The title is no coincidence. The Amazing exhibition at the Leopold Museum brings us a series of masterpieces covering the last 100 years of art; all drawn from the prestigious Würth Collection.
- Around 200 works
- Features Picasso, Beckmann, Richter, Magritte, Sisley, Lassnig & many more
- Runs Apr 5 – Sept 10, 2023
- See also:
Exhibition of Highlights
(Pablo Picasso, The Orange-Colored Blouse – Dora Maar [Le corsage orange – Dora Maar], 21.04.1940 © Photo: Volker Naumann, Schönaich © Succession Picasso/Bildrecht, Wien 2022)
Imagine a magical door. But locked.
Behind the door lies a treasure trove of art containing thousands of works from one of the world’s most prestigious private collections: everything from Holbein to Hockney.
Now imagine someone gives you the key to that door and says you can choose around 200 masterpieces for your own exhibition.
That’s what happened to the director of the Leopold Museum.
The result is the Amazing exhibition: a highlight tour through the last 100 years or so of art, drawing on works from the Würth Collection.
The exhibition stretches across two floors. One focuses largely on Classical Modernism, where you find the likes of Munch, Pissarro, Mondrian, Sisley, Magritte, not to mention a whole room full of Picassos.
A second floor tackles art of a more contemporary nature: Gerhard Richter, Per Kirkeby, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, and more. Austrian artists like Maria Lassnig and Arnulf Rainer also feature.
As such, the title Amazing feels entirely appropriate. After all, many of the names you see normally feature in their own solo exhibitions. One or two even have such exhibitions in town for part of the same period: Picasso, for example, at the Albertina. Or Baselitz at both the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Albertina.
(Max Beckmann, Quappi in Blue in a Boat, 1926/50 © Würth Collection, Photo: Volker Naumann, Schönaich)
It all begins with three glorious sculptures by Tony Cragg (be sure to also view them through the window from the floor above).
Then we’re right into the chronology: first Max Liebermann, then Impressionism, Expressionism and onwards to contemporary genres. (Bring your art dictionary because the summary texts are fairly liberal with words like Dadaist and plein air.)
Finding highlights among highlights seems a foolish task. But one or two works managed to raise my eyebrows and drop my jaw. For example:
- Edvard Munch’s 1917 Vampire: love and pain in one (as it so often is)
- Magritte’s 1953 panel from the The Enchanted Domain series: the light!
- Max Bill’s 1973 gold-plated brass (?) sculpture Double Surface in Space with two Delimiting Edges: still don’t get how you create that effect, but that might be due to my artistic naivety
- Botero’s Oswolt Krel and his self-portrait (both in the style of Albrecht Dürer) from the late 1960s: wonderful
- Gerhard Richter’s 1971 Details (Kreutz): a flowing work that reminded me of Cragg’s sculptures
(Lisa Rastl: exhibition view of AMAZING. The Würth Collection © Lisa Rastl)
This is the first time these highlights have appeared in Austria, so Amazing represents quite a coup for the museum.
Reinhold Würth is the man who built up the astonishing collection that bears his name. He took over his father’s small business in 1954 and turned it into a global player that now has over 80,000 employees.
Headquartered in the small town of Künzelsau in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the Würth group is notable for its various cultural contributions to society. These include an orchestra (the Würth Philharmoniker) and running five museum locations in Germany.
Numerous Würth company buildings in other European countries also have built-in galleries. For example, the Austrian one (Art Room Würth Austria) is in Böheimkirchen, around 50km due west of Vienna city centre.
Dates, tickets & tips
Enjoy the highlights from April 5th to September 10th, 2023. Any valid entrance ticket from or for the Leopold Museum includes the special exhibitions inside.
Picasso features strongly in the exhibition. As mentioned earlier, make your way to the Albertina for more Pablo-flavoured delights. Their Picasso exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of his death (only runs until June 18th, though).
How to get there
Follow the travel tips at the bottom of the main Leopold Museum article. The exhibition occupies the bottom two floors (start at Floor -2 to view everything chronologically).
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna
(Article icon courtesy of the Met Museum)