If I listed all the famous artists featured in the Heidi Horten Collection’s We ❤ exhibition, you might think I’m exaggerating.
- A veritable who’s who of modern art
- Bacon, Basquiat, Chagall, Dine, Haring, Hockney…
- Also features engaging contemporary pieces
- Around 150 works
- Runs Nov 24, 2023 – Aug 25, 2024
- Book tickets for the exhibition* online
- See also:
(Exhibition view: Warhol & Basquiat; press photo: Ouriel Morgensztern © Heidi Horten Collection)
Entering the WE ❤ exhibition at the Heidi Horten Collection feels like attending a soiree at a luxury chocolate store. You wander from one temptation to the next. Just as you indulge in a little Keith Haring, a Jim Dine beckons from across the room.
There’s a certain frisson to standing amidst such a host of instantly-recognisable names.
The exhibition presents some 150 of the best works from the prestigious in-house collection of modern and contemporary art: paintings, prints, collages, sculptures, installations etc.
As a “highlights” exhibition, the absence of a common theme frees you to simply enjoy the art, a task made easier by an open and light viewing environment.
Having said that, some parts do have their own standalone focus, such as German Expressionism or a section dedicated to Rene Magritte.
(Gustav Klimt, Kirche in Unterach am Attersee, 1916; press photo courtesy of the Heidi Horten Collection)
A notable example is one room built around Klimt’s Kirche in Unterach am Attersee painting and featuring other works sharing the same square format.
This Focus format builds connections across the years, linking Vienna’s stalwart of the Jugendstil era through to the modern day in, for example, Sylvie Fleury’s 2002 Diamonds 5329 lead crystal mosaic.
The assembled names on display certainly read like a who’s who of art.
Within a few minutes, I spotted works by artists who all enjoyed recent major solo exhibitions in Vienna’s top museums: Richter, Baselitz, Rothko, Hockney, Basquiat, Picasso, Katz, Munch and others. A small acrylic and pencil work on the end of a protruding wall turns out to be a Warhol.
Given the star quality and the “highlights” theme it almost feels rude to select particular works, but my three favourites:
- The auditorium with its contemporary and recent acquisitions adds playfulness and comment to the more “classic” works. I could have stared for hours at Adolf Luther’s mirrored work with its multiple reflections in different orientations and the remarkable 3D effect.
(I did stare at it for a long while, to the possible annoyance of other visitors.)
(Exhibition view We LOVE, photo: Ouriel Morgensztern © Heidi Horten Collection)
- The slash series set of green, red, white and yellow works by Lucio Fontana creates a lovely aesthetic along one wall.
- Given cloudy skies and snow, Emil Nolde’s flower paintings demonstrate his stylistic evolution and brought a splash of brightness to a wintry Vienna.
Talking of preferences…when inside, look for stations that let you vote for your own favourite works: your input will help determine which pieces appear in the permanent exhibition expected to open autumn 2024.
Dates, tickets & tips
Enjoy the WE ❤ highlights from November 24th, 2023 to August 28th, 2024, though the Klimt part looks to finish earlier (June 2nd according to the website at the time of writing). A ticket for or from the Heidi Horten Collection gets you access to the exhibition.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
If visiting at the turn of 2023/2024, note that the city’s art museums tend to save their best exhibitions for this period.
If visiting in spring/summer, look particularly for the Lichtenstein exhibition at the Albertina.
Combine any of those with WE ❤, and you have a fine time to be interested in art in Vienna.
How to get there
See the main article for travel tips. The Heidi Horten Collection is very central, opposite the Albertina and close to the State Opera House and Hofburg complex.
Address: Hanuschgasse 3, 1010 Vienna