The Wien Museum’s Topographical Collection contains around 25,000 drawings, watercolours, printed graphics and paintings. They document the development of Vienna’s city views, with graphic works from the 18th through to the mid-20th century making up the major part of the collection.
Whereas in the 17th century depictions of the city are concerned with the defensibility of Vienna as a fortress possessing safe fortifications, in the course of the 18th century the perception of the city undergoes radical change. Instead of the overall view, the focus of interest is increasingly on detailed views of streets, squares, Baroque palaces, churches and palaces with grounds in the suburbs. These became popular collectors’ items. Wien Museum examples from this period include the “Wiennerischen Prospecte” (“Viennese Views”) by Johann Adam Delsenbach as well as the famous views by Salomon Kleiner or the splendid “Sammlung der Aussichten der Residenzstadt Wien” (“Collection of Views of the Imperial City of Vienna”) by Karl Schütz, Johann Ziegler und Laurenz Janscha, published by Artaria Publishing House. These works can be found in the museum either sorted by artist’s name or topographically according to district and address.
A further focal point of the collection are the “nostalgic” Vienna pictures reflecting all levels of artistry from the second half of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Especially popular was the genre of the city veduta (detailed painting of the cityscape) in watercolour, which documented the rapidly changing construction work in Vienna in the second half of the 19th century. Outstanding artists such as Rudolf von Alt, the meticulous researcher in Vienna and self-taught painter Emil Hütter, and the watercolourists Erwin Pendl, Franz Poledne, Richard Moser and Franz Kopallik all made vital contributions in this form to shaping a sentimental image of “Old Vienna”, and are strongly represented in the collection.