290609: Kunsthistorisches Museum: Raum im Bild (Room in paintings) – Interiors from 1500 to 1900

Kunsthistorisches Museum: Raum im Bild (Room in paintings) – Interiors from 1500 to 1900 Chamber music of symphonies? Admittedly, it is difficult to set something against the aesthetic presentation style during the Era Seipel. Everyone was therefore eager to see what the first exhibition under the new director Sabine Haag at the Portrait Gallery of the Art History Museum would be like. And, indeed, it was surprising. The presentation of the 35 works on “Images of Space – Interiors from 1500 to 1900” turned out to be a kind of “home match”. Both an EU project and a recently finalized publication by Karl Schütz, the director of the Portrait Gallery, formed the background. In comparison to portrait, landscape, genre paintings, and still lifes, interiors are not among the classic categories of painting. One can easily detect cross connections among the selection of the presented interiors – e.g. by comparing Carl Moll’s painting with Johannes Vermeer’s “The Art of Painting”, or Jacob Alt’s with Caspar David Friedrich’s “View from his Studio”. However, renowned paintings are now presented in an unspectacular manner on the sage-green walls. Compared to Seipel’s definitely more joyful staging, the now traditional hanging at first comes across as rather musty, and on second view as almost provocative. One important piece of art lined up next to the other - all presented in an extremely reserved way. Pure understatement. The expressiveness of the works is meant to speak for them. Will we in future have to get used to a renaissance of musty museums?! Or is this meant to be an intellectual chess move? Is one toying with the idea that the paintings are set in a relationship to their surroundings? And does the topic “Rooms in a painting” underline the nexus “Room in a painting in a room”? And something else is different: not one painting came from outside Vienna. Even all the loans came from close-by : from the Academy of Fine Arts, the Albertina, the Belvedere, and the Liechtenstein Museum. The time of presentation – from 1500 to 1900 as well as the integration of aquarelles, and thereby assimilating to neighbouring institutions in Vienna, can be viewed as additional innovations. However, the emphasis laid on (aquarelle) painting around 1900, following that of The Netherlands of the 16th and 17th century, remains a mystery. By Maria-Gabriela Marinkowic Kunsthistorisches Museum 1010 Vienna, Burgring 5, until 12.07.09 www.khm.at

Kunsthistorisches Museum
1010 Wien, Burgring 5
Tel: +43 1 525 24 0
Email: info@khm.at
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