“Hidden Treasures”: Leopold Museum seeks sponsors for artworks

Exhibition presents works from the collection in need of restoration

The Leopold Museum’s first exhibition of 2016 – “Hidden Treasures. Artworks Seek Sponsors!” – features a selection of works from the museum’s collection that are in need of restoration. Shown from 29th January, these works will be presented to the public for the first time. Hans-Peter Wipplinger, the Museological Director of the Leopold Museum, explains that the aim of the exhibition is “to highlight one of the main responsibilities of the museum, which is to preserve these material contemporary witnesses, so that we might be able tomorrow to draw a picture of yesterday”. He further elaborated that the role of any museum was not only to collect and research artworks and to make them accessible to the public, but also to conserve and restore its collections to preserve them for the future and make them exhibitable in the present.

Hans-Peter Wipplinger and Gabriele Langer, the Leopold Museum’s Managing Director, view the presentation as an appeal to potential patrons: “We are currently looking for sponsors for each of the artworks on display. Through their financial support, these patrons will help restore the works so that they can once again be made permanently accessible to the public“. Gabriele Langer: “We ask all friends of the Leopold Museum to generously support our cause and hope that the prospect of providing lasting protection to an artwork and rendering it accessible to visitors will provide a strong incentive for many art enthusiasts”. Wipplinger: “No matter how interesting an exhibit might be, if it cannot be loaned or presented at in-house exhibitions on account of its poorstate of preservation, it is reduced to a shadowy existence in the depots. This cannot be in the interest of a committed public”.

The founder of the Leopold Museum, Prof. Rudolf Leopold (1925–2010), always focused on the artistic quality of the works he collected. Thus, Leopold would sometimes acquire artworks in a precarious state of preservation, showing signs of usage or inadequate storage. While numerous works were restored or maintained by art restorers whenthe Leopold Museum Private Foundation was founded in 1994 in preparation for the museum’s opening in 2001 and these works’ presentation to the public, many of them did not receive the necessary restoration work due to a lack of funds.

The current exhibition affords a first look at some 180 exhibits in need of restoration that were selected from the collection. The compilation includes approximately 85 paintings from the museum’s collection, primarily works dating from the second half of the 19th and the early 20th century by Kolo Moser, Albin Egger-Lienz, Anton Faistauer, Marie Egner, Tina Blau, Emil Jakob Schindler and Theodor von Hörmann, among others.The necessary restoration work to be carried out on these paintings includes cleaning the works’ pictorial surfaces, consolidating individual layers of paint as well as repairing and retouching imperfections.

The exhibition also features an exemplary selection of around 30 works on paper from the foundation’s collection that urgently require restoration. Posters from the early 20th century, among them exhibition posters of the Secession and the Künstlerhaus, form a special emphasis within this group. With these works, the main focus will be on gluing tears, on deacidifying the paper and on smoothing the paper surfaces. As with paintings, works on paper also crucially require expertly restored or newly created frames with UV resistant glass.

Further on display will be some 30 works from the Leopold Museum’s comprehensive arts-and-crafts department, including exquisite metal objects from the Wiener Werkstätte, some of them designed by Josef Hoffmann. Particularly outstanding from this group of works are the latticed baskets made from white-lacquered perforated metal. They are often partly broken with chipped varnish, many of them now appearing discoloured and unsightly. The most urgent restoration work required for these items includes securing the frames and mending imperfections. Finally, the presentation also features approximately 40 works from the Leopold Museum’s furniture collection. These include tables and seating furniture from around 1900, many of them designed by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser and executed by the Wiener Werkstätte. These high-quality pieces often show signs of usage. Scratched or chipped surfaces need to receive intensive treatment, veneers need to be glued together and damaged textile covers need to be mended.

The exhibition “Hidden Treasures. Artworks Seek Sponsors!” will be on display from 29th January to 22nd February 2016 at the Leopold Museum. A folder is published on the occasion of the exhibition, which lists the artworks available for sponsorship along with illustrations. The exhibits, the extent of the necessary restoration work and the estimated restoration costs can also be viewed at www.leopoldmuseum.org.

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