On our last day in Vienna we took an excellent tour of the Opera House. This elegant building was built in 1869, and re-opened in 1955 following restoration after devastation caused during World War II. It is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world. The back stage area of the opera house is HUGE, with all the most up-to-date equipment. I really love seeing behind the scenes areas of buildings and this was interesting. Every year there is an Opera Ball, and the opera house is transformed, including the back stage area. In a promotional photo of the event you can see how the space looks. All the seats on the main floor are removed for the evening. What a production! People come from around the world to attend this ball, deemed the epitome of ball culture. Ticket prices start at 230 Euros, and I think these ticket holders are only allowed to watch. Tickets for the 186 couples who dance are much, much more expensive, and sell out years in advance.During our tour the stage was set for a performance and people seemed to be working on prop placement. There was a room with some lovely stone inlay mosaic pieces and gorgeous woven tapestries. So much to see! There were many tours running concurrently in various languages but our guide was able to give a lot of information and answer questions. Tours only run on specific days, so you need to check the schedule when you visit. I would recommend this tour as part of your Vienna visit. As a side note: A recent episode of the t.v. series “Covert Affairs” was filmed in Vienna, with scenes in the Opera House!
This enormous magnificent art history museum is too wonderful for words. So take a look a few of my favorite views. I did look at the artwork – honestly – and there were some amazing items on display. But with a space like this, I didn’t really need anything special. It was. After several hours I was unable to take in another thing. Across the park space in front of the museum sits another identical looking building – the Museum of Natural History. Next time I’m in Vienna, that’s where I’m going. Want to come along?
Here’s a smattering of some of the extraordinary museums I saw in Vienna. All of these deserved more time and there are lots more museums to visit. They will have to wait for another visit to Austria.
The Vienna Secession building was small but absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately the limited exhibit space was closed because they were setting up an exhibition. I missed seeing the Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt. Most disappointing, but this can happen when you have limited time to visit a city. I love the large mosaic planter bowls next to the stairs. Next up was the Leopold Museum – in the museums quartier. There were too many galleries to see, but we enjoyed work by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt (what self-respecting Austrian museum doesn’t have a Klimt?), Andy Warhol and many others. The exterior was somewhat industrial looking, but the interior was elegant and modern. Here’s a taste of the museum:
One of my favorite exhibits was Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds. The dark-colored room had 4 huge fans mounted near the ceiling, and large silver mylar pillows bounced and floated around the room. I sat and enjoyed the kinetic energy for some time. Australian artist Dietrich Wegner created this mushroom cloud-like tree house. It was quite amazing and slighty unsettling. On the wall behind is part of a series of 1,000 landscape cloud photos taken around the world by Olivier Masmonteil. I was attracted to the mosaic-like quality.
Almost next door to the Leopold is MUMOK, the Museum of Modern Art. This museum wasn’t on our list for the day, but we were right next door and the building looked intriguing. I was not disappointed with the building or the art.
That is all for this post. My last museum is so big and so fantastic that I need another post. I’m actually exhausted from going through photos and reliving the museum visits. At least this time my feet aren’t sore!
PS See more of Paul Klee’s work at this site.
Vienna – a city of culture with museums galore. Fabulous museums. Too many to see in just a week. But I think we did a good job with the days we spent, and I have the photos to prove it. The first museum we visited was the Belvedere. The Belvedere Museum is located in the Belvedere Palaces which – renowned Baroque landmarks, with exhibitions in the orangery and stables as well. I enjoyed seeing work by Gustav Klimt, including his famous painting “The Kiss”. This photo from Wikipedia, since you really couldn’t take photos in the galleries.
The art was amazing, and the buildings were breath-taking. My favorite exhibit was a temporary one which featured the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an artist I have admired for many years. The palace grounds were beautiful and they enhanced the excellent museum experience. Unfortunately there was a “no photos” policy inside, so my photos were VERY limited.
The next day we set out to see more museums – an easy task in Vienna. First up was the Albertina, partially situated in a Hapsburg Residential Palace. As usual in Europe, the building is stunning. The artwork is incredible. The Albertina houses the largest and most valuable graphical collections in the world, as well as significant collections of Impressionist and early 20th century art . You can read all about it online, I can show you a few photos but you really should see it for yourself if possible. There was an exceptional show of large prints by Gunter Damisch. I took a few photos before I realized there were no photos allowed in this particular exhibit. I hope it’s alright to share a peak. Each print was about 4′ x 6′. Very impressive. I purchased a book on Gunter’s work, with photos of the actual printing process. Since I prefer working in something smaller, like 4″ x 6″, it is interesting to see how very large prints are done. Here are a few other gems from the museum – two by Claude Monet and two by Paul Signac.