Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien

Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien

Blick in die Säulenhalle mit Hitler-Büste, Schwarz-Weiß-Foto
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Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna

other names: Academia von der Mallerey, Bildthauer, Fortification, Prospectiv und Architectur-Khunst (from 1692), Kaiserl. Hof-Academie der Mahler-Bild-Hauer und anderer freyen Künste (from 1725/26), k. k. Akademie der vereinigten bildenden Künste (from 1772), k. k. Akademie der bildenden Künste (from 1800), k. k. Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien (from 1865), Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien (from 1918), Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (from 1998)

The Academy of Fine Arts was founded on the private initiative of the imperial court painter Peter Strudel (1660–1714) and was officially approved by the imperial household in 1692. After Strudel's death, it was re-established in 1726 as the Public Imperial Court Academy headed by Jacob van Schuppen (1670–1751). The establishment in 1766 of an independent engravers' academy under Jakob Mathias Schmutzer (1733–1811) laid the foundations for the present-day Graphic Collection. Schmutzer's engravers' academy was incorporated in 1772 into the k. k. Akademie der vereinigten bildenden Künste (Imperial Royal Academy of Consolidated Fine Arts), merging the existing art academies in Vienna into a single institution, thereby enabling the collections to be systematically enlarged. A further painting collection, compiled without a specific strategy and intended originally for teaching purposes, was considerably upgraded to become an independent gallery of international standing through the acquisition in 1822 of a legacy from Anton Franz de Paula Graf von Lamberg-Sprinzenstein (1740–1822)—including Hieronymus Bosch's Last Judgment triptych, and works by Rubens, Van Dyck and other seventeenth-century Dutch painters. After moving a number of times within today's 1st district and as a result of the increasing shortage of space, a new building was constructed in 1871 on Schillerplatz, which was officially opened in 1877. After the First World War, the Academy collections became the property of the Republic of Austria.

Already in the years of the Austrofascist regime, the Academy was open to the ideas of National Socialism, and it was rapidly "aligned" after the annexation of Austria in 1938. On 12 March 1938, the Vienna NSDAP appointed a management board consisting of Ferdinand Andri, Wilhelm Dachauer and Alexander Popp, which immediately dismissed thirteen members of staff and remained in place until Popp was appointed rector in summer 1941. The Academy was now answerable to Department IV of the Ministry of Internal and Cultural Affairs headed by Kajetan Mühlmann, and from 1940 the Department for Promotion of the Arts of the Reichsstatthalter in Vienna. Regular courses were suspended from winter semester 1944/45, and the Academy was closed completely at the latest in January 1945 along with all art academies.

In 1938, the Paintings Gallery had around 1,900 works. To enlarge the collection, the provisional board and gallery director Robert Eigenberger, proposed in 1939 to participate in the distribution of art objects from expropriated collections, although no allocations of this type have been identified to date. In August of that year, Eigenberger was instructed to divide the works into categories A, B and C and, in view of the impending war, to arrange for the storage of category A works. In the four storage operations in 1939, 1942, 1944 and 1945, over 600 works, mainly from categories A and B, were stored at Stift Heiligenkreuz, Creditanstalt–Bankverein in Vienna 1, Schottengasse 6-8, Schloss Schönborn in Lower Austria, and Bergwerk Lauffen near Bad Ischl. Eigenberger categorized almost 1,700 works in 1939 as third-class, around 1,300 of which remained in the Academy building. Following an air raid 12 March 1945, 520 works were destroyed or have disappeared. In addition, 120 of the works stored elsewhere were lost through theft or for other war-related reasons. A start was made at the end of 1942 on the storage of works in the library and present-day Graphic Collection. The most valuable objects were stored in a safe in Rockhgasse, Vienna, and less valuable ones in a basement within the Academy, while the least valuable ones were left in place. With few exceptions, surviving source material does not provide any detailed information as to which objects in the present-day Graphic Collection were stored or lost during the war.

On 19 April 1945, when the fighting in Vienna came to an end, Herbert Boeckl took over as temporary rector, and courses started up again a few days later. In the denazification proceedings immediately after the war, thirty-seven members of staff were dismissed, although most were rehabilitated at the latest after the adoption of the 1947 National Socialist Act.

In 1988, the Paintings Gallery was merged with the Glyptothek at the Academy. Under the Art College Organization Act, the Academy was recognized as a university in 1998, retaining the name Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 2003, the Graphic Collection became a separate organization unit from the library. Systematic provenance research in the Academy collections began in 2013. Based on its research findings, the Art Restitution Advisory Board recommended on 11 January 2019 the return of three prints from its Graphic Collection originally owned by Moriz Grünebaum and restituted to his heirs in February 2021. In November 2021 the Art Restitution Advisory Board also recommended the restitution of 33 prints from the Sigmund Stiassny collection and 319 drawings from Rudolf and Maria Perlberger, which had been acquired by the Graphic Collection as a result of a donation in the 1980s.

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Publications about the person / institution

Beatrix Bastl, "Herrschaft des Abschaums". Universitätsbibliothek und Universitätsarchiv der Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien von 1933 bis 1948, in: Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Buchforschung in Österreich (2012) 2, 7–28.

Beatrix Bastl/Paul Köpf, Universitätsbibliothek der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien in der Zeit zwischen 1933 und 1948, in: Bruno Bauer/Christina Köstner-Pemsel/Markus Stumpf (Hg.), NS-Provenienzforschung an österreichischen Bibliotheken. Anspruch und Wirklichkeit, Graz-Feldkirch 2011, 273–288, URL: fedora.phaidra.univie.ac.at/fedora/objects/o:290050/methods/bdef:Content/download (3.12.2020).

Martin Bilek, Die Akademie der bildenden Künste 1967/68 bis 1991/92. Statistik der Meisterschulen und Institute, Wien 1992.

Heribert Hutter, Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien. Akademie heute. Schenkungen d. Professoren u. andere Widmungen, Wien 1977.

Elisabeth Klamper, Zur politischen Geschichte der Akademie der bildenden Künste 1918 bis 1948. Eine Bestandsaufnahme, in: Hans Seiger/Michael Lunardi/Peter Josef Populorum (Hg.), Im Reich der Kunst. Die Wiener Akademie der bildenden Künste und die faschistische Kunstpolitik, Wien 1990, 5–64.

Monika Knofler, 1688, 1692, 1726, 1772. Die ersten 100 wechselvollen Gründungsjahre der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, in: DERDIEDAS, Akademiezeitung Sondernummer zum 325 Jahre Jubiläum, Wien 2017, 28–33.

Carl Friedrich Arnold von Lützow, Geschichte der k. k. Akademie der bildenden Künste. Festschrift zur Eröffnung des neuen Akademie-Gebäudes, Wien 1877.

Irene Nierhaus, Adoration und Selbstverherrlichung. Künstlerische und kunstpolitische Schwerpunkte an der Akademie der bildenden Künste von den dreißiger bis Ende der vierziger Jahre, in: Hans Seiger/Michael Lunardi/Peter Josef Populorum (Hg.), Im Reich der Kunst. Die Wiener Akademie der bildenden Künste und die faschistische Kunstpolitik, Wien 1990, 65–158.

Verena Pawlowsky, Die Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien im Nationalsozialismus. Lehrende, Studierende und Verwaltungspersonal, Wien-Köln-Weimar 2015.

Margatethe Poch-Kalous, Die Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien, Wien 1968.

René Schober, "...da ihre Beschädigung keinen Verlust von unersetzlichen Kulturwerten darstellen würde". Bergungen und Kriegsverluste der Akademischen Gemäldegalerie im Zweiten Weltkrieg, in: Pia Schölnberger/Sabine Loitfellner (Hg.), Bergung von Kulturgut im Nationalsozialismus. Mythen – Hintergründe – Auswirkungen (= Schriftenreihe der Kommission für Provenienzforschung 6), Wien-Köln-Weimar 2016, 149–174, URL: doi.org/10.7767/9783205201564-009.

Renate Trnek, Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. Illsutriertes Bestandsverzeichnis, Wien 1989.

Walter Wagner, Die Geschichte der Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien, Wien 1967.

Publications by the person / institution

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Die K. K. Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Wien in den Jahren 1892–1917. Zum Gedächtnis des zweihundertfünfundzwanzigjährigen Bestandes der Akademie, Wien 1917.
Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien, Die Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Jahrbuch 1940, Wien 1940.
Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien, Jubiläumsausstellung, 25.10.1942–3.1.1943, Wien 1942.

Kupferstichkabinett der Akademie der bildenden Künste, Wien (Hg.), Meisterzeichnungen des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts aus dem Kupferstichkabinett der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. Ausgewählt und bearbeitet von Erwin Pokorny, Wien 1998.

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