The Plastic Arts and Sculpture Collection of the Wien Museum comprises around 2,700 objects. Portrait busts, full-length portrait depictions and monument models make up more than half of the inventory, meaning that there is a close thematic link to the biographical collections of the museum.
Among the oldest art objects in the Wien Museum are the numerous original statues from St. Stephen’s Cathedral dating from the 14th century, which originate from gifts made by the Prince Archbishop’s Ordinariate. The outstanding pieces here are above all the figures of princes from the West Façade (c. 1360) and the Epiphany group from St. Stephen’s North Tower (c. 1380/90).
The core items of the Plastics Arts and Sculpture Collection date from the so-called Ringstrasse Epoch. None of the great cultural and representative buildings on the Viennese Ringstrasse lack an extensive array of sculptures – the same holds true for the new City Hall, which was intended as a status symbol of the municipal construction policy. Important sculptors such as Johannes Benk, Josef Gasser, Karl Kundmann and Viktor Tilgner were commissioned to carry out architectural sculptures. The models for their sculptures can be found in the Wien Museum Collection.
Of the 19th century sculptors, Kaspar Zumbusch, Karl Kundmann, and Viktor Tilgner are notably represented in the collection. Tilgner especially was a highly-regarded portraitist who captured numerous artists, politicians and scientists of his day. With over one hundred portrait busts and monument models the Wien Museum owns a representative and significant Tilgner collection. In the area of 20th century Viennese sculpture, the works of Anton Hanak and his most famous apprentice Fritz Wotruba stand out. The Wien Museum possesses two figural works by this pioneer of modern sculpture in Austria and also a portrait bust of Robert Musil.
Notions of sculpture in contemporary art are broadened by a complex of works by Hans Schabus acquired by the museum in 2004. Titled “A Further Attempt at a Room for ‘Western’”, this complex alludes to the sailing boat “forlorn” and the film “Western” among other references.
DR. ANDREAS NIERHAUS (until 19860)
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