THE Permanent Collection at the Albertina

 

Monet to Picasso. The Batliner Collection

 

 

In spring 2007, one of Europe’s greatest private collections of classical modern art came to the Albertina as a permanent loan from the Rita und Herbert Batliner Foundation in Liechtenstein.

The Albertina is now in a unique position to compensate for the major gaps in the Austrian state-run museums’ holdings of international modern art with key works of French Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, German Expressionism, Fauvism and the Russian avant-garde.

The Batliner Collection has received acclaim from museums and connoisseurs for decades. It includes outstanding works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon. These masterpieces can be seen in a new permanent exhibition at the Albertina.

 

The Batliner Collection is augmented by works from the Forberg Collection in Switzerland, which was also transferred to the Albertina on permanent loan.

 

The Collectors Herbert and Rita Batliner

Herbert and Rita Batliner began collecting art nearly half a century ago. Due to their close friendship with the legendary art dealer Ernst Beyeler, French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting formed a cornerstone of the collection from the very beginning, along with the work of

:

Edgar Degas
Two dancers, around 1905

Alberto Giacometti. Exceptional works by Monet such as The Water-Lily Pond, Edgar Degas’ Two Dancers, or Cézanne’s Arc-Tal and Mont Sainte-Victoire landscapes attest to the couple’s passion for French art.
Picasso became an additional focal point. Today he is represented in the collection with over 40 works, including ten paintings and numerous drawings and one-of-a-kind ceramics.
 
In the course of his travels, Herbert Batliner gained familiarity with Russian avant-garde art. He and his wife were inspired by the works they saw in Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, to build their own fine collection of Russian avant-garde art from 1905-35.
The focus of their acquisitions was on Marc Chagall, but they also sought out works by Natalia Goncharova, Liubov Popova und Mikhail Larionow. The collection includes a major work by Kazimir Malevich, painted as a defiant memory image immediately following the artist’s release from a Stalinist prison.
 
 
 
 
 

The Collectors’ Legacy

As the collection has grown from decade to decade, so has its recognition within the art world. Herbert and Rita Batliner regularly lent to museums; rare was the Picasso, Monet, Modigliani or Giacometti exhibition that did not include works on loan from the Batliner Collection.

Several years ago the Batliners decided to respect the integrity of the collection by transferring the entire collection to a museum as a bequest. Convinced that extraordinary art collections are no less distinctive, and as such worth preserving, than great works of art, the Batliners decided to make their collection accessible to the general public in their lifetime. The couple derived enormous pleasure and intellectual stimulation from the daily contact they had with their paintings, pastels, gouaches and sculptures, and now they wanted to share this experience with others.
 

The Batliner Collection and the Albertina

To safeguard the unity of their distinguished collection in perpetuity, the Batliners set up the Herbert and Rita Batliner Art Foundation, which transferred the artworks to the Albertina as a permanent loan.

Together with works from the Swiss collection of Eva and Mathias Forberg, which is also on permanent loan to the Albertina, around 100 works from the Batliner Collection are on display at the Albertina in a permanent new exhibition that traces the development from Impressionism to modern art.

 

Since May 2009, the Albertina has been presenting a permanent exhibition from its own holdings. This has become possible through the transfer of the Batliner Collection to the Albertina in 2007. Outstanding works by Paul Klee from the Carl Djerassi Collection and major works from the collection of Eva and Mathias Forberg complete the new presentation, which is additionally rounded off by exhibits from other collections handed over to the Albertina.

The permanent exhibition spans the most fascinating chapters from more than 130 years of art history, from Impressionism to the most recent present. Paintings by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Miró, Klee, Kandinsky, Chagall, and other masters offer a survey of French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, the Fauves, Expressionism, and the Russian avant-garde. With late works by Picasso and Bacon, the exhibition leads over to the second half of the twentieth century, before it ends with works by contemporary artists such as Anselm Kiefer and Gerhard Richter.

 

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Picture Gallery