Sabine Folie, photo © Elodie Grethen

Dear Friends of the Art Collections of the Academy!

We look back on a successful 2023 with three exhibitions in keeping with our idea of establishing an artistic dialogue between the Academy’s historical collections and contemporary artworks. Our aim is to reflect on the historical and iconographic links that exist in image production between the past, the present and the future, against the backdrop of historical, technological and social developments. And it is probably fair to say that we are unique within the museum landscape in adopting such a perspective.
Following the exhibition The Purloined Masterpiece. Images as Time Machines, March saw the launch of the new format Considering the Collection & An Insert by… featuring an ‘insert’ by a contemporary artist. The series got underway with Willem de Rooij and his focus on the animal painters Jan Weenix, Melchior d’Hondecoeter and Dirk Valkenburg in the social constellation of what is referred to as the Golden Age of Dutch painting in the 17th century.

This was followed in the autumn by History Tales. Fact and Fiction in History Painting. The exhibition, on show until 26 May 2024, explores the representation of history and its narratives in terms of identity and nation. And from March 7, you have the opportunity to see new works on show at the exhibition following a rotation of various exhibits (including prints, which in conservation terms are particularly sensitive) and also to acquire the extensive exhibition catalogue.
I am also delighted to offer you a preview of other exhibition projects scheduled for 2024:
June 26 sees the start of the second instalment of an extended collection showcase with Considering the Collection & Cranach’s Holy Productivity – An Insert by Klaus Scherübel. Scherübel focuses on the painting The Holy Kinship (1510/1512) from the Paintings Gallery collection, which Cranach created on the occasion of his marriage to the burgher’s daughter Barbara Brengbier. Here, Cranach has depicted himself, his wife and his father-in-law in the roles of members of the Holy Kinship.
Scherübel’s particular interest is on the painting’s architectural ‘framing’ and the setting in which the ‘Holy Kinship’ is situated as the unorthodox intertwining of two family portraits.
From November 2024, the Art Collections will be on show in the Exhibit Gallery in addition to parts of the Paintings Gallery Wild Apollo’s Arrows. Klopstock Cult & Ossian Fever, curated by graphic artist and visual historian Alexander Roob. As Roob explains, ‘For the cultural philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder, “wild Apollo’s arrows” were the enthralling sounds of an early folk movement and the Nordic drone-scapes of a nascent national mysticism, prefigured in the pseudo-Celtic poetry cycle Ossian. In the visions of the poet superstar Klopstock, wild Apollo appeared in Celtic-Germanic guise that plunged the world into creative turmoil with its bardic song and cosmic ice dance.’ A special aspect of this exhibition will be the fact that it will also involve the participation of students from the Academy.
We trust this preview of our exciting projects has whet your appetite and look forward to welcoming you to the Paintings Gallery.
Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and all the very best for 2024,

Sabine Folie
Director of the Art Collections of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna,
with the whole Art Collections team
Editorial by Sabine Folie
December 2023