251113 : Arbeiterkammer Wien : Anna Artaker, Reconstruction of the Rothschild Collection

Arbeiterkammer Wien Anna Artaker, Reconstruction of the Rothschild Collection 13.11.2013 – 30.04.2014 Still life in resistance By Nina Schedlmayer The timing could not have been better: just when every newspaper reported on looted art and restitution (Ucicky, Beethoven fries, Gurlitt), Anna Artaker presented her installation in the Arbeiterkammer Wien (AK - Vienna’s Chamber of Labour). The exhibition shows her wallpaper reconstructions of parts of the Viennese Rothschild family’s collection. Only very few people are aware that both Rothschild palaces, which were expropriated in 1938 and torn-down after the war - were once located at today’s venue of the Chamber and its adjacent education centre. Artaker printed 77 of the hundreds of paintings that once belonged to Nathaniel and Albert Rothschild, as well as their sons, on wallpaper – in their original size including a photo and proof of origin. The latter provides information about the winding paths that some of the works had taken: For example, beneath a portrait of Friedrich von Amerling one finds the following remarks: Intended for the Führer museum in Linz. Restitution 16.5. 1946, 1947 – 1998 Belvedere, Inv. Nr. 4262, Christie’s London, 8.7.1999, lot 211”. More well known are the portraits by Frans Hals, which were housed in the Art History Museum for many years and were only returned in 1998 and played an important role in restitution history. Artaker arranged the works according to the origin of their artists, beginning with portraits and gallant scenes by French artists (Francois Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard), followed by a large number of Dutch paintings (Jan Yet, Jacob van Ruisdael, Adriaen van de Velde, Melchior de Hondecoeter), some Italians (Francesco Guardi, Canaletto) and British artists (Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney and, last, works from German-speaking regions (Hans Holbein, Meister vom Schloss Liechtenstein). Some of the works are shown in black-and-white – as a reference to their unknown whereabouts. In the harsh ambience of the main hall, the prints almost develop a kind of resistance, opposing the austere surroundings that are dissected by dominant pillars. However, the particular style of reconstruction lets the visitors overcome their fear of embarking on something new - a feeling that is usually evoked by traditional museums. The multifaceted exhibition not only communicates information on looted art and restitution, but also on essential questions regarding the presentation of art and its mediation. Arbeiterkammer Wien 1040 Vienna, Prinz Eugenstraße 20-22 http://kultur.arbeiterkammer.at/

Arbeiterkammer Wien
1040 Wien, Prinz Eugenstraße 20-22

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