History Belvedere

The unique, overall complex, with its two palaces, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, and their extensive gardens, is one of the most stunning Baroque architectural ensembles in the world. In the 18th century, the Austrian general Prince Eugene of Savoy commissioned the renowned Baroque architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt to build a summer residence. After the death of Prince Eugene, Empress Maria Theresa acquired the entire complex and transformed the Upper Belvedere into an exhibition venue for the imperial collections – making it one of the first public museums in the world. The Marble Hall was the venue for important historical events and now offers an unparalleled view of Vienna. The Lower Belvedere, formerly the residence of Prince Eugene, is home to illustrious exhibitions. The modern pavilion of the Belvedere 21, by architect Karl Schwanzer, sets the stage for contemporary art.

Belvedere Schlossgarten vom Hauptbalkon gesehen
Foto: Josef Dobrowsky, © Belvedere, Wien
Construction under Prince Eugene of Savoy

 

 

XXXX

1712

XXXX

Construction work begins at the Lower Belvedere.

 

XXXX

1717

XXXX

Work begins at the Upper Belvedere.

 

XXXX

1718

XXXX

The extensive works on the Baroque park are complete; planned by the French garden architect Dominique Girard, they reflect his expertise of water technology and garden design acquired while working in Versailles.

 

XXXX

1719

XXXX

The Turkish ambassador Ibrahim Pasha is received at the Upper Belvedere. Francesco Solimena, the greatest exponent of Neapolitan painting in his day, is commissioned to paint an altarpiece in the palace chapel and the ceiling painting in the Gold Cabinet. Prince Eugene selects Italian frescoist Gaetano Fanti for the illusionist architectural painting in the Marble Hall.

 

 

XXXX

1720

XXXX

Carlo Carlone, a pioneer of the Rococo style, is commissioned to paint the ceiling fresco in the Upper Belvedere’s Marble Hall.

 

XXXX

1723

XXXX

Completion of the Upper Belvedere.

 

XXXX

1732

XXXX

To improve its structural stability, the Sala Terrena is remodeled into its current form by Hildebrandt.

 

Inhalt 3

Inhalt 4

 

The Belvedere after Prince Eugen’s Death

 

 

XXXX

1736

XXXX

On April 21, Prince Eugene of Savoy dies in his Vienna City Palace. As he did not leave a legally valid will, a commission tasked by Emperor Charles VI appoints his niece Princess Victoria as his heir.

 

XXXX

1752

XXXX

Maria Theresa acquires the Belvedere estates.

 

XXXX

1770

XXXX

Lavish celebrations mark the marriage of the Emperor's daughter Maria Antonia to the French Dauphin, the future Louis XVI, on April 17 at the Belvedere.

 

Inhalt 3

Inhalt 4

 

The Palace as Museum

 

 

XXXX

1776

XXXX

Maria Theresa and her son, Emperor Joseph II, decide to move the Imperial Picture Gallery from the Stallburg to the Upper Belvedere. In keeping with the ideals of Enlightened Absolutism, the imperial collection is to be made accessible to the public.

 

XXXX

1781

XXXX

Inauguration of the Picture Gallery at the Upper Belvedere, hence becoming one of the world’s first public museums.

 

XXXX

1888

XXXX

The imperial collections are relocated to the newly built Kunsthistorisches Museum. After its opening on October 17, 1891, the Belvedere palaces, for a time, are not used as a museum..

 

Inhalt 3

Inhalt 4

 

The Residence

 

 

XXXX

1896

XXXX

By decree of Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1896, the Upper Belvedere becomes the residence of the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand. The building undergoes renovations led by ministerial architect Emil von Förster.

 

Inhalt 3

Inhalt 4

 

The Modern Gallery

 

 

XXXX

1903

XXXX

The Modern Gallery opens in the Lower Belvedere as a state museum and counterpart to the imperial collections. The intent behind its founding is to present Austrian art in an international context. The collection is enriched by acquisitions from the Ministry of Culture and the Association of Fine Artists Austria–Vienna Secession as well as by donations from private individuals.

 

 

XXXX

1908

XXXX

Gustav Klimt's Art Nouveau icon, The Kiss (Lovers), is acquired by the Imperial Ministry of Culture and Education for the Modern Gallery.

 

XXXX

1912

XXXX

The Modern Gallery is converted into the Austrian State Gallery, showcasing a cross-section of Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The collection's holdings are complemented by loans from the Association of Friends of the State Gallery.

 

XXXX

1915

XXXX

Director Franz Martin Haberditzl 

Extensive expansion of the collection, with prestigious donations and permanent loans from patrons such as the Bloch-Bauer, Lederer, and Wittgenstein families among others. At the request of Adele Bloch-Bauer, some of Gustav Klimt's portraits are entrusted to the Austrian State Gallery on permanent loan.

 

 

XXXX

1918

XXXX

The Austrian Gallery is expanded to include both the Upper and Lower Belvedere.

 

XXXX

1938

XXXX

Director Bruno Grimschitz

Close connections between the museum administration and Nazi authorities are evidenced both by the considerable acquisition budget for "native German art" and by the closure of the Modern Gallery under the false claim of "saving degenerate art from confiscation." Despite substantial measures of recovery, important works such as Gustav Klimt's faculty paintings are lost.

 

 

XXXX

1945

XXXX

During World War II the palaces are severely damaged. Bomb strikes destroy parts of the Marble Hall of the Upper Belvedere and the Hall of Grotesques in the Lower Belvedere. Beginning in 1945, the Belvedere palaces undergo reconstruction and renovation.

 

XXXX

1953

XXXX

On completion of repair work, museum operations at the Upper Belvedere resume as the Austrian Gallery.

 

XXXX

1955

XXXX

On May 15, the Austrian State Treaty is signed at the Upper Belvedere: “Austria is free!”

 

XXXX

1968

XXXX

Director Hans Aurenhammer

Exhibition programming is determined by the ministry in charge.

 

XXXX

1982

XXXX

Director Hubert Adolph

The 1980s are marked by financial constraints and shortened opening hours.

 

XXXX

1992

XXXX

Director Gerbert Frodl

The 1990s bring about the modernization of federal museums under the heading "A Billion for our Museums." The two palaces undergo extensive renovations and the collections are restructured. Major exhibitions such as Claude Monet (1996), Klimt's Women (2000), and Franz Xaver Messerschmidt attract international attention and set new visitor records.

 

 

XXXX

2002

XXXX

The 20er Haus, a pavilion created by Karl Schwanzer for the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels, is integrated into the Austrian Gallery.

 

XXXX

2007

XXXX

Director Agnes Husslein-Arco

Installation of a White Cube at the Orangery; remodeling of the 20er Haus and reopening as the 21er Haus; enhancement of the research mandate under the umbrella of the Research Center. The Winter Palais is added as an additional exhibition venue. The Upper Belvedere is positioned as a tourist magnet.

 

 

XXXX

2016

XXXX

Dieter Bogner, Chief Financial Officer

 

XXXX

2017

XXXX

Stella Rollig, Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director

Wolfgang Bergmann, Chief Financial Officer

 

XXXX

2018

XXXX

Single-brand strategy of the Belvedere with three locations:

Lower Belvedere, Upper Belvedere, and the Belvedere 21 (formerly 21er Haus).

 

Inhalt 3

Inhalt 4