Austria is rich in classical and contemporary art spaces. The MuseumsQuartier in Vienna houses some of the country’s most impressive collections and many inspiring galleries lie beyond the capital.
The striking concrete facade of the MUMOK gives the impression that it has been in existence since the dawn of time. It has a powerful presence and an intriguing quality that makes you want to explore its interior. Inside is a fluid collection, focusing mainly on pieces by artists from the 20th and 21st centuries, spotlighting pop art and works that explore Austria’s complex political and social history.
The golden sphere that sits at the entrance makes this Art Nouveau masterpiece recognisable from afar. The Secession was originally a forum comprised of visual artists and architects, including Gustav Klimt and Otto Wagner – who were opposed to conservatism within the art world. The gallery cites itself as ‘an important forum for young experimental art’, promoting new faces and encouraging original form. It is perhaps most famous for being the venue where Klimt created his Beethoven Frieze for an exhibition in 1902, where it was viewed by more than 60,000 visitors. The exhibition hall was designed by Joeseph Maria Olbrich and built in 1897.
It could be argued that the gallery in the Belvedere Museum houses the most important collection in the whole of Austria. The focal point is the world’s largest collection of work by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, with the highlight being his decorative masterpiece The Kiss, a universally recognisable painting. There are many other works that make the Belvedere worthy of a trip – various exhibitions featuring art from around the world take place around the year.
Opened in 2003, this modern art gallery in Linz has garnered a reputation for being one of the most well-respected cultural institutions in Austria. A rich medley of holdings from some of Europe’s most revered figures makes this a must-visit for modern art lovers. Included among the works are masterpieces by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Andy Warhol – with many pieces from the collection of prolific dealer Wolfgang Gurlitt.
Emerging artists get the chance to shine at Bäckerstrasse4; a space dedicated to providing students, who are studying or have recently graduated, with the chance to showcase their work. Exhibitions take place quarterly, with a panel of judges carefully selecting which artists get to spotlight their pieces. Works that feature at the gallery are of a variety of mediums, including everything from sculpture to photography and video art. The gallery gives visitors the opportunity to see what’s hot on the art scene and catch an early glimpse of the city’s best artistic talent.
Kunsthaus has become an unusual architectural icon in Graz, dubbed as the ‘friendly alien’ by locals for its warped, bulging appearance. Located on the banks of the river Mur, the building was conceived by London-based architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier. The gallery showcases work from emerging and well-established contemporary artists and has become an essential institution within the Austrian art scene.
Promoting the work of up-coming artists based in Austria, FÜNFZIGZWANZIG is a cutting edge exhibition space located in picturesque mountainous Salzburg. The exhibitions give you a break from the historic, largely antiquated city; showing some of the country’s most forward-thinking and innovative artists. They are a non-profit and non-commercial institution, purely interested in promoting and supporting emerging talent.
This exciting and innovative gallery houses an impressive permanent collection, with works by Jackson Pollock, Antony Gormley, Henri Matisse and Peter Halley. Alongside these masterpieces, a wave of temporary exhibitions take place throughout the seasons, showing strong collections of paintings, graphics and sculptures by Austrian and international artists.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac specialises in showcasing work by international contemporary artists, running several large-scale events and exhibitions throughout the year. The building was originally the Villa Kast, a 19th-century townhouse in the historical Mirabell Palace gardens. The gallery has two sister spaces in Paris, with a third soon to be opened in London.
The Albertina has been a treasure trove of the finest art collections since 1805. This noble Neo-classical Viennese palace was taken over from the Habsburg dynasty in 1919 by the Austrian Republic, giving it the name of Albertina Graphic Art Collection. The collection is extensive, featuring works by Monet, Degas and Picasso.