Tellig it like it is doesn’t always bring acknowledgement and admiration in today’s sensitive social media world (of which I am a paid up member). But in the case of Wilhelm Leibl’s art, it gave him a leading position in the realist movement of late 19th-century Germany. The Albertina Museum honours his output with an exhibition.
- Showcases Leibl’s realist paintings and drawings
- Runs Jan 31 – May 10, 2020
- Only needs a normal museum ticket or city sightseeing pass
- See also: Albertina visitor & tickets info
The Art of Seeing
(A copy of Wilhelm Leibl’s painting The Village Politicians by Ferdinand Leenhoff. Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)
The realist movement that began in France found a strong advocate in Wilhelm Leibl (1844-1900), with the great Gustave Courbet one of his biggest influences.
Although born in Cologne, Leibl spent most of his artistic life in Bavaria, either in Munich and then later in the countryside. There he created, for example, his famously everyday scenes of peasant life, and gained wide appreciation for his stark, truthful portrayals of real people. Apparently, Van Gogh was an admirer.
Vienna offers two tributes to the artist. The first is the rather permanent Wilhelm-Leibl-Gasse: a street in Vienna’s 13th district. The second is a temporary exhibition of Leibl’s works at the Albertina museum.
The items on show include Leibl’s paintings, as well as his charcoal and chalk drawings. So you’ll find, for example, the 1891 mixed-medium Self-Portrait, dominated by blacks and greys that make him look like he might step out of a Red Dead Redemption playthrough. Or the 1876 Girl with White Headscarf where the subject glances skeptically at the painter.
As well as drawing on the Albertina’s own collection of several dozen Leibl works, the exhibition includes loans from throughout Europe and the USA (from both museums and private collections). As soon as I get a chance to visit, I’ll post up my personal highlights.
Dates and tickets
During the exhibition, the Albertina should be open daily from 10am to 6pm (9pm on Wednesdays and Fridays).
How to get to the exhibition
The museum sits among the great conclave of top sites around Vienna’s centre, so is easily spotted on your walking tours of the old town. For travel tips, see the main Albertina article. Don’t forget to take a photo of the Staatsoper from the terrace in front of the main entrance.
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna