There’s no denying that art is ingrained in the fabric of Vienna; there’s a timeless sense of inspiration and artistic beauty that will always linger in Austria’s Imperial capital.
For travellers, there is art to be found in every form across the city. There are the traditional institutions, which have earnt widespread praise and acclaim on the international circuit, as well as many modern and emerging spaces which run off a new surge of creative energy and have led to Vienna becoming a leader in contemporary art in recent years.
There’s also affordable art to be found and many wonderful surprises to stumble across in the public sphere. Here are some of the highlights.
Museumsquartier the Traditional Go-To
One of the first places travellers go in their pursuit of some art appreciation time is the MuseumsQuartier, a one-stop shop with its impressive 12-strong ensemble of renowned museums, exhibition halls and art spaces. It is one of the largest culture and art complexes in the world.
A standout is easily the cube-shaped Leopold Museum, home to incredible Art Nouveau and Classical Modernism art as well as the largest and most important collection of masterpieces by Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele.
The Museum of Modern Art (mumok) is another favourite – the largest museum for modern and contemporary art in Central Europe. For those who enjoy contemporary art in the form of photography, video, film and installation, Kunsthalle Wien delivers a wonderful and engaging program year-round.
Even just a wander through the complex itself is rewarding though – which could be described as an more of an ‘urban living room’. Find thoughtfully placed cafes, classy restaurants, music venues and relaxation zones nestled amongst the mix of 18th and 19th century architecture. At the centre, a lovely inner courtyard sees people relaxing on the grass and kicking back on the creative courtyard furniture all summer long.
Secession Pavilion for Contemporary Art
A key player in Vienna’s contemporary art scene is the Secession Pavilion – the oldest independent gallery devoted entirely to contemporary art – founded by a group of rebel artists including Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Max Kurzweil and Joseph Maria Olbrich.
In true reflection of the Secession movement – which was all about reuniting the separate arts, such as architecture, painting, sculpture and music under the one common theme – artists often change the outside of the building as part of their work. The building itself – with its impressive gold leaved globe-roof – was built as an architectural manifesto for the Vienna Secession movement in 1897 by Olbrich.
There are up to 15 exhibitions here each year as part of an international program but it is also an important forum for young experimental art. One of the most famous Secession shows to date was dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven in 1902 and Klimt’s 34-metre-long frescoed frieze paying homage to the composer’s Ode to Joy still welcomes visitors in the entrance hall to this day.
MORE GREAT EUROPE INSPIRATION:
Anything and Everything Hundertwasser
Another significant and interesting Austrian artist that you can only experience in all his glory in Vienna is Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who has contributed immensely to the cultural heritage of the city. An artist, architect and environmentalist, these key themes are combined across his works to reflect his philosophies, centred on the idea of harmonious interaction between nature and man.
Kunst Haus Wien (Museum Hundertwasser) is the perfect introduction where you can be wholly immersed in his ideas and aesthetics – a museum designed by Hundertwasser himself and dedicated to his works, including key paintings, graphics, art and architectural designs. It’s the only permanent exhibition of his works to be found while also offering a fascinating glimpse into the processes, beliefs and life story of what was one of the most interesting artists of his time.
The entire building in itself is his work of art – featuring his iconic curving lines, geometric shapes and colourful visuals – unliked anything you’ve ever seen. You can also drop by Hundertwasserhaus (Hundertwasser House) to see more of his artful architectural style adorning a row of apartments where locals live.
Belvedere Museum and Klimt’s The Kiss
Another one of the world’s most famous art galleries to be found in Vienna is the Belvedere, and inside, you’ll find a crowd of people lingering around one particular artwork: Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. It is one of the most recognisable and widely reproduced artworks in history.
Alongside this prized piece, the museum houses another 23 works by Klimt – making it the largest Klimt collection in the world – as well many more homegrown artists such as Oskar Kokoschka and more Schiele, combining to create the world’s greatest collection of Austrian art. Masterpieces by Renoir, Monet and van Gogh can also be admired here, as well as the 19th century creations by Biedermeier.
The wider Belvedere palace and garden complex is also highly admirable, built by Prince Eugene of Savoy – an avid art connoisseur – as his summer residence in the early 18th century.
To this day it remains of the most important baroque buildings in Vienna and you can freely wander the grounds.
100% Original at the Supermarket of Art
For the chance to buy your own piece of original art without the hefty price tag, don’t miss Vienna’s Supermarket of Art. It’s literally a supermarket where you browse the works of young and well-known artists in a collection curated by a distinguished panel of art historians and directors from across Europe.
Choose from a range of artistic mediums, from drawings and watercolours to acrylic and oil paintings as well as some photography. With prices ranging from a moderate 59 to 330 Euros, it’s a unique chance to get a piece of art that’ll long serve as a reminder of your time exploring Vienna’s art scene.
To find out more about Vienna or to book, speak to a Flight Centre Travel Expert today. Call 131 600 or see us in store.