Masterpieces of Architectural Drawing

Exhibition Overview

Hofpavillon der Stadtbahn in Wien-Hietzing, Orthogonalansicht
Otto Wagner, Hofpavillon der Stadtbahn in Wien-Hietzing, Orthogonalansicht, 1898

Be they Baroque vedutas, magnificent Renaissance buildings, or architectural ensembles like Vienna’s Ringstrasse: since time immemorial, it has been architectural drawings that artists have used both to document the urban and rural past and to envision the future.

The presentation Masterpieces of Architectural Drawing provides new insights into this fascinating genre: a selection of around 120 highlights from the Albertina’s important collection of architecture-related works covers a period running from the Late Gothic and the Renaissance to the Baroque and Classicism, to Historicism and Art Nouveau, and continuing all the way to the architecture of the present day. World-famous drawings by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Theophil von Hansen, Adolf Loos, Frank Lloyd Wright, Clemens Holzmeister or Hans Hollein and many others reveal the essence and unique qualities of architectural sketches while also showing painters’ compositional takes on and naturalistic perceptions of buildings, architectural ensembles, and cities.

Vienna, which has inspired scores of ground-breaking artists throughout history, is itself a masterpiece of architecture and design. The city’s Albertina museum houses one of the most extensive collections of architectural drawings in Austria, 140 of which are on view in this exhibition.

“Many of the presented artists shaped the look of Vienna up until today,” says curator Christian Benedik. The show features figures as disparate as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Zaha Hadid, Frank Lloyd Wright, Francesco Borromini, Adolf Loos and Otto Wagner, whose designs for Art Nouveau railway stations such as Vienna’s Karlsplatz Stadtbahn have never been exhibited before.

(Photo: Otto Wagner, Hofpavillon der Stadtbahn in Wien-Hietzing, Orthogonalansicht, 1898)

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