Schiele, Klimt and Moser jubilee exhibitions, photography emphasis, a new private collection to be discovered and brilliant attendance figures at the Leopold Museum
2018 is the year of the Leopold Museum: as Vienna celebrates Viennese Modernism and its protagonists Klimt, Schiele and Moser, the Leopold Museum traces an arc from the movement’s beginnings with Anton Romako to the Schiele jubilee exhibition, via Klimt, Moser, Gerstl, Kokoschka and the photographers Moriz Nähr and Madame d’Ora all the way to Brus and Palme, while the exhibition “WOW! The Heidi Horten Collection” unites 100 years of art history from Klimt to Hirst.
Following a review of a highly successful year in the history of the Leopold Museum presented by the Directors Hans-Peter Wipplinger and Gabriele Langer during Thursday’s annual press conference, Wipplinger announced the highlights in the museum’s program for 2018:
A century ago, the year 1918 saw the passing of the protagonists of Viennese Modernism Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Koloman Moser who shaped the period of Vienna around 1900. Seeing as these artists and their milieu provide important emphases within the collection of the Leopold Museum, they will dominate the museum’s 2018 exhibition program. “Next year, we will be able to offer the most important exhibitions throughout this anniversary year of Viennese Modernism,” Wipplinger announced proudly.
The commemorative year kicks off with the exhibition “VIENNA AROUND 1900. KLIMT – MOSER – GERSTL – KOKOSCHKA” (18th January – 10th June 2018), which will present works from Viennese Jugendstil to Austrian Expressionism by these protagonists. Along with eminent chief works by Gustav Klimt, including Death and Life (1911/15) and the lakescape created in 1900 On Lake Attersee, the presentation also features Kolo Moser’s paintings as well as outstanding examples of design from around 1900, including furniture, artisan craftwork and posters, created by this “artist of a thousand talents” and co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte. The radical works by the proto-Expressionist Richard Gerstl will once again be on display at the Leopold Museum following their tour with stops in Frankfurt and New York. Featuring his trend-setting Self-Portrait, One Hand Touching the Face created in 1918/19, which is a symbol of Austrian art embarking on a new era, Oskar Kokoschka, the enfant terrible of the Viennese art scene of the early 20th century, completes the tetrad of heroes in the only permanent Kokoschka hall in Austria.
The exhibition “WOW! The Heidi Horten Collection” (16th February - 29th July 2018) is seen by Director Wipplinger as the continuation of the museum’s era-spanning programmatic approach. “Not only are we able to show one of the most impressive European private collections for the first time in our museum with this exhibition initiated by Agnes Husslein-Arco but this presentation featuring 170 works from 100 years of art history also allows us to draw fascinating parallels with Rudolf Leopold’s collection.” The exhibition fulfils the collector’s long-cherished wish to make the masterpieces meticulously collected by her since the 1990s by artists including Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, as well as Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon all the way to Damien Hirst, Silvie Fleury and Mauricio Cattelan, available to a wide audience. Agnes Husslein-Arco mentioned that it is particularly important to the collector to make art accessible to children and adolescents, which is why she generously sponsors the museum’s art education program as well as the free admission to the museum every Thursday between 6 pm and 9 pm.
Director Wipplinger is also delighted to present the jubilee exhibition "EGON SCHIELE” (3rd March – 4th November 2018) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the artist’s death, which he will curate together with Diethard Leopold. Seeing as the Leopold Museum is home to the largest and most eminent collection of works by Egon Schiele, a special exhibition will be dedicated to the artist for this anniversary: unique in its juxtaposition of paintings and works on paper – which for conservational reasons will be shown in three separate stages – the presentation will touch upon the most important themes in the life and work of the artist and, according to Wipplinger, “promises to be the ultimate Schiele jubilee exhibition”.
"SCHIELE – BRUS – PALME”, three enfants terribles of their respective generations, will broaden the conventional concept of art with their works in this exhibition (3rd March – 11th June 2018). Egon Schiele’s unsparing exploration of the individual, of the self, provided a necessary but unsettling prelude to the 20th century ravaged by two world wars. In the 1960s, Günter Brus revisited the body as a major theme in art, with Thomas Palme continuing Schiele and Brus’ legacy with his graphic works one generation later. The exhibition will provide for a fictitious – and in the case of Brus and Palme also a direct – dialogue, transcending temporal, spatial and social borders. The exhibition will be curated by the head of the Graz Bruseum Roman Grabner.
The beginning of Modernism will be highlighted with the exhibition “ANTON ROMAKO” (22nd March – 18th June 2018). The retrospective curated by Marianne Hussl-Hörmann showcases eminent works from the oeuvre of this unusual painter. Since Rudolf Leopold recognized Anton Romako’s importance as one of the great pioneers of Modernism very early on, the Leopold Museum as well as the Leopold Private Collection house one of the most comprehensive collections of works by the artist today.
In the presentation “GUSTAV KLIMT” (22nd June – 4th November 2018), the artist, who also passed away in 1918, will be honored with a special exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of his death and retracing his evolution from an exponent of late Historicism towards the most eminent representative of Viennese Jugendstil. Along with works from the holdings of the Leopold Museum and the Leopold family’s private collection, the presentation will feature exhibits from the Klimt Foundation, works given to the museum as a permanent loan by a Klimt descendant as well as select international loans. Director Wipplinger emphasized the presentation of Klimt’s Symbolist painting The Bride curated by Sandra Tretter (Klimt Foundation). The group of figures rendered in the painting will be shown for the first time in connection with drawings and sketches of the depicted protagonists, most of which also hail from the collection of the Klimt Foundation.
In 2018 comprehensive retrospectives will be dedicated to “ZORAN MUŠIČ” with “Poetry of Silence” (13th April – 6th August 2018), “MORIZ NÄHR” with “Photography and Viennese Modernism” (24th August – 29th October 2018) as well as to the photographer Dora Kallmus with “Make Me Look Beautiful, Madame d’Ora!” (13th July – 29th October 2018). “With the exhibition on Zoran Mušič (1909–2005), we will make a contribution to the commemorative year of 1938, the year of Austria’s annexation and of the horrors of the ‘Kristallnacht’,” Director Wipplinger explained. The exhibition’s co-curator Ivan Ristić mentioned that Mušič had already been an established Slovenian artist by the time he was deported to Dachau concentration camp for several months in late 1944. The drawings he created there are harrowing documents of that time. After the War, the artist moved to Venice, but the indelible trauma of his experience at the concentration camp never left him and was expressed from 1970 in his picture cycle We Are Not the Last.
“MORIZ NÄHR” (1859-1945) is one of the most important innovators of photography in “Vienna around 1900”. “The photographer has left behind a multi-layered oeuvre comprising not only landscape-, architecture-, and portrait photography but also street photography (Scenes from the Naschmarkt, 1918) as well as photographs documenting exhibitions (Vienna Secession),” as the presentation’s curator Uwe Schögl elucidated.
The retrospective “Make Me Look Beautiful, Madame d’Ora!” touches upon the two themes commemorated in 2018: Viennese Modernism – the first artist photographed by her in 1908 was Gustav Klimt – and the seizure of power of the National Socialists – as a disenfranchised Jew, d’Ora lost her Paris studio in 1940 and for years had to hide from German occupying forces in France. Having narrowly escaped capture, the portraitist of society focused her at once sharp and empathic gaze after 1945 also on nameless concentration camp survivors as well as on the meat stock of the Parisian abattoirs. Monika Faber, the curator and developer of the exhibition’s concept, sees the photographer as “one of the most important chroniclers of her time. Her oeuvre traces a unique arc from the last Austrian monarch to the glamour of the Parisian fashion world of the 1920s and 30s all the way to a completely changed Europe after World War II.”
Looking back on the past year, the Managing Director of the Leopold Museum Gabriele Langer made a special mention of the exhibition “CARL SPITZWEG – ERWIN WURM. Hilarious! Hilarious?” (25th March – 19th June 2017): “Attended by more than 100,000 visitors, the presentation was able to match the museum’s most frequented exhibitions such as ‘Klimt – Up Close and Personal’.” Thus, the positive trend in attendance figures of previous years could be continued with an 8% increase in the number of visitors for the period of January to November 2017. For the business year of 2017, the Leopold Museum will record approximately 380,000 visitors. The multi-faceted program of special and permanent exhibitions led to an increase both in Austrian and international visitors. Director Wipplinger sees the museum’s “new programmatic approach to include presentations of contemporary art confirmed by the highly encouraging increase in the percentage of Austrian visitors from 13% to 21%”.