The writer James Joyce wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. For portraits of writers by artists (of various ages), try the The Noblest of the Noble exhibition at the Leopold Museum.
- Dozens of writer portraits by notable artists
- Includes such names as Picasso and Rodin
- Made possible by a donation by Helmut Klewan
- Runs: May 6 – Aug 29, 2022
- See also:
- Art exhibitions in Vienna
The Noblest of the Noble
(Dodo Reifenberg; Gertrude Stein (1874–1946), 2006 © Leopold Museum, Wien – Schenkung Helmut Klewan, Photo: Sammlung Klewan © Bildrecht, Wien 2021)
The Leopold Museum has a multilayered gateaux of an exhibition for us over summer 2022. Consider The Noblest of the Noble as a two-for-the-price-of-one artistic offer.
We have portraits…largely on paper and canvas, created by a host of resonant names: Kokoschka, Picasso, Ohlbaum, Beckmann, Corinth, Rodin (to name but a few).
So we can enjoy the deft skills and inimitable styles of some of the great exponents of pictorial art.
And we have the subject of those portraits: writers and other literary figures with equally resonant names, such as Cervantes, Schnitzler, Jelinek, and Stein.
So we can also explore connections between two forms of creative endeavour and wallow in the artist’s perspective of those who turn ink into words, rather than colours and lines.
The two genres remain intertwined, of course. Rodin apparently urged would be artists:
…to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.
Creative writing teachers might ask the same of their students.
Voltaire once even observed that:
…writing is the painting of the voice.
And yet Kokoschka’s quote comes to mind:
Open your eyes at last and see…now I will open the book of the world for you, there are no words in it, just pictures.
What does a writer seem to say when they have no words? Perhaps the exhibition has some answers.
Incidentally, the dozens of works on display draw on a generous donation to the Leopold Museum by Helmut Klewan. This Austrian gallery owner, writer, and publisher devoted the best part of five decades to building his collection of writer portraits.
Tickets, dates & tips
Enjoy the portraits of the inspired from May 6th to August 29th, 2022. A standard entrance ticket for the museum gets you into the temporary exhibitions.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
For much of that time, the museum has one or two other temporary delights to entertain you. These include the Kubin exhibition (a little dark, but somehow suited to the world we find ourselves in at the moment).
How to get there
Use the main Leopold Museum article to find the building. You want Level -2 once inside.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna