Sabine Folie, Photo © Elodie Grethen
Dear friends of the Academy’s Art Collections,
One year after starting as Director of the Art Collections my enthusiasm for the post is undiminished, as is my joy at having the good fortune to work with the superlative collections of the Paintings Gallery, Graphic Collection, and Plaster Cast Collection. Now, my team and I are greatly looking forward to carrying out the projects we have planned for the coming years.
After a start-up period of a number of months, the new style of programming with its focus on a transhistorical orientation – as applied in the exhibition The Purloined Masterpiece. Images as Time Machines – has now met with widespread approval. The response has indeed been resoundingly positive, though controversial opinions have also been expressed on whether historical artworks should enter into alliances with contemporary art production. It is no doubt legitimate for some collections to be purely historical. For a teaching institution such as the Academy, however, it clearly makes sense – and is part of its mission – to take a fresh and different look at the past through a present-day lens. The adventure that we have embarked upon is a rewarding one and we will continue to pursue it, with transhistorical exhibitions alternating with presentations of our highlight works.
There is still time to see the exhibition The Purloined Masterpiece. Images as Time Machines, which has been extended until 29 January 2023.
In our new format Lektionen / Lessons, in which themes arising from the respective current exhibition are considered in greater depth, we cordially invite you to the next lecture by Anna Sophie Berger and Teak Ramos Advice You Can Take at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 18 January. The lecture by Victor I. Stoichita The Nervous Statue. On the Pygmalion iconography in the eighteenth century will take place on Thursday, 26 January.
The newly published catalogue of the exhibition The Purloined Masterpiece. Images as Time Machines, with texts by Sabine Folie, Rodney Graham, Sandra Hindriks, Claudia Koch, René Schober, Allan Sekula, Bernhard Siegert and Victor I. Stoichita can be purchased at a special museum price of 32 euros until the end of the year. It is a highly attractive volume that has all the makings of a perfect Christmas gift!
I am now very happy to be able to give you a Preview of exhibition projects in 2023. In spring 2023, the Art Collections will open the first special exhibition of the year with works from the Paintings Gallery in a new arrangement. Within Considering the Collection, a separate room will be conceptually conceived as An Insert by Willem de Rooij with a special focus on a group of works from the Paintings Gallery by the animal painters Jan Weenix and Melchior d’Hondecoeter. More detailed information will be available shortly.
Furthermore, the show will also feature important works from the Gallery, notably the iconic masterpieces Titian‘s Tarquinius and Lucretia, Pieter de Hooch‘s Family Group in a Courtyard in Delft, and Rubens’s Boreas and Orethya. Hieronymus Bosch‘s Last Judgement Triptych – a national and international visitor magnet – will still hang in its place of honour in the Gallery.
The publication of a comprehensive scholarly museum catalogue of the Paintings Gallery’s Italian, Spanish and French holdings provides a golden opportunity to put a special spotlight on these schools in the framework of the exhibition: from 8 March 2023.
In autumn 2023, the exhibition HISTORY TALES. Fact and Fiction in History Painting will focus on the representation of history with respect to narratives governing national identities. How is the rise and fall of civilizations presented historically? How has human hubris been allegorized in history pictures since the seventeenth century? And what have been the changes in depictions of heroes and heroines, rulers male and female, and decisive historical events up to the present day – in the light of technological change and the invention of photography and film?
In a transhistorical perspective, the exhibition investigates history painting as a genre and juxtaposes works from the historical Art Collections – Paintings Gallery, Graphic Collection, Plaster Cast Collection – with works by contemporary artists. In so doing, it will shed light on the capacity of the history pictures to oscillate iridescently between fact and fiction and its potential for focusing on historicity as an artistic theme in its own right.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to the Paintings Gallery.
With best wishes for a peaceful Christmas season and for the coming year,
Director of the Art Collections of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna,
with the whole Art Collections team