Wandering the wooded outskirts of Vienna, you might find yourself viewing a remarkably beautiful 19th-century Palladian villa with a garden filled with art installations. Unlike most villas in the city hills, you can actually go into this one: the Ernst Fuchs Museum features the works and life of the same-named Austrian artist.
- Beautifully-restored house full of Fuchs’s art, furniture, and interior design (he co-founded the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism)
- Be sure to look at the fountain complex out in the gardens, too
- Otto Wagner built the original villa in the late 1880s
- See also: Museums in Vienna
Discovering Ernst Fuchs
The Austrian, Ernst Fuchs (1930 – 2015), was one of those annoyingly multi-talented people who leave you open-mouthed at the breadth and depth of their skills.
Fuchs became famous for his paintings, sculptures, architecture, set designs, drawings, books, and more. His works combine eras, epochs, and styles, draw on symbolism, spirituality, and psychology, and run the gamut from simple charcoal drawings to colourful wall paintings and monumental church ceilings.
A trip to the Ernst Fuchs Museum allows you to dip into the artistic legacy and biography of one of the country’s most renowned artists, but also to simply enjoy some wonderful works of art, furniture, and interior decor.
Fuchs bought the Otto Wagner Villa that now houses the museum in 1972 and restored it completely, changing much of the interior out of necessity given the state of the place. So, for example, the former billiard room is now the Blue Salon, dominated by colourful paintings and a huge bed worthy of Dionysus.
This is not a museal institution in the traditional “cabinet and information displays” sense. Instead, it’s almost a living museum, as if we’re invited to pop into Fuchs’s house, which he has decorated himself. Which is actually close to the truth.
You start on the top floor in a Roman-style open-plan bathroom. A short(ish) video (in German with English subtitles) explores Fuchs’s life a little, his art, and his beliefs and motivations.
The documentary gives you an understanding of Fuchs’s huge imagination, how his works often tie into world events or psychological moments, and how he addresses such themes as mythology, architecture, music, religion, science, landscape, nature, technology, and sexuality. Clearly Fuchs can’t be described as a one-trick pony. The upper floor also features some of his early works.
The real beauty (in my opinion) emerges in the light-filled rooms of the ground floor, where you might find a simple-looking, classically-lined Fuchs sofa sitting beneath an altarpiece hommage to Albrecht Dürer. See for yourself with this virtual tour.
Little (and large) artistic touches grace the museum grounds, too. The highlight comes in the form of the Nymphäum Omega fountain complex, a mosaic of form and colour that defies easy description (at least by me):
Tickets & visitor tips
At the time of writing, entry to the Ernst Fuchs Museum costs €11 for an adult. You also have the opportunity to buy artwork, including (I believe) some originals.
You might want to precede (or follow) a visit with a wander through the surrounding woods. For example, a hiking path goes around the back of the property and up toward the Jubiläumswarte tower. We tried it out and passed through a couple of butterfly-filled meadows, got some excellent views across Vienna, and eventually emerged on a road with a nice little restaurant on it (the BergGasthof on Ulmenstraße).
How to get to the museum
Just follow the directions given on the Otto Wagner Villa page. The museum is a little out the way, up in the wooded hills that bound the west side of Vienna, but accessible by bus.
Address: Hüttelbergstraße 26, 1140 | Website