Rudolf Leopold always attached similar importance to drawings and water color works as to oil paintings. This is also underlined by the fact that the Leopold Collection currently holds around 3,500 paper works.
Fragile artworks by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin show their art in a very intimate way. For conservational reasons we can only temporarily expose those works to light. If we wouldn’t do so, the paper would yellow, the colors would bleach out. This could lead to irreparable damages.
Egon Schiele is one of the greatest drawers of the past century. Prof. Leopold always meant that one would have to go back to Dürer or Rembrandt to find a similar precision and strength in the line haul. His line hauls – secure and without any hesitation – suffice to carry the entire expressive assertion of his graphics. Beginning with his first attempts to find his own imagery passing by his depiction of a problematically and tragically viewed sexuality to his late drawings where one can perceive a more lyric lineament – Schiele’s drawings show an impressive cross-sections of his creative work.
Gustav Klimt prepared almost all of his paintings by countless pencil studies. Those works had an entirely private character and were a medium for erotic phantasies. Only on rare occasions he offered his paper works for sale and since the depiction of sexual taboo topics soon brought up the charge of obscenity against him he decided to not exhibit his drawings in Vienna anymore.
Oskar Kokoschka, besides Egon Schiele the most important representative of Austrian expressionism soon tossed any academically educated aesthetic overboard. He elevated the provocative and oftentimes ugly making reproduction to a principle. Like for many other artists that broke the mould, watercolor works and drawings were a preferred medium for Kokoschka.
The deeply disturbing imagery of the graphics by Alfred Kubin reveals abysses of the human existence. Fear, hopelessness and dark instincts seemingly drive our life that resembles a nightmare. Kubin describes this dream-world in his novel „The other Side“ which can be the key to the seemingly bizarre world view of the artist together with the philosophy of Schopenhauer, the psychoanalysis of Freud and a thorough study of symbols.
Since paper works are very light sensitive, all different kinds of drawings, water color works and prints cannot be exhibited permanently. Besides special exhibitions where paper works are exhibited temporarily, the art works are preserved at the depot of the museum and are not publicly accessible. We apologize for the inconvenience and kindly ask for your understanding. If you are interested in a particular paper work, please feel free to ask at the museum if it is currently exhibited.