Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Artful Vienna

I love to see a hotel using art lavishly to create a welcoming atmosphere for guests. We stayed at the Hotel Das Tyrol in Vienna and I was impressed with their many artful touches.

Their 30 rooms each have at least one big painting, and each hall is hung with several large canvases.

The six stories are connected by an elevator and a winding staircase, and each window opening onto the staircase is thoughtfully decorated.

The breakfast room is an oasis, generously embellished with imaginative window displays and paintings large and small.

Being located so close to the MuseumsQuartier, I would like to think their clientele is especially appreciative of these efforts. I would certainly recommend this hotel on all counts. Their artful environment was a real bonus.

Judith, Klimt

(After staggering out of breakfast at the hotel...)

We saw nine art museums / exhibitions in our four days in Vienna. The difficulty for the art tourist in Vienna is that the holdings are spread rather thinly over a large number of venues. I found there was always a slight disappointment on coming to the end of each collection. Yes, the Secession has the Klimt Beethoven Frieze, 105 feet long and permanently installed in an impressive Art Nouveau building, but little else of interest.

Portrait of Wally, Schiele

Yes, the Belvedere Palace has a few important Klimt paintings (including The Kiss and Judith), but to see the best of Austrians Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka one must go to the Leopold Museum.

Der Perser, Kokoschka

The Albertina collection has works by a number of well-known artists (Picasso, Chagall, Monet, Matisse) but only a few of each, and not really first-rate examples either. (They did have a good temporary show on Miro while we were there.) The MUMOK, the contemporary art museum, is a showcase for the most modern of modern work,  inaccessible to most of us, and unless one has the good fortune to attend when a temporary show of better-known work is scheduled, I would give it a miss.

If you enjoy looking at Old Masters, then by all means plan a visit to the Kunst Historisches and to the Academy of Fine Arts. My tastes are idiosyncratic, no doubt, but I much prefer to spend my limited time on the Impressionists and the 20th-century periods. Fortunately, all these museums are grouped within walking distance of each other.

Inspiration Green, Hundertwasser

By venturing a little further, you can find...

 ...the Hundertwasser Museum, truly a must-see. After spending an hour there, one feels that one really has a good understanding of the man and of his work, with more than a hundred of his paintings, prints and tapestries on display. A detailed biography is posted, and a 41-minute video interview is screened continuously. Hundertwasser designed the space himself in his own inimitable fashion, right down to the washrooms and the courtyard café. An Austrian artist, you won't have the chance to see such a vast collection of his work elsewhere.

Flowers series, Mucha

Similarly, even though I'm not a huge fan of Mucha, I made a point of seeing his work in Prague, where a small museum is dedicated to the pretty, art-nouveau work for which he is best known.  His later, serious master work, the Slav Epic, has most of an enormous building devoted to it outside the city centre. I will never see a better representation of Mucha's work than in Prague.

On a closing note, Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts has just opened its show "Van Gogh to Kandinsky, Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900 - 1914." The show runs until January 25, 2015. See you there?

1 comment:

Maggi said...

The hotel looks like a perfect place to stay. Touches like that put it ahead of the competition.