The Albertina remains one of my favourite museums because of the diversity of exhibitions there. You can find Renaissance etchings in one gallery and a Warhol silkscreen print in the next. And now we have a “second” Albertina location as well: the Albertina Modern with its stronger focus on more contemporary art.
This archive lists all the Albertina & Albertina Modern exhibitions I’ve reported on in recent years with links to the original articles.
At the Albertina
Edvard Munch (2022)
An event for the times featuring an artist not known for his bonhomie and bright outlook on life.
The Munch exhibition included numerous pieces by this Norwegian great, but in dialogue with works by artists he influenced (such as Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol.)
Michela Ghisetti (2021 – 2022)
The biggest retrospective to date of this Italian artist’s work reflected the themes that pervade Ghisetti’s art, such as the role of women in society or the female soul.
The Ghisetti exhibition brought a bit of overdue and much missed colour into dark times, too.
Paul Flora (2021 – 2022)
This comprehensive retrospective focused on the drawings of this Austrian illustrator and graphic artist in honour of the centenary of his birth.
Flora’s pen and ink carried us on a journey through time from his early efforts pre-WWII through to the new millennium.
Modigliani (2021 – 2022)
Despite all that late 2021 threw at us, we did at least have the pleasure of a fine (and popular) Modigliani exhibition that drew together quality works from around the world.
The event featured a wide range of Modigliani’s output, sometimes juxtaposed with “primitive” art that invited reflection on his style and sources of inspiration. Works by contemporaries like Picasso or Brancusi added another element to the show.
Hubert Scheibl (2021)
The Seeds of Time exhibition showcased around three dozen of Herbert Scheibl’s works, including his remarkable 12m-long Itamaraca.
Schiebl’s interest in nature and living processes struck a distinct chord given the times (he produced many of the displayed works during the pandemic).
American Photography (2021)
The names of those photographers whose works appeared in the American Photography exhibition suffice to let you know the quality on show: Cindy Sherman, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Robert Frank, Alec Soth…and many more.
The exhibition largely focused on the decades that followed WWII, particularly the portrayal of the diversity of US life and society in a more realistic and critical way than in previous eras.
Franz Hubmann (2021)
The many fine photography exhibitions that graced Vienna in 2021 included Franz Hubmann’s portraits of various artists. These photos form part of the Klewan collection.
Many of those artists captured by Hubmann’s fine eye and lens remain indelibly etched in history, culture and the public consciousness: Warhol, Chagall, Picasso, etc.
Jakob Gasteiger (2021)
The Gasteiger exhibition treated us to this renowned Austrian artist’s strong monochromatic paintings and other items from across his oeuvre.
Gasteiger himself once noted that he doesn’t tell stories with his pictures; his single-colour designs, in particular, encourage you to pay more attention to texture and technique, rather than illusory thematic interpretations.
Xenia Hausner (2021)
The full retrospective for this Austrian artist placed a focus on her staging approach, where scenes to paint are put together almost like stage or film sets.
This constructed reality finds its echo in the exhibition title: the True Lies exhibition paid proper tribute to the genius of Hausner, one of those rare contemporary Austria artists whose fame extends far beyond the country’s borders.
City and Countryside (2021)
This exhibition of landscape paintings slotted perfectly into the 2021 experience, drawing on the Albertina’s own archives to offer an escape from COVID cares and restrictions.
The works on display represented almost five centuries of art and showcased the talents of such names as Bruegel, Dürer, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Cézanne, Renoir, Klee and Kubin. Not bad!
Photography exhibitions seemed particularly popular as we emerged from various pandemic lockdowns. The Faces exhibition, for example, looked at the evolution of portrait photography in the Weimar Republic.
This evolution, for example, involved the modern transition away from pure reproduction of the subject to portrait photos as art and as an integral part of the sociocultural context.
My Generation (2020 – 2021)
The exhibition drew on the Jablonka collection to present some of the artistic highlights of the 1980s with a few more contemporary works thrown in for good measure and a focus on US and German artists.
Names like Mike Kelley, Sherrie Levine and Damien Hirst give you an idea of the prestigious scope of the paintings, sculptures, and other works on display.
The Hahnloser Collection (2020)
Swiss collectors Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler put together a quite remarkable selection of paintings, including many from up and coming artists who went on to become rather famous. As such, the couple played an important role in the evolution of Swiss and French modernist art.
The exhibition featured all sorts of related delights, with works from the likes of Cézanne, Matisse, Van Gogh, Vallotton, Hodler, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Renaissance etchings (2020)
About 125 etchings took us on a journey through the first decades of this technique, revealing the masters of the art that included such fabled names as Albrecht Dürer, Daniel Hopfer, and Albrecht Altdorfer.
The etchings themselves dated back to the 16th century and were grouped by geographical origin or artist to provide a marvellous overview of this particular aspect of intaglio printmaking.
Michael Horowitz (2020)
Austrian Michael Horowitz is one of those rare folk who manage to achieve excellence in all sorts of fields.
This small exhibition demonstrated his prowess with the camera. The subjects of his photos included many recognisable personalities from Austria and abroad, but also particular events from modern Austrian history.
Warhol to Richter (2020)
This exhibition of contemporary and modern works featured an exciting and eclectic mix of artists.
The collection introduced me to the breathtaking output of Gottfried Helnwein, for example, as well as feeding us all with tidbits of creativity from such giants as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Wilhelm Leibl (2020)
Have to admit I knew little about this 19th-century German realist artist but thoroughly enjoyed discovering his work.
Realist is the key word here – the drawings and paintings portrayed rural life with an honesty and simplicity devoid of fake idealisation. I’m guessing Leibl would not have been a huge fan of today’s instagram influencer culture.
Arnulf Rainer (2019 – 2020)
The retrospective of this contemporary Austrian artist’s work included his famous overpaintings and a thoughtfully-presented display of his crosses.
Such an exhibition illustrates the role the Albertina plays in introducing visitors to the wider world of art. You might come for the Monet and Dürer, but leave having discovered a contemporary genius.
Dürer (2019 – 2020)
Now this was pretty spectacular. Oh my goodness. A very rare opportunity to see Dürer’s works in such number.
We can talk about the utter genius of the man, one of those creative stars who burn brighter than those around them. But all you really need to know is that the exhibition included the Young Hare watercolour.
Maria Lassnig (2019)
Lassnig enjoys an international reputation, but this was my first exposure to the work of this modern painter.
Another retrospective that paid hommage to the wide influence the artist had, particularly through her innovative approach to self-portraiture.
Rubens to Makart (2019)
We can thank the Princes of Liechtenstein for this exhibition, which featured numerous highlights from the princely art collection.
The works included some local stars (like Makart and Waldmüller) but also artists of international fame, such as Rubens, Canaletto, and Arcimboldo.
My first major exhibition at the Albertina and not a bad way to start. A collection of around 100 Monets took us on a journey through the artist’s creative evolution.
The selection included such iconic items as paintings from his Rouen Cathedral, Haystacks, Water Lilies, and Japanese Bridge series.
At the Albertina Modern
Egon Schiele and his legacy (2021 – 2022)
This Schiele exhibition placed its focus on self-portraiture and Schiele’s catalytical role in the development of the genre in modern times.
The event included more recent works by those with their own close connection to the self-portrait and its thematic development in recent decades. Think Lassnig, Sherman, and similar.
The 80s (2021 – 2022)
Given the unavailability of an appropriate DeLorean, the Albertina Modern offered the next best thing: a journey back in the time through the medium of art.
The 80s exhibition featured a host of familiar names, such as Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Imagine a pot pourri of modern and contemporary art designed to take you away from the reality of pandemic life and out into the vast potential of the imagination, often with unexpected destinations. That was the Wonderland exhibition.
The works so featured ranged from items of coloured joy to darker abstract works; paintings to sculptures and photos. Names like Warhol and Wurm, Lichtenstein and Lassnig give you an idea of the quality on show.
This huge exhibition of the photos of Nobuyoshi Araki veered intriguingly between, for example, playful representations of Tokyo life and visceral portraits of human (and animal) existence and loss.
Araki’s famous Sentimental Journey series occupied the heart (literally and figuratively) of the works. I was moved.
The Essl Connection (2020 – 2021)
The Albertina Modern’s second exhibition showcased the best of the large Essl Collection of modern and contemporary art that was donated / loaned to the museum in 2018. The acquisition of the collection became one of the driving factors behind the creation of the new site.
The exhibition demonstrated both the quality, depth and variety of the collection’s contents, but also served as a taster for the kind of events we can look forward to from the Albertina’s expansion.
The Beginning (2020)
I didn’t get a chance to go (thanks COVID), but would have liked to see works by such artists as Maria Lassnig, Arnulf Rainer and Friedensreich Hundertwasser.