The Leopold Museum in the Museumsquartier (MQ) is synonymous with the name of Egon Schiele, but recently morphed into a more general art and design museum for Vienna modernism – that incredibly creative period around 1900.
- Art museum and home to the world’s most important collection of works by Schiele
- Features late-19th and early-20th century Austrian artists, architects and designers
- Numerous works by Klimt, Kokoschka, Gerstl, Moser, and others
- Also hosts regular temporary exhibitions. For example:
- Standard adult tickets* are €14 or use the Vienna Pass for free entry
- See also: Museums in Vienna | Klimt locations | Schiele locations
The museum, which opened in 2001, owes its name and collection to Rudolf and Elisabeth Leopold.
In 1918, Spanish flu robbed the world of artist Egon Schiele just as he was on the cusp of widespread acclaim; rebuilding a continent (and destroying it again a few years later) took attention away from the Austrian expressionist.
It was Rudolf Leopold who essentially rediscovered Schiele and played a key role in reestablishing him as one of the world’s greats in the second half of the 20th century. In 2011, Sotheby’s sold a Schiele for over $40 million.
The family’s collection covers over 5,000 works held within the private foundation.
While Schiele is still a mainstay of the Leopold Museum, a complete redesign in late 2018 / early 2019 refocused the exhibition space toward Vienna modernism as a whole. Schiele is now just one of many great artists featured.
Inside the Leopold Museum
The Vienna 1900 permanent exhibition is the centrepiece of the museum, occupying three of its floors. This presents the birth, peak and afterlife of the Vienna modernist movement, beginning with its origins and the likes of Hans Makart and ending with post-WWI developments.
Works by such famous names as Schiele, Klimt, Kokoschka, Gerstl, Wagner, Hoffmann, Loos, Moser, Schoenberg, and others occupy the bulk of the exhibition.
The remaining floors are dedicated to temporary exhibitions, the shop, and a coffeehouse.
Tickets & visitor information
The museum sits in the southern half of the MQ complex, to the left as you come through the main entrance.
At the time of writing, opening hours were 10am to 6pm daily (9pm on Thursdays), but the museum closes on Tuesdays outside the months of June, July, and August. A basic adult entrance ticket* cost €14, with the usual concessions. A Vienna Pass (read an in-depth review) gets you in free.
Some visitor tips:
- There’s a staffed cloakroom to the right of the main entrance (I paid €1 for my coat and bag to be checked in), with free-standing coat racks if you just want to hang up a garment
- Once you pass the ticket control, you enter a huge marbled hall. Look right for stairs and lifts to the other levels.
- The museum galleries are large, bright, and airy, with the works of art quite spread out. So it all feels very open and you’re not overwhelmed (which is helpful if you’re uncomfortable with darker themes and nudity – both of which feature heavily with the likes of Schiele).
- All information displays in the Leopold Museum are bilingual (English and German).
- The large windows on Level 4 give you good views across the Museumsquartier and the old city (unless the blinds are down). You can see the domes of the Volkstheater, Natural History Museum, Art History Museum, and even the distant Rathaus.
- In December, as part of the Winter at the MQ event, huge seasonal images are traditionally projected onto the outer walls of the Leopold Museum. These change daily and make a lovely backdrop while you grab a glass of Christmas punch in the MQ courtyard.
Shop and Café Leopold
The first floor houses the museum shop, which carries the kind of items you’d expect: calendars, postcards, prints, and other typical mementos and designer goods. Klimt dominates the themed items: I’m guessing The Kiss makes a more acceptable napkin than Seated male nude (depends on the meal, though).
There are plenty of books, too, including many in English. This is where to buy your guides to the museum or to the lives and works of the main artists featured within. (I bought “Egon Schiele: an illustrated life” by Roman Neugebauer).
The Café Leopold is a mix of traditional coffeehouse, modern bar and Asian restaurant. It’s accessible without going into the museum, so opens longer.
How to get to the Leopold Museum
Subway: The closest subway station is Museumsquartier (on the U2 line). You can also wander through the MQ complex from the northern end if you get off at the Volkstheater station (on the U2 and U3 lines).
Tram/bus: The 49 tram and 48A bus also go to Volkstheater. The Leopold Museum is not far from the ring tram lines, either. Take the 1, 2, D or 71 to Burgring and it’s a short walk away.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna |Website