From February 2014, the Fabergé. The Tsar’s Jeweler exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum offers a fascinating insight into the world of Russian jewellery making, putting 150 items from the Kremlin Museum in Moscow on display in Austria for the first time. To this day, the name Fabergé is synonymous with rare and precious jewellery throughout the world. The house of Fabergé is best known for its gold, silver, rock crystal and enamel Easter eggs which are lavishly studded with pearls, rubies, diamonds and other gemstones. Highly desirable, they are in huge demand as collector’s items.
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 First World War 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.
The Kunst Haus Wien is devoting a major retrospective to the Austrian photographer Andreas H. Bitesnich (born 1964 in Vienna). He shot to international prominence thanks to his sculptural approach to the human body and the clever use of light in his photographs of nudes. This exhibition presents works from a number of the photographer’s series of nudes, giving them a new context in the process. Travel photos and portraits are also on display.
In The Albertina - Birth of a World-Class Collection, the gallery’s masterpieces are presented in the context of the colourful 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 centres 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. An Artist and His Collector/s. In this show, the Leopold Museum presents its world-famous Schiele collection to the public in its entirety for the first time. It comprises more than 40 paintings, over 180 watercolours and drawings, along with a large number of photographs, and more than 200 letters and other handwritten documents. Visitors will be guided through the works in the order that they were acquired by collector Rudolf Leopold, which makes for one of the most fascinating stories in the history of twentieth-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 Second World War.
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, signalling an abrupt end to the years of plenty.
- Fabergé. The Tsar’s Jeweler, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, www.khm.at
- Wien - Berlin, Feb 14-Jun 15, 2014, Belvedere, Lower Belvedere, Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna, www.belvedere.at
- Kunst Haus Wien, Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13, 1030 Vienna, www.kunsthauswien.com
- The Albertina - Birth of a World-Class Collection, Mar 12-Jun 29, 2014, Albertina, Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.albertina.at
- An Artist and His Collector/s, Mar 21-Sep 1, 2014, Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.leopoldmuseum.org
- Experiment Metropolis – 1873: Vienna and the World Exhibition, May 15-Sep 28, 2014, Wien Museum, Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna, www.wienmuseum.at