251113 : Wien Museum Karlsplatz: The Austrian Riviera – Vienna discovers the seaside

Wien Museum Karlsplatz The Austrian Riviera – Vienna discovers the seaside 14.11.2013 – 30.03.2014 Vienna on the Mediterranean By Susanne Rohringer In a modified form of the famous poem by Ingeborg Bachmann "Bohemia is located by the seaside", the visitor to the special exhibition in the Wien Museum, "The Austrian Riviera", gets an impression of the northern Adriatic in the years between 1890 and 1914. The so-called "Austrian Riviera" stretches from the Italian seaside village of Grado, through Trieste and down to Rijeka. From 1873 on, one could travel there comfortably with the Südbahn (Southern Railway). By 1857, the Südbahn already went as far as Trieste. Re-routing the Austrian nobility away from the French Riviera down to the Austrian coast was a political intention and was supported by extending the tracks to Istria. Travellers could then continue on to the more southern regions in Split/Spalato and Dubrovnik/Ragusa by steamer. Friedrich Julius Schüler, General Director of the Südbahngesellschaft (Southern Railway Company), supported the development of the region by building several hotels along the coast. Whilst Grado later accommodated the middle classes, the elegant world alighted in Abbazia. There was a health salon, a Hotel Crown Princess Stephanie and a waterside promenade. Female artists played a certain role in the cultural life of the place. The painter, Stephanie Glax, daughter of the local doctor, led the way, and created lithographs of the fishermen, the society ladies and the sea front. The works are on view in the exhibition at the Wien Museum, together with plein air paintings by Emil Jacob Schindler, Eugen Jettel and Egon Schiele. The latter painted a small boat in Trieste harbour in 1908. When one looks at the painting, the movement of the waves and the play of light and shadow are there right before one's eyes. Just how much this spa life enhanced the lives of the elite of the Habsburg monarchy but in no way enhanced trade for the local population, can be gathered from the very comprehensive catalogue published by Christian Rapp and Nadia Rapp-Wimberger. Room furnishings came from Vienna as well as linen, but also the headwaiters, hairdressers, doctors and architects. Even fresh bread was delivered daily from Vienna. The local population were only taken on as ancillaries. The nationality problem – a very touchy subject just before the war – was ignored by the aristocracy. The power struggles between the Slavs, mostly less educated, simple people and the Italian bourgeoisie could definitely be felt. But in Abbazia, one stuck with one's kind. All in all, this Adriatic exhibition in the Wien Museum is a slightly nostalgic retrospection of the lost splendour of an era. But it makes no secret of the dark(er) side of this holiday boom. As in former times, many of us travel with our families from Vienna to the Adriatic. Thus, the Italian, Istrian and Dalmatian coasts are still an aspiration and a collective reservoir of (holiday) reminiscences. The continuities still live on. Even if fragmented. Wien Museum Karlsplatz 1040 Vienna, Karlsplatz Tel: +43 1 5058747-0 Fax: +43 1 5058747-7201 http://www.wienmuseum.at Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00 hours

Wien Museum Karlsplatz
1040 Wien, Karlsplatz
Tel: +43 1 5058747-0, Fax: +43 1 5058747-7201
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10.00-18.00 Uhr

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