The Albertina Museum in Vienna - A History of 130 Years of Graphics


FounderAlbert Saxe-Teshensky
  • Archduke Albrecht Palace
AddressAlbertinaplatz 1 A-1010 Wien
Visitors per year
  • 610,000 people
DirectorDr. Klaus Albrecht Schroeder
Wikimedia Commons Media Files

Albertina (German: Albertina) is an art museum located in the palace of Archduke Albrecht in the center of Vienna. It stores one of the largest and most significant collections of graphics in the world (about 65 thousand drawings and more than one million works of printed graphics). The collection covers the period from late Gothic to modern times. The name "Albertina" came from the name of the founder - Duke Albert of Saxony-Teshen.


The foundation of the graphic collection was laid by the Duke Albert in the 70s of the 18th century in the royal castle of Bratislava, which served as his residence as the ruler of the Hungarian kingdom in 1765-1781.

Albertina's founding letter dates from July 4, 1776 - coincidence with the date of US independence is accidental.

Since the acquisition of the current palace by Archduke Albrecht in 1795, his art collection also moved there. The palace building was rebuilt in accordance with the new purpose. In 1822, the meeting became available to the public. Unlike other collections, access to which was available only to the nobility, the only condition for entering Albertina was the presence of a visitor own shoes. Thus, the circle of visitors to Albertina was expanded, but still inaccessible to the majority of the population.

After the death of Duke Albert, both the art collection and the building were inherited by Archduke Karl, and then Archduke Albrecht Friedrich of Austria and Archduke Frederick of Austria. A further expansion of the exposure dates back to this time.

In the spring of 1919, the building and collection passed from the Habsburgs to the ownership of the Republic of Austria. In 1920, the collection was combined with print collections from the former royal court library. At that time, all exhibits that were privately owned were already taken out of the palace by their former owners, although the placement of the art collection in accordance with the founding letter was tied to the palace. Since 1921, the building and collection are named after Albertina.


In 1996-2003, Albertina was closed to public access in connection with the reconstruction. Already a year after the resumption of its work, Albertina became the most visited museum in Austria. Currently, there are no graphics in the museum’s permanent exhibition; it is shown only during temporary exhibitions. The museum’s collection contains graphics by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rafael, Peter Paul Rubens, Oscar Kokoschka, Rembrandt, Albrecht Durer, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Cezanne and Rauschenberg. The museum holds specialized exhibitions of painting: for example, in 2006 there was an exhibition dedicated to Picasso, and in the fall of 2018 - exhibitions of Pirosmani and Monet. The exhibition dedicated to Dürer graphics runs from September 20, 2019 to January 6, 2020.

In addition to the graphic collection, in 1999 Albertina houses a collection of photographs and an architectural collection of plans, sketches and models.

Albertina Museum in Vienna - Masterpieces and Collections

Perhaps the Albertina Gallery in Vienna is the best demonstration of the evolution of graphic art. The museum's collection can rightly be called unique and diverse. Exhibition halls demonstrate a consistent historical graphic period from the Gothic era to the present.

In 2007, the gallery received a large collection of masterpieces of classical Art Nouveau. In addition, the works of Renoir, Matisse, Cezanne were transferred to the gallery for permanent storage. A special place in the exposition is occupied by a collection of works by Russian authors - Popov, Filonov, Malevich. The German banker presented to the museum a collection of works by famous modernists: Chagall, Kandinsky.

The gallery features a permanent exhibition of works by outstanding masters of painting and graphics. There are also thematic occasional exhibitions dedicated to the work of a particular master.

On a note! In addition, the building houses the National Library’s music collection and houses the Austrian cinema museum. In the palace you can visit the library, reading room, souvenir shop, restaurant. The store at the gallery sells souvenirs, books on paintings, catalogs of paintings and graphics, jewelry.

By the way, the palace, where the exposition is presented, is the largest residence of the Habsburgs. The building is located on the bastion wall of Vienna, in the very center of the city.

It is noteworthy that all the halls are decorated in chronological order and are dedicated to a particular school. Only the most popular and outstanding world masterpieces are presented here. You can admire the unique works of Italian authors of the Renaissance and Renaissance. The most valuable masterpieces of the Dutch school of painting are drawings by Peter Brueghel. The exhibition halls of the gallery are decorated with famous engravings by the hands of Francisco Goya.

Interesting fact! Monarch Albert especially appreciated French art, so most of the collection is devoted to the works of French masters - Boucher, Lorrain.

In the first half of the 20th century, the Vienna authorities focused on increasing the museum fund with the works of French and German masters of the 19th century. As a result, a permanent exhibition entitled “From Monet to Picasso” was opened.

The period of the second half of the 20th century is represented mainly by the works of masters from Germany and America.

The architectural collection also deserves close attention. The exposition is represented by a variety of drawings, mock-ups, which were taken from the fund of the Imperial Residence.

The tourist halls are of great interest. Earlier, Archduke Marie Cristine lived here, then they were occupied by her adopted son, who became famous for the victory over Napoleon’s troops. The rooms are decorated in yellow, green, turquoise tones, richly furnished with antique furniture. The interior of the halls takes connoisseurs of art and tourism to the era of palaces, kings and balls.

How to get to the Albertina Museum

The museum is located in the central part of Vienna. Near locations: Opera House, Hofburg Palace. An elevator and an escalator lead to the entrance. You will have to overcome 11 meters.


If you are traveling by car, follow the signs for Kärntner Str. Near the museum there are paid parking. There are also many taxi services in Vienna.

It is easy to get to the museum in Vienna by public transport. Near the attraction is the Karlsplatz metro station, where trains of U1, U2, U4 lines arrive, as well as Stephansplatz station, trains of U3 line come here. Albertina bus stop 2A. There are two tram stops near the museum: Badner Bahn or Kärntner Ring, Oper. You can get there by trams 1, 2, 62, 71 and D.

Practical recommendations

Enthusiastic reviews about the museum in Vienna are left by art lovers and tourists who are not versed in painting, but appreciate art. Many describe the exposition as excellent epithets, highly value the level of service. Visitors note a special sense of comfort that arises in the bright, sun-filled rooms of the Albertina Museum (Vienna).

Video: walk through the Albertina Museum, a tour through the eyes of a tourist.

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Museum expositions

Today, the Albertina Museum shows the public the gradual evolution of graphic art. The collection is unique and diverse. It stores more than 60 thousand graphic drawings, about a million samples of printed graphics. You can trace the sequence of historical periods, from Gothic to our time, on these works. Albertina is the most visited Austrian museum.

In 2007, the museum was given a large collection of works of European classical Art Nouveau. Herbert Batliner contributed to Austrian culture. In this collection were collected works of Karl Dyrassi and Paul Klee. For indefinite storage Albertine Batliner gave the work of Cezanne, Renoir, Signac, Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec, more than fifty works of Pablo Picasso. A collection of Russian avant-garde artists also appeared in the museum - it was represented by the works of Larionov, Popov, Filonov, Rodchenko and Kazimir Malevich. The banker from Dusseldorf, Kurt Forberg, replenished the Albertina museum collection with the works of modernists: Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Klee.

Today in Albertina there is a permanent exhibition where you can enjoy the immortal creations of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, Michelangelo and Rembrandt, Rubens and Oscar Kokoschka, Klimt, Schiele. Special thematic exhibitions are attractive for visitors and art historians: “Edward Munch”, “Van Gogh”, “Albrecht Durer”.

In addition to the art gallery, the palace houses the music collection of the National Library. The Austrian cinema museum is also located here.