The Albertina is an 18th-century palace in Vienna housing a world-renowned art museum featuring collections of painting, sculpture, graphic art, photography, and architecture; among them, the graphic collection is highly regarded as one of the world’s largest and most significant.
The Albertina is located in the historical heart of Vienna not far from the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The museum is housed in a Baroque-style palace built by Count Emanuel Teles Graf Sylva-Tarouca in 1744 and gifted in 1794 to the Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen, hence its name, who enlarged it with the so-called Habsburg staterooms, 21 richly-decorated rooms inspired by the architecture of the Palace of Versailles.
An ambitious renovation and extension project – comprising new state-of-the-art temporary exhibition halls, underground storage areas, technical facilities, and study rooms – was completed in the early 2000s after a design by Austrian architects Steinmayer & Mascher. In the same period, an iconic wing-shaped titanium canopy designed by famed architect Hans Hollein, known as Soravia Wing, was also built in front of the museum.
What to see at the Albertina
The museum showcases four collections, respectively dedicated to modern art, graphic art, architecture, and photography.
The classic modern art collection, composed of permanent loans from private collections, presents an outstanding overview of European art of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. It includes paintings and sculptures by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Modigliani, Matisse, Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, Ernst, Kirchner, Chagall, Giacometti, Magritte, Bacon, Kiefer, and Richter, among many others.
The Graphic Arts collection is truly remarkable with over 50,000 drawings, sketches, and watercolors, including pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Schiele, Klimt, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Anselm Kiefer.
The Architectural collection is composed of drawings, blueprints, sketches, and models from the 16th century to the present day.
The Photographic collection contains more than 100,000 photographs dating from the 1850s onward.
Program of activities, and visitor services
The Albertina organizes special exhibitions, guided tours, educational programs, and art workshops. The building of the museum, which is fully accessible to physically impaired people, also accommodates a restaurant with Viennese and international cuisine, a cafe, and a book and gift shop.
Photos: 3 © Rupert Steiner; all images courtesy of Albertina
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