World War I at the Jewish Museum Vienna will provide an opportunity to explore the far-reaching consequences of the First World War and the end of the old order for Jews in Austria-Hungary. Under the monarchy they were known as the most loyal of Emperor Franz Joseph I’s subjects - as the Emperor guaranteed their legal rights and rejected anti-semitism. Around 350,000 Jewish soldiers served in World War I. In Galicia, the Eastern front laid waste to the biggest area of Jewish settlement. Around 80,000 Jewish refugees were able to reach Vienna and their arrival transformed the structure of the local community. This exhibition looks at the biographies of various soldiers, politicians, rabbis, artists, revolutionaries and pacifists – including a significant number of women.
The Austrian National Library exhibition To My Peoples! The First World War 1914-1918 examines the historical interplay between euphoria and soberness, heroism and bereavement, propaganda and misery, while juxtaposing life at the front lines with the everyday wartime experience of women and children. Many items from the War Collection of the former court library will go on display from the first time in the library’s State Hall on Josefsplatz. The Habsburg’s court library was the forerunner to the Austrian National Library and it began collecting artifacts documenting the war almost as soon as it began, including photographs, posters, notes, other texts and official documents. The extraordinary variety of this material will be on show for the first time in this exhibition.
The Museum of Military History will open redesigned exhibition rooms covering World War I in June 2014. A chronological history of the war will be accompanied by illuminating exhibits on important geographical areas and the key themes of the time. Thanks to the copious collections from the 1914-18 period, the museum is able to display various unique artifacts, including the uniform worn by Archduke Franz Ferdinand when he was assassinated in Sarajevo, and the car he was riding in.
On 28 July 1914 the war press office was established in Vienna following the declaration of war on Serbia. War reporting was incorporated into military structures, and the press were continually supplied with dispatches, enabling the regime to directly influence public opinion. Special Edition! The Media and the War 1914-1918, at the Palais Porcia, has been organized by the Federal Chancellery and the Austrian State Archive to mark the 100th anniversary of these historic events. The exhibition focuses on media, war and propaganda and highlights the roles played by great artists of the time including Robert Musil, Franz Werfel and Oskar Kokoschka.
World War I was the first war that involved the civil population on such a massive scale. The city became the “home front” and its inhabitants participants in a war that, although being fought far away from Vienna, had a direct impact on the life of each individual citizen. The exhibition World War I in Vienna – City Life in Photography and Graphic Art at the Wien Museum Karlsplatz will look more closely at the “home front” from a variety of different perspectives.
- Danse Macabre. Egger-Lienz and the War, Mar 7-Jun 6, 2014, Belvedere – Orangery, Lower Belvedere, Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna, www.belvedere.at
- Doomsday – Jewish Life and Death in World War I, Apr 2-Sep 9, 2014, Jewish Museum Vienna, Palais Eskeles, Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Vienna, www.jmw.at
- To My Peoples! The First World War 1914-1918, Mar 13-Nov 2, 2014, State Hall of the Austrian National Library, Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.onb.ac.at
- Museum of Military History, Arsenal, Objekt 1, 1030 Vienna, www.hgm.or.at
- Special Edition! The Media and the War 1914-1918, Jun 2-Oct 31, 2014, Palais Porcia, Herrengasse 23, 1010 Vienna, www.oesta.gv.at
- World War I in Vienna – City Life in Photography and Graphic Art, Oct 16, 2014-Jan 18, 2015, Wien Museum, Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna, www.wienmuseum.at