The Albertina’s permanent art exhibition draws on the Batliner collection, which is on permanent loan to the museum. The works of art cover the progression of painting styles from French impressionism through to surrealism and the modern day.
Even those (like me) who think Alberto Giacometti was a famous Italian soccer player can become quite awestruck by the names of the artists on show: Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Sisley, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Matisse, Munch, Kandinsky, Picasso, Miró, Chagall, Bacon, Magritte…the list goes on.
The collection is presented largely chronologically and each section gives you a brief overview (in German and English) of the concepts behind each style and its place in relation to other genres. The audioguide then lets you dig deeper into the history and meaning of selected works.
The uncluttered, bright museum galleries and the structured layout of the information makes viewing the works of art (mainly paintings, but also sculptures and other items) a most pleasant and informative experience, even for Philistines like myself. You learn without feeling like you’re learning.
It’s almost unfair to pick out single works from what is essentially a collection of masterpieces. By doing so, I’d likely expose my ignorance of what defines artistic worth anyway. You can see what to expect in this video:
It’s certainly quite humbling to find yourself in a room full of Picassos. The collection has dozens of his works, including 10 paintings.
I also found myself staring at Fontana’s “Spatial concept: expectations” from 1964 for reasons I cannot fathom, and the work of Alfons Walde (example) because I’ve seen the kind of Austrian mountain scenes he depicts and the light is just like that.
And let’s be honest, time spent looking at Monet’s The Water Lilies has to be time well spent, no?
P.S. In my defence, there was an Australian soccer player called John Giacometti.