Hidden Treasures from Vienna

Masterpieces by Dürer, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Rubens, Amerling, Klimt, Hundertwasser among others
The art collections of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna at Kunsthalle Würth

17 September 2017 - 8 April 2018

The Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, founded in 1692, holds one of the major collections of Old Masters in Vienna. Initially the collection’s foundation was made up exclusively of ‘acceptance works’ by Academy members in the 18th century and of works by the art students awarded prizes at the Academy’s annual graduation exhibitions. When in the year 1822 Anton Franz Count of Lamberg-Sprinzenstein made a bequest to the Academy of his painting collection comprising almost 750 important works, this immediately raised the gallery attached to the Academy to the status of an internationally respected institution.

Today this Viennese collection is still an integral part of the organisational structure of the Academy. Over time, however, its function as a “teaching material cabinet” has become superimposed by its significance as a museum in the perception of the general public.

The exhibition at the Kunsthalle Würth will therefore show the treasures on loan from Vienna not just as a sequence of exquisite masterpieces, but also as demonstration works in the training of artists and in the history of style. The 400 works on loan from all the genres gathered in the collection will include not only important work complexes – like that by Peter Paul Rubens – and drawings by Rembrandt and Albrecht Altdorfer, for example, but also casts of ancient sculptures, masterpieces on paper by Albrecht Dürer and Gothic architectural plans which are now part of the Unesco Memory of the World Register. These will be complemented by historical photographs of high artistic standard.

The “treasures” to be discovered range from Botticelli to Guardi, Rembrandt to Maes, Dürer to Schnorr von Carolsfeld, and from Klimt via Hundertwasser to Lassnig – all of them major artists in their days. Supplemented at different points in the exhibition by works from the Würth Collection, they illustrate – particularly in the numerous citations and paraphrases of classical themes – the reciprocal influence and the contrary spirits of the epochs extending from the early modern era, the Golden Age, Storm and Stress, early Realism, Romanticism and early modernism to contemporary art.

Having hosted exhibitions by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Kunsthalle Würth is now highlighting the art collections of the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien in the exhibition entitled “Hidden Treasures from Vienna. Masterpieces by Dürer, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Rubens, Amerling, Klimt, Hundertwasser among others”.

A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be published by Swiridoff Verlag, Künzelsau.

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