The joy of Vienna’s Belvedere lies in its twin offer:
- Permanent exhibitions full of masterpieces from the likes of Klimt
- A series of top-notch temporary exhibitions that run from medieval altar panels to contemporary art installations
I don’t cover or review every single exhibition (life gets in the way), but enjoy this archive of finished exhibitions that got coverage on these pages. This should give you an idea of the kind of artistic treasures you might stumble upon on a visit…
- Current Upper Belvedere exhibitions & info
- Current Lower Belvedere exhibitions & info
- See also:
At Upper Belvedere palace
(The Rondinone outdoor installation)
- True to Life: a presentation of 100 years of realist painting, beginning with 1850 and organised by common themes. Included a rare portrait by Klimt, which only reached Belvedere in 2019 (ended November 2022)
- Georg Eisler: as well as showcasing some of his paintings, this small-scale exhibition shone a light on Eisler’s creative process with the help of his own words and sketches (ended September 2022).
- Marc Quinn: the Face to Face exhibition placed Quinn’s Emotional Detox sculptures in dialogue with the Baroque character heads by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (ended July, 2022)
- Art of the World: small exhibition that focused on a single painting by each of three pioneering artists from beyond Western Europe – Raden Saleh, Hakob Hovnatanyan, and Osman Hamdi Bey (ended March 2022).
- Better Times?: presented the various idylls to be found in Biedermeier paintings, especially works by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. But… the exhibition also asked whether these representations were quite as idyllic as we might think (ended February 2022).
- The Age of Dürer: a look at the artists and art of that period of transition in Austria when the gothic slowly gave way to renaissance influences (ended January 2022).
- A Wall of Rainbows: a huge 70m-long outdoor installation by Udo Rondinone, featuring a series of rainbows and related motifs painted by young children (ended November 2021)
- Lovis Corinth: traced the evolution of this renowned German artist and his works from early days from a youthful painter to a master of diverse genres, including impressionism and expressionism (ended October 2021).
- Johann Jakob Hartmann: an in-depth look at recently-restored paintings by this pioneering Bohemian artist. The six works on show included his earth, fire, water and air ensemble of landscapes (ended August 2021).
- Elena Luksch-Makowsky: an exhibition that helped redress the unjustified gender balance in traditional coverage of Viennese art around the turn of the century. The Russian-born Luksch-Makowsky worked with the Seccession and Wiener Werkstätte, for example (ended January, 2021)
- The Master of Mondsee: a quite remarkable series of altar paintings commissioned in the late 1400s. The artist remains unknown, but this was the very first time in 200 years that all the panels could be seen together (ended September, 2020)
- Josef Ignaz Mildorfer. Rebel of the Baroque: a 300th birthday celebration for this painter that featured his battle paintings, his influence as a teacher, and his work as a commissioned artist for the high and mighty of central Europe (ended January, 2020)
(More on Upper Belvedere and its exhibitions here)
The Carlone Contemporary exhibitions are an ongoing series where a single work of contemporary art is placed beneath the early 18th-century ceiling frescoes in the Carlone Hall at Upper Belvedere.
The juxtaposition of old and new forms the context for the series.
- Rona Pondick: a metal hybrid of sculpted monkeys and Pondick’s own form that invited a closer look, played with our perceptions, and reflected a conceptual and physical duality at different levels (ended January, 2023)
- Lena Henke: the Aldo Rossi’s Sleeping Elephant installation offered an ambiguous view. Are we observing an abstract yellow elephant or a set of horizontal arches? Perhaps both (ended August, 2022)
- Volkmar Klien: an installation that merged sound, colour, and movement in one through a remarkable pendulum clock and peacock feather installation (ended February, 2022)
- Irene and Christine Hohenbüchler: sculptural objects created by the twins (ended September, 2021)
- Renate Bertlmann: an adaptation of her Discordo Ergo Sum installation, featuring dozens of glass roses (ended January, 2021)
- Walter Pichler. Alte Figur: Pichler’s abstract metal female sculpture protruding from a mattress (ended February, 2020)
- Uli Aigner: a giant multi-coloured porcelain vase (ended November, 2019)
At Lower Belvedere palace
- Grow: an eclectic mix of an exhibition looking at the different roles that trees have played in art through the centuries. Everything from 16th-century religious motifs through to contemporary art offering environmental commentary (ended January, 2023)
- Viva Venezia!: few cities cast a longer shadow on the world and the cultural memory quite like Venice. This exhibition highlighted the position of the lagoon city in the Austrian consciousness, as represented in (and influenced by) art (ended September, 2022)
- Wolfgang Paalen (1905–1959): a chronological journey through the life and works of this Austrian surrealist, who was a colleague of Dalí and an influence on the likes of Jackson Pollack. The Fumage oil paintings proved a particular highlight (ended January, 2020)
- Into the Night: a rather wonderful look at how various iconic clubs and cabarets contributed to the creation of art, whether directly (e.g. through posters, decor, and performances) or indirectly (e.g. by fostering artistic expression and exchange). (Ended June, 2020)
(More on Lower Belvedere and its exhibitions here)
In the Orangerie
(The Orangery seen from the kammergarten)
- Joseph Rebell: a joyous look at the early 18th-century landscapes of this Vienna-born painter. His mastery of light, in particular, revealed itself in gorgeous Italian vistas (ended November, 2022)
- Dalí – Freud: the exhibition examined some of they key influences on the work and art of Salvador Dalí, with a focus on the role of Freud and psychoanalysis. We also learned about the famous 1938 meeting of the two in London (ended May, 2022)
- Johanna Kandl: an intriguing little exhibition, where Kandl went “behind the scenes” to tell the story of the materials that go into paintings. She illustrated the tale with her own works and those from the Belvedere collections (ended January, 2020)
- Talking Heads: one of my favourites. The exhibition presented a dozen of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s remarkable 18th-century busts, but accompanied by contemporary art that shares a similar theme. Arnulf Rainer and Maria Lassnig were among the prominent artists so featured (ended August 2019)
(More on the Orangerie and its current exhibition here)
At Belvedere 21
This is the one Belvedere institution that I rarely get to, unfortunately. Their remit covers more contemporary works than the main Belvedere site.
- Attersee: a wide-ranging retrospective of the work of Christian Ludwig Attersee that burst with colour and imagination while defying my flimsy abilities to offer any kind of general description (ended August, 2019)
(More on Belvedere 21 here)