For the first time, the Leopold Museum is presenting the still largely unknown Schedlmayer Collection.

Featuring 220 exhibits, including items of furniture, paintings, works on paper, sculptures, arts-and-crafts objects and photographs, the presentation conveys the diversity and quality of the Schedlmayer Collection across three rooms. Hermi (1941–2018) and Fritz Schedlmayer (1939–2013) spent several decades compiling an eminent selection of artisan craftwork and examples of fine arts. The history of the collection began in 1989, when the Austrian couple bought the Villa Rothberger in Baden near Vienna. They restored the house, which in 1912 had been extensively refurbished and furnished by the architect Otto Prutscher, discovered Prutscher’s multi-faceted work and set about researching his life and oeuvre with meticulousness and passion.

The collectors placed another emphasis on the fine arts and acquired exceptional works of German Expressionism by Karl Hofer, Christian Rohlfs, Max Pechstein and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, as well as eminent paintings by representatives of Austrian Modernism, including Broncia Koller-Pinell, Jean Egger, Anton Kolig, Franz Wiegele and Anton Faistauer.

The Schedlmayer Collection truly deserves to be called a discovery. While the Schedlmayer family’s high-quality Prutscher collection is well-known within the applied arts scene, few are aware of the extent of paintings and graphic works from Austrian and German Modernism comprised in the collection. This sparked the idea to not only make all aspects of the collection accessible to the public for the first time, but also to call the exhibition and catalogue a discovery.

Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Director of the Leopold Museum          

The Schedlmayer Collection in the context of the Leopold Collection

After acquiring the Villa Rothberger, the couple began their research and collecting activities into the diverse oeuvre of the universal artist Prutscher, who had not received due recognition up until then. Over the decades, they compiled more than 5,500 data sets on Prutscher’s works. Hermi Schedlmayer’s in-depth research formed the basis for a two-volume Prutscher monograph, comprising 700 pages, published by her grandson Claas Duit.

The Leopold Museum was born out of a passion for collecting art shared by another married couple – Rudolf and Elisabeth Leopold. This exhibition project not only broadens the cultural kaleidoscope of ‘Vienna around 1900’ – the core of the collection extensively addressed in the museum’s permanent presentation – but also pays tribute to Rudolf Leopold’s enthusiasm for German Expressionism.

Ivan Ristić, curator of the exhibition

The Villa Rothberger in Baden

In 1912, Moriz Rothberger’s fiancé Karolina Tremel purchased a villa in Baden near Vienna. The future married couple commissioned Prutscher to radically redecorate the late-Gründerzeit property. While most of the original furnishings were lost following the villa’s “Aryanization” by the National Socialists in 1938 and subsequent changes of ownership, design drawings and historical photographs afford insights into the building’s former decor.

Otto Prutscher – a multi-faceted designer

The son of a cabinetmaker completed an apprenticeship at his parents’ company before training at the college of woodworking industry and studying at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts. Several years later, he would return to the School of Arts and Crafts as a professor, and act as advisor to the Museum of Art and Industry (present-day MAK). As an architect, Prutscher conceived private residences as well as council houses, created interiors for business premises and coffee houses, and designed exhibitions. He further created items of furniture, glasses, light fixtures, clocks, ceramics, porcelain, metal works, textiles, leatherwork and items of jewelry.

The exhibition at the Leopold Museum

Following an introduction in the museum’s atrium, which kicks off the exhibition with the drawing of a dynamic “dancer” by the Kineticist Erika Giovanna Klien, among other works, the first exhibition room addresses the refurbishment of the Villa Rothberger by Otto Prutscher, and the villa’s present ambiance created by the collectors by means of drafts and documentary material. The second room focuses on examples of artisan craftwork and two eminent portraits by Broncia Koller-Pinell. Throughout the third room, visitors experience Hermi and Fritz Schedlmayer’s interest in painting, illustrated with works by Anton Faistauer, Anton Kolig, Franz Wiegele, Josef Floch, Karl Hofer, Christian Rohlfs, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rotluff and Ernst Wilhelm Nay.

Thanks to the collaborative partnership with the Schedlmayer family, it has been possible to secure a number of extraordinary works as permanent loans for the Leopold Museum, allowing them to interact with the Leopold Collection beyond the duration of this exhibition.

Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Director of the Leopold Museum

Catalogue accompanying the exhibition

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue in German and English with contributions by Daniela Gregori, Martin Kopatschek, Rainer Metzger and Ivan Ristić as well as a foreword by Hans-Peter Wipplinger.


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