The Wien Museum collects photography extensively, often based on documentary criteria. Around 170,000 photos represent personalities, events and Vienna’s steadily changing urban landscape. Beyond this evidentiary function, photography has also come to occupy a more and more important place in the field of art, the difficulty in distinguishing between the two realms notwithstanding.
The Wien Museum maintains a number of special collections in photography from the interwar period: A large holding derives from the exhibit „Übersee. Flucht und Emigration österreichischer Fotografen, 1920-1940“ (Overseas: The Flight and Exile of Austrian Photographers, 1920-1940; Kunsthalle, 1998) and contains works by Trude Fleischmann, Trude Geiringer, Edith Tudor-Hart, John H. Popper, and Lilly Joss Reich, among many others. Another collection is the extensive photo estate of Robert Haas, another Austrian exilée whose work (ca. 4,000 vintage prints) reaches from 1930s Vienna to 1950s New York. The photographers of Austria’s avant-garde dance community account for another special collection, among them Josef Anton Trčka (Antios), Hella Katz, Martin Imboden and Rudolf Koppitz.
Since the 1960s, the importance of photography in the field of art has been steadily rising. The photos of the Vienna Actionists are an important historical examples for the use of photography in a cross-media context. Among other artists, the Wien Museum possesses works by Rudolf Schwarzkogler, who has been intensively involved with methods of staged photography and the abstract qualities of this medium. Heinz Cibulka, who himself has taken part in many acts, is represented in the Wien Museum with his first autonomous photo series, “Stammersdorf”.
In the 1970s numerous photographic researches led into the hitherto little-regarded areas of the urban landscape. Elfriede Mejchar, who systematically explored Vienna’s outskirts over several years, is represented in the Wien Museum with numerous photographs as is Leo Kandl, who found “his” Vienna in the old wine taverns and railway stations pubs.
Contemporary photography shows itself as diverse and changeable – from concept to narration, from individual portrait to pictorial history, from portfolio to art book. Examples that demonstrate this in the Wien Museum collection include AES+F, Carola Dertnig, Peter Dressler, Candida Höfer, P. A. Leitner, Maria Theresia Litschauer, Margherita Spiluttini and Gregor Zivic.
Increasingly video works are also entering the collection, including works of Leopold Kessler like “Reparatur” (“Repair”) and “Freisprechanlage“(“Intercom”) as well as works of Hans Schabus.
MAG. FRAUKE KREUTLER (Special Collections in the History of Photography)
P: +43 (0)1 505 87 47 85198
F: +43 (0)1 505 87 47 7201
DR. BERTHOLD ECKER (Photography since 1960, New Media)
P: +43 (0)1 505 87 47 84056
F: +43 (0)1 505 87 47 7201