An exhibition like two dollops of ice cream in a single cone. The Leopold Museum features the genius of both Egon Schiele and Friedensreich Hundertwasser in the new Imagine Tomorrow exhibition.
- Constructs a dialogue between these two Austrian-born international art icons
- Features around 200 exhibits
- A treat for admirers of Viennese Modernism and the joyous contemporary art of Hundertwasser
- All info in English, too
- Runs Feb 21 – Aug 31, 2020
- See also: Leopold Museum visitor & ticket info
(Exhibition view: Hundertwasser – Schiele. Imagine Tomorrow © Leopold Museum, Wien, Photo: Lisa Rastl)
It’s one of those dinner party questions: “what if Jane Austen met Shakespeare?”
In Austria, as we sit around enjoying the last of the Schnitzel and pancakes the size of a manhole cover, we ask, “what if Hundertwasser met Schiele?”
Both are giants of Austrian art, whose reputations have long crossed the border into international waters. And neither ever met; Schiele died in 1918, some ten years before Hundertwasser’s birth.
Anyway, the answer to the question comes (sort of) in an exhibition at the Leopold Museum: Hundertwasser – Schiele: Imagine Tomorrow.
Now the fine folk at the museum are not actually engaging in some frivolous intellectual pastime born of late-night discussions over a few too many glasses of wine. Because Hundertwasser and Schiele are actually intimately connected, most notably through the former’s admiration for the latter.
For example, Hundertwasser decorated his home(s) and studio(s) with Schiele’s art, included Schiele in his 1965 work, 622 Mourning Egon Schiele (on show in the exhibition), and once wrote:
I love Schiele, Picasso and Klee and their ilk, and Giotto, the old masters and the like…
The Leopold Museum’s exhibition uses around 170 works to demonstrate how Schiele’s life and oeuvre inspired Hundertwasser’s (early) painting techniques, choice of motifs, and life philosophies.
Biographical items add weight to the thesis presented.
So, for example, you can see the original page that included the above Schiele quote. Or read letters and postcards from Hundertwasser to his mother, where he extols the virtues of Schiele and even ranks him higher than Gauguin and Van Gogh (though to be fair to Vincent, Hundertwasser adds a question mark to the latter comparison).
Numerous paired works illustrate the connection between the two artists. For example, Hundertwasser’s 1951 Self-portrait Marrakesh looks uncannily similar in structure to Schiele’s 1912 Self-portrait with Raised Bare Shoulder.
Aside from the intriguing concept, this is a chance to see works by two of the most renowned artists to come out of Austria. In particular, you can follow the transformation of Hundertwasser’s paintings from their relatively dour beginnings (almost mirroring Schiele’s own colouring) to brighter spiral and abstract forms.
If you enjoy Schiele, be sure to see the Leopold Museum’s excellent permanent Vienna 1900 collection, as well as these other Schiele locations. And if you enjoy Hundertwasser, then definitely visit the Kunst Haus Wien and these Hundertwasser locations.
Dates and tickets
The exhibition should run from February 21st through to August 31st, 2020. Entry to the exhibition comes with a normal museum entrance ticket* (or use a Vienna Pass, for example, for one-time access).
At the time of writing, the Leopold Museum opens from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday (stay longer on Thursdays, when the museum closes at 9pm). But if you visit the Hundertwasser- Schiele exhibition in July or August, then it should open on Tuesdays, too.
How to get to the museum
Just find your way to the MuseumsQuartier. The Leopold Museum is the very obvious building off to your left as you come through the main entrance. A few weeks after the exhibition begins, the new viewing platform on top of the museum opens, so watch for that from the end of April.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna