September 8th, 2019 was the centenary of Maria Lassnig’s birth, and the Albertina museum honours the occasion with a retrospective that opened two days beforehand.
- “Ways of Being” exhibition of the key works of this influential Austrian painter
- A cooperation with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
- Open daily, Sept 6 – Dec 1, 2019
- Just needs a normal museum entrance ticket (or a Vienna Pass)
- All display text provided in English and German
- See also: Events in Vienna | Albertina visitor & tickets info
Lassnig as pioneer
Once largely ignored, Maria Lassnig’s reputation blossomed in her later years when she became recognised as one of the most influential modern-day painters, particularly through the self-portraits that gave form to her “body-awareness” approach to painting.
As a result, Lassnig’s work has graced the exhibition halls of various prestigious institutions, including the Tate Liverpool, London’s Serpentine Gallery, and New York’s MoMA PS1.
Lassnig was a pioneer away from the canvas, too, becoming the first woman to hold a professorship at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (which once counted a certain Gustav Klimt among its students).
The Albertina vaults house over 100 works by this Austrian artist, and these form the basis of a retrospective in celebration of what would have been her 100th birthday in 2019. This video gives you a flavour of what to expect:
The exhibition groups over 70 works by theme, for example her New York period or “Self-portraits”.
For the innocent observer (i.e. me), the most striking aspects are the distinctive colours, and the continuing presentation of multi-faceted projections of self and others (which is a complicated way of saying that the paintings challenge you to grasp that there are all sorts of ways of looking at or trying to understand personality, relationships and the person. Ah, what do I know?)
Two particular highlights for me:
- Woman Power from 1979, where a Godzilla-like woman strides across the New York cityscape
- You or Me from 2005, where an aged Lassnig points a gun at her own head and another at the painting’s viewer. Stark and challenging.
Dates and tickets
See the Lassnig exhibition from Friday, 6th September through to Sunday, 1st December 2019.
The museum has exhibitions running concurrently, so make time for those, too. In particular, a rare Dürer exhibition is on at more or less the same time. Then there is the permanent exhibition of paintings and other items from the Batliner collection, plus the staterooms (the Albertina is a palace – literally and figuratively).
How to get to the Maria Lassnig exhibition
The Albertina is within walking distance of the very centre of Vienna, nestled among the collection of historical buildings that make up, well, pretty much the entire old town. Find subway and tram advice on the main Albertina museum page.
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna | Website