Albertina Museum Vienna Austria


Albertina Museum Vienna

Vienna is a busy, active city, with many interesting things happening! After a few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that like Rome, it will take many more visits to explore the city properly. I’m letting go of any expectation that uncovering Vienna’s history, secrets, and treasures during a one-month stay will happen – maybe, if returning to my 20s again were possible. Based on your interests and timeframe, The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Vienna is a good start but requires determination and fortitude and will keep most people on their toes and feet :).

Albertina Museum
Cubist Mediterranean Landscape 1952 Pablo Picasso
Neo-Impressionist Painting – Antibes Tower 1911 Paul Signac

Since reservations are necessary for most events, you have to plan in advance. It’s amazing how quickly attractions are “sold out”. I’ve booked daytrips, palace tours, concerts, and gallery exhibitions. In September, visitors flock to Vienna for a variety of popular activities. Vienna symphony, ballet, opera, theatre, and cabarets are exploding with sought-after performances.

Portrait of a Young Girl 1879 Pierre-Auguste Renoir

When compared to Eastern European cities like Belgrade, Budapest, Bucharest, Prague, and Zagreb, Vienna performing arts are much more expensive. In Vienna, the location and ambience of the event is almost as spectacular as the performance itself. I succeeded in booking a few performances, including what might have been the last seat in the house for a “new” production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), at the Vienna State Opera House.

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Avant-Garde – Red Bridge of Zarizyno 1918 Aristarkh Vasilyevich Lentulov

Guess I got spoiled by the inexpensive, yet incredibly high-quality performing arts in Eastern Europe. As with most European cities, theatre performances in Vienna are in the local Austrian-German language. There are several excellent plays being performed – Shakespeare, Albee, Ibsen – but since I don’t speak German…

Woman on a Plinth 1950 Alberto Giacometti
New York East River 1936 Wilhelm Thöny
Albertina History and Exhibitions

The Albertina was established in 1805. The beautiful building, an example of Viennese historicist architecture, has experienced changes in government, survived bombings, and endured refurbishment and modernization. I spent over four hours enjoying the museum exhibitions, especially art from the Modernist, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist periods.

Dresden Bridge with Steamer 1923 Oskar Kokoschka

Many of the artists exhibited were new to me, including Oskar Kokoschka, Albin Egger-Lienz, and most Austrian avant-garde masters. Russian artists Natalia Goncharova, Karimir Malevich, and Marc Chagall were also new names. I spent most of my time viewing the Monet to Picasso and Basquiat exhibitions. Eclectic, expressive faces in the crowd were almost as interesting as the art!

The Sower Albin Egger-Lienz
Garden with Autumn Flowers 1934 Emile Nolde
Monet to Picasso

The permanent Monet to Picasso Batliner Collection is outstanding, with works by master artists Degas, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, and others. Expressionists included Austrians and interesting German groups like Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter.

Claude Monet View Over Vetheuil 1881

New Objectivity” art on display includes works by Wacker, Sedlacek, and Hofer – the style and artists were new to me. The Picasso exhibition encompassed the many “periods” of his work, including his early Cubist paintings, “mature period of the 1940s,” prints that have “not yet been exhibited,” and paintings from his “experimental late period”. I love Picasso and thought every painting on display was breathtaking!

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House Among the Roses 1925 Claude Monet
Batliner, Forberg, and Djerassi Collection

Many of the Albertina’s extensive holdings of classical modernist paintings, come from the Batliner, Forberg, and Djerassi Collection. The paintings provide an “overview of the most interesting chapters of 130 years of art history unique to Vienna and Austria”.

Parrot Tulips 1905 Henri Matisse

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In June 2019, Herbert Batliner, known as “one of the greatest art collectors and patrons of our time,” passed away at the age of 90. In 2000, he “donated Propter Homines Hall to the Albertina, in which the museum has shown all major exhibitions from Dürer to Raphael to Vincent van Gogh”. Other art patrons have also donated valuable art to the Albertina, “resulting in one of the world’s most important collections of Modernist paintings”.

Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
The Retrospective Basquiat

I know a little about Basquiat. His moving neo-expressionist paintings reflect his life and struggles.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

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“Virtually no other artist comes anywhere close to being as representative of the 1980s and that decade’s pulsating New York art scene as does the brilliantly exceptional artistic phenomenon that was Jean-Michel Basquiat.”

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“Born in 1960 in New York as the son of a Haitian father and a Puerto Rican mother, he ran away from home at age 17 – initially making his way as a graffiti artist and at times even living on the street. It was not long before he began his rapid ascent. Basquiat’s meteoric career can seem something like fast-forwarding through a movie filled with sequences where the principal character interacts with his era’s most significant artists, including David Bowie and Madonna. Moreover, Basquiat also maintained an inspiring friendship with Andy Warhol. His paintings were soon in extremely high demand, appreciating rapidly in value — and by 1982, he had become both the youngest-ever participant in documenta 7 and the first world-famous artist with Afro-American-Caribbean roots. Basquiat was unable to withstand the challenge posed by this quick success for long. In 1988, he died at the age of 27 of a drug overdose.”

Pollo Frito 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Basquiat exhibition is on display from 9 September until 8 January. It includes over 50 of his major works from renowned public and private collections. Most of his works are untitled.

Birds and Insects 1932 Joan Miró

The Albertina is a gem, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there viewing beautiful art!

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