20 Years of the Leopold Museum: “A Young Institution with International Appeal”

7 million visitors, 119 exhibitions and 30,000 guided tours in two decades

The Leopold Museum marked the first 20 years of its existence with a grand celebration on the museum’s panoramic rooftop. On this day two decades ago, on 21st September 2001, the Leopold Museum officially opened in the Austrian capital. On Tuesday, 21st September 2021, Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Artistic Director of the Leopold Museum, and the museum’s Commercial Director Moritz Stipsicz, hosted the festivities to celebrate the museum’s 20-year anniversary on the terrace of the MuseumsQuartier. Celebratory speeches were delivered by Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Josef Ostermayer (Head of the Board of Directors of the Leopold Museum Private Foundation), Elisabeth Leopold, Secretary of State Andrea Mayer (Federal Ministry of Arts and Culture, Civil Service and Sport [BMKÖS]), Finance Minister Gernot Blümel and the President of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, against the spectacular backdrop of the glass installation MQ Libelle, designed by the Leopold Museum’s architects Ortner & Ortner.

Hans Peter-Wipplinger emphasized how an institution as young as the Leopold Museum had managed to gain international appeal within only a few years.

“Museums represent indispensable parameters of society as places of sensual experience and intellectual immersion – not least in the sense of a historical education. They sharpen our view of the world, promote discourse and communication, and make central contributions to the identity formation of a city and country.” 
Hans-Peter Wipplinger

Seven million visitors have been drawn to the most frequented museum in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier over the past 20 years. The Leopold Museum has shown around 120 exhibitions, with the 2018 presentation Egon Schiele. The Jubilee Show, marking the 100th anniversary of the artist’s death, attracting an impressive 450,000 visitors. With some 30,000 guided tours, the museum’s art educators have afforded insights into art and culture. Since 2019, the permanent presentation Vienna 1900. Birth of Modernism – complemented by high-quality permanent loans, acquisitions and endowments – has shed entirely new light on the heart of the Leopold Museum’s extraordinary collection. The exhibition offers a unique world of experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the distinct atmosphere of this vibrant era at the beginning of the 20th century.

The guests attending the 20-year celebrations

The ceremony celebrating the museum’s 20-year anniversary was attended by approximately 260 prominent guests, among them the President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka, the Second President of the Austrian National Council Doris Bures, Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, Secretary of State for Art Andrea Mayer, Josef Ostermayer (Head of the Board of Directors of the Leopold Museum), former Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein, the German Ambassador to Austria Ralf Beste, museum founder Elisabeth Leopold, the Head of the Department of Art and Culture of the Federal Chancellery Jürgen Meindl (BMKÖS), Leopold Museum board members Sonja Hammerschmid, Carl Aigner and Agnes Husslein, accompanied by her husband Peter Husslein, the CEO of the Austrian Post Georg Pölzl (Circle of Patrons of the Leopold Museum) and Eveline Pölzl, OMV CEO Alfred Stern, the President of the Constitutional Court of Austria Christoph Grabenwarter, Christine Teschl-Hofmeister (member of the Provincial Government of Lower Austria), Parnass editor Silvie Aigner, Markus Reiter (Chairman of the District Council of Vienna’s 7th district), the collector Ariel Muzicant, the Director of the Austrian Chamber of Labor Vienna Christoph Klein, director Werner Muhm, Günter Geyer (head of the supervisory board of VIG), Robert Lasshofer (head of the board of directors of VIG), Georg Riedl (attorneys Frotz Riedl), the CEO of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Sabine Haag, the CEO of MAK – Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art Lilli Hollein, the CEO of the Austrian National Library Johanna Rachinger, the Director of the Kunsthaus Wien Bettina Leidl, Johanna Schwanberg (Director of the Dom Museum), Danielle Spera (Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna), Monika Sommer (Director of the House of Austrian History), Christina Schwarz (financial manager Wien Museum), Teresa Mitterlehner-Marchesani (financial manager MAK), Ulrike Sych (Head of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna), Andrea Zsutty (Director of ZOOM Children’s Museum), Dorotheum CEO Martin Böhm, Ernst Ploil (CEO im Kinsky), Michael Kovacek (CEO im Kinsky), Andrea Jungmann (Sotheby’s), Christian Strasser (Director MQ), Klimt Foundation Director Peter Weinhäupl and Sandra Tretter (Deputy Director, Klimt Foundation), the collector Helmut Klewan, Ulrike Emberger (Federal Monuments Office), Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Bettina Hering (Salzburg Festival acting director), the director of the Vienna Tourist Board Norbert Kettner, charity manager Gery Keszler (association LIFE+), author Stefan Kutzenberger, the gallery owners Susanne Bauer, Wolfgang Bauer, Herbert Giese and Alexander Giese, Sylvia Kovacek and Sophie Zetter-Schwaiger, publisher Christian Brandstätter, philosopher Burghart Schmidt, psychoanalyst August Ruhs, Donatella Ceccarelli (Flick Private Foundation), former City Councilor Renate Brauner, Naomi Brauer, artists Timna Brauer, Julia Frank-Avramidis, Franz Graf, Gerda Leopold, Constantin Luser, Lukas Pusch, Hubert Scheibl and Edelbert Köb, Harald Friedrich (CEO Liechtensteinische Landesbank), Klaus and Friederike Ortner, Hannes Pflaum (Pflaum Karlberger Wiener), Nikolaus Gretzmacher (Vienna Airport), Therese and Thomas Niss (Mitterbauer AG), Siegfried Menz (Ottakringer Brauerei), Andreas Plamann (siwacht), Hadi Fontanesi (siwacht), Siegfried Schöffauer (hs art), Anton Schmölzer (Iro & Partners), the architects Laurids and Manfred Ortner, Carl Pruscha and Markus Spiegelfeld, Alfred Hudler (Ottakringer Getränke), Birgit Aichinger (Vöslauer executive board), Benno Pichler (ZONE), Meinhard Rauchensteiner (Office of the Austrian Federal President), Head of Culture of APA Wolfgang Huber-Lang, Michaela Knapp (trend), Clarissa Stadler (ORF), Thomas Trenkler (Kurier), advertising strategist Martin Radjaby, Richard Igler (Bank Gutmann), Saskia Leopold, Hans Raumauf (President of the Association of Friends of the Leopold Museum), and many others.

Atmospheric musical accompaniment

The musical accompaniment to the speeches was furnished by a cello sextet led by cellist Rudolf Leopold. Together with Andrea Molnár, Johannes Krebs, Liliana Kehayova, Domonkos Hartmann and András Gyenge, the son of the museum’s founder performed the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, which premiered in 1904, as well as Claude Debussy’s 1909/10 composition La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair). More music was delivered by DJ Dan and a performance by the artist Constantin Luser who sounded his Vibrosaurs. The anniversary cake in the shape of the Leopold Museum was created and sponsored by the bakery Ströck. Further sponsors of the celebrations included Campari, Pol Roger, Ottakringer, Vöslauer, Weingut Hirsch and Zweigstelle, among others.

The jubilee book

A splendid book has been published on the occasion of the anniversary: 20 Years of the Leopold Museum. 2001 – 2021, editor: Hans-Peter Wipplinger, authors: Alfred Fehringer, Konstantin Ferihumer, Stefan Kutzenberger, Diethard Leopold, Elisabeth Leopold, Alexandra Matzner, Laurids Ortner, Peter Weinhäupl, Hans-Peter Wipplinger; 280 pages, with many illustrations, available at the Leopold Museum Shop.

Open House: Free admission on 26th September

On Sunday, 26th September, the Leopold Museum offers free admission for the entire day as part of its 20-year celebrations. The museum opens at 10.00 am, with free guided tours of Vienna 1900 offered every hour from 10.30 am. The last tour starts at 4.30 pm. The LEO Kids Studio will open from 10.30 am, with free participation for children aged 6-12. From 11.00 am, art education info points will provide information on the temporary exhibitions Josef Pillhofer. In A Dialogue with Cézanne, Giacometti, Picasso, Rodin…, The Schedlmayer Collection. A Discovery! and The Body Electric. Erwin Osen – Egon Schiele.

20 years: Advertising campaign, call to action, jubilee competition and tote bags

The Leopold Museum’s 20-year anniversary has been accompanied by an advertising campaign titled “What will you feel?” launched at the beginning of September. The campaign can be encountered not only on posters, in newspaper ads and radio spots but also at the Leopold Museum. In the museum’s atrium, visitors are invited to share in the celebrations with a call to action – they are asked to write about what they felt when looking at the artworks on anniversary cards. By putting the cards into the box provided, they participate in a jubilee competition. The main prize is a weekend for two in Vienna. Anyone who wants to carry the emotionally provocative advertising line with them at all times can do so in the form of trendy tote bags available at the Leopold Museum Shop.

20 years of the Leopold Museum. The lottery:

The competition for the anniversary is now online on the Leopold Museum’s website: The main prize is a weekend for two in Vienna in a junior suite in the luxury hotel Sans Souci, including champagne breakfast and spa area, a surprise menu at the Café Leopold, a visit to the Leopold Museum including a private tour of Vienna 1900 and two goody bags. Additionally, 20 annual tickets to the Leopold Museum are up for grabs.

To take part, please visit: leopoldmuseum.org/gewinnspiel

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