The Winter Palace is to become an exhibition venue for an international encounter
From October 2013 the state rooms at Prince Eugene of Savoy’s Winter Palace in Himmelpfortgasse will be transformed into an exhibition venue for an international encounter as befits their original function. This encounter, however, will be between the Baroque interior, the Belvedere’s collections, and contemporary art by national and international stars. At this location of intellectual and aesthetic delights, an important dialogue will emerge between cultural heritage and contemporary art.
Important art from Austria and the world
One of the Belvedere’s key tasks from fall 2013 will be to establish a further important art center in Vienna’s inner city, building on the cosmopolitan Prince Eugene’s historical heritage and the legacy of his industrious life. Interactions between sites, now reunited after over 260 years, and international encounters in art will shape this scheme. After the first exhibition, commemorating the original owner’s 350th birthday, the objective will be to establish an interaction between contemporary art and the Baroque setting, an interplay already realized with resounding success by some of the world’s major art institutions. In contrast to museum exhibitions, these crowd-pulling art presentations are created with a direct reference to the site and its decor, often inspiring new works from artists. The result is site-specific artworks, unique in terms of both location and history, and generally fundamental in the artist’s work as a result. Major Austrian artists and big international names will be presented with a new site to explore in their art – all based on an interaction with Austrian history and art. Focuses will include the architecture of the city palace, the exquisite historical decor, the Prince’s exceptional art collection, and the rich collection of the Belvedere.
Prince Eugene of Savoy – General, Philosopher, and Art Connoisseur
Prince Eugene was from an Italian noble family by descent, grew up in France, and later lived in the region of today’s Austria – so he was a truly international or even a supranational personality. Travels and war campaigns took him to many countries and he was always receptive to these different cultures. Diplomats and many other illustrious personalities socialized at his palaces, resulting in a vibrant exchange between nations from a political, cultural, and even an artistic point of view. Prince Eugene’s collections clearly reflect these intentions: They encompass paintings by Dutch, Italian, and French masters, precious manuscripts and books, Oriental fabrics, Chinese porcelain, and animals and plants from several continents. The Prince was able to acquire this wide array with the help of an international network of agents and friends, who were well informed about his interests.