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Wien, 1. Bezirk (the art of very renowned palace and museum buildings in the core of downtown Vienna), Palais Erzherzog-Albrecht (Albertina), Albertinaplatz/Hanuschgasse

Wien, 1. Bezirk (the art of very renowned palace and museum buildings in the core of downtown Vienna), Palais Erzherzog-Albrecht (Albertina), Albertinaplatz/Hanuschgasse
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The Albertina
The architectural history of the Palais
(Pictures you can see by clicking on the link at the end of page!)
Image: The oldest photographic view of the newly designed Palais Archduke Albrecht, 1869
"It is my will that ​​the expansion of the inner city of Vienna with regard to a suitable connection of the same with the suburbs as soon as possible is tackled and at this on Regulirung (regulation) and beautifying of my Residence and Imperial Capital is taken into account. To this end I grant the withdrawal of the ramparts and fortifications of the inner city and the trenches around the same".
This decree of Emperor Franz Joseph I, published on 25 December 1857 in the Wiener Zeitung, formed the basis for the largest the surface concerning and architecturally most significant transformation of the Viennese cityscape. Involving several renowned domestic and foreign architects a "master plan" took form, which included the construction of a boulevard instead of the ramparts between the inner city and its radially upstream suburbs. In the 50-years during implementation phase, an impressive architectural ensemble developed, consisting of imperial and private representational buildings, public administration and cultural buildings, churches and barracks, marking the era under the term "ring-street style". Already in the first year tithe decided a senior member of the Austrian imperial family to decorate the facades of his palace according to the new design principles, and thus certified the aristocratic claim that this also "historicism" said style on the part of the imperial house was attributed.
Image: The Old Albertina after 1920
It was the palace of Archduke Albrecht (1817-1895), the Senior of the Habsburg Family Council, who as Field Marshal held the overall command over the Austro-Hungarian army. The building was incorporated into the imperial residence of the Hofburg complex, forming the south-west corner and extending eleven meters above street level on the so-called Augustinerbastei.
The close proximity of the palace to the imperial residence corresponded not only with Emperor Franz Joseph I and Archduke Albert with a close familial relationship between the owner of the palace and the monarch. Even the former inhabitants were always in close relationship to the imperial family, whether by birth or marriage. An exception here again proves the rule: Don Emanuel Teles da Silva Conde Tarouca (1696-1771), for which Maria Theresa in 1744 the palace had built, was just a close friend and advisor of the monarch. Silva Tarouca underpins the rule with a second exception, because he belonged to the administrative services as Generalhofbaudirektor (general court architect) and President of the Austrian-Dutch administration, while all other him subsequent owners were highest ranking military.
In the annals of Austrian history, especially those of military history, they either went into as commander of the Imperial Army, or the Austrian, later kk Army. In chronological order, this applies to Duke Carl Alexander of Lorraine, the brother-of-law of Maria Theresa, as Imperial Marshal, her son-in-law Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen, also field marshal, whos adopted son, Archduke Charles of Austria, the last imperial field marshal and only Generalissimo of Austria, his son Archduke Albrecht of Austria as Feldmarschalil and army Supreme commander, and most recently his nephew Archduke Friedrich of Austria, who held as field marshal from 1914 to 1916 the command of the Austro-Hungarian troops. Despite their military profession, all five generals conceived themselves as patrons of the arts and promoted large sums of money to build large collections, the construction of magnificent buildings and cultural life. Charles Alexander of Lorraine promoted as governor of the Austrian Netherlands from 1741 to 1780 the Academy of Fine Arts, the Théâtre de Ja Monnaie and the companies Bourgeois Concert and Concert Noble, he founded the Academie royale et imperial des Sciences et des Lettres, opened the Bibliotheque Royal for the population and supported artistic talents with high scholarships. World fame got his porcelain collection, which however had to be sold by Emperor Joseph II to pay off his debts. Duke Albert began in 1776 according to the concept of conte Durazzo to set up an encyclopedic collection of prints, which forms the core of the world-famous "Albertina" today.
Image : Duke Albert and Archduchess Marie Christine show in family cercle the from Italy brought along art, 1776. Frederick Henry Füger.
1816 declared to Fideikommiss and thus in future indivisible, inalienable and inseparable, the collection 1822 passed into the possession of Archduke Carl, who, like his descendants, it broadened. Under him, the collection was introduced together with the sumptuously equipped palace on the Augustinerbastei in the so-called "Carl Ludwig'schen fideicommissum in 1826, by which the building and the in it kept collection fused into an indissoluble unity. At this time had from the Palais Tarouca by structural expansion or acquisition a veritable Residenz palace evolved. Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen was first in 1800 the third floor of the adjacent Augustinian convent wing adapted to house his collection and he had after 1802 by his Belgian architect Louis de Montoyer at the suburban side built a magnificent extension, called the wing of staterooms, it was equipped in the style of Louis XVI. Only two decades later, Archduke Carl the entire palace newly set up. According to scetches of the architect Joseph Kornhäusel the 1822-1825 retreaded premises presented themselves in the Empire style. The interior of the palace testified from now in an impressive way the high rank and the prominent position of its owner. Under Archduke Albrecht the outer appearance also should meet the requirements. He had the facade of the palace in the style of historicism orchestrated and added to the Palais front against the suburbs an offshore covered access. Inside, he limited himself, apart from the redesign of the Rococo room in the manner of the second Blondel style, to the retention of the paternal stock. Archduke Friedrich's plans for an expansion of the palace were omitted, however, because of the outbreak of the First World War so that his contribution to the state rooms, especially, consists in the layout of the Spanish apartment, which he in 1895 for his sister, the Queen of Spain Maria Christina, had set up as a permanent residence.
Picture: The "audience room" after the restoration: Picture: The "balcony room" around 1990
The era of stately representation with handing down their cultural values ​​found its most obvious visualization inside the palace through the design and features of the staterooms. On one hand, by the use of the finest materials and the purchase of masterfully manufactured pieces of equipment, such as on the other hand by the permanent reuse of older equipment parts. This period lasted until 1919, when Archduke Friedrich was expropriated by the newly founded Republic of Austria. With the republicanization of the collection and the building first of all finished the tradition that the owner's name was synonymous with the building name:
After Palais Tarouca or tarokkisches house it was called Lorraine House, afterwards Duke Albert Palais and Palais Archduke Carl. Due to the new construction of an adjacently located administration building it received in 1865 the prefix "Upper" and was referred to as Upper Palais Archduke Albrecht and Upper Palais Archduke Frederick. For the state a special reference to the Habsburg past was certainly politically no longer opportune, which is why was decided to name the building according to the in it kept collection "Albertina".
Picture: The "Wedgwood Cabinet" after the restoration: Picture: the "Wedgwood Cabinet" in the Palais Archduke Friedrich, 1905
This name derives from the term "La Collection Albertina" which had been used by the gallery Inspector Maurice von Thausing in 1870 in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts for the former graphics collection of Duke Albert. For this reason, it was the first time since the foundation of the palace that the name of the collection had become synonymous with the room shell. Room shell, hence, because the Republic of Austria Archduke Friedrich had allowed to take along all the movable goods from the palace in his Hungarian exile: crystal chandeliers, curtains and carpets as well as sculptures, vases and clocks. Particularly stressed should be the exquisite furniture, which stems of three facilities phases: the Louis XVI furnitures of Duke Albert, which had been manufactured on the basis of fraternal relations between his wife Archduchess Marie Christine and the French Queen Marie Antoinette after 1780 in the French Hofmanufakturen, also the on behalf of Archduke Charles 1822-1825 in the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory by Joseph Danhauser produced Empire furnitures and thirdly additions of the same style of Archduke Friedrich, which this about 1900 at Portois & Ffix as well as at Friedrich Otto Schmidt had commissioned.
The "swept clean" building got due to the strained financial situation after the First World War initially only a makeshift facility. However, since until 1999 no revision of the emergency equipment took place, but differently designed, primarily the utilitarianism committed office furnitures complementarily had been added, the equipment of the former state rooms presented itself at the end of the 20th century as an inhomogeneous administrative mingle-mangle of insignificant parts, where, however, dwelt a certain quaint charm. From the magnificent state rooms had evolved depots, storage rooms, a library, a study hall and several officed.
Image: The Albertina Graphic Arts Collection and the Philipphof after the American bombing of 12 März 1945.
Image: The palace after the demolition of the entrance facade, 1948-52
Worse it hit the outer appearance of the palace, because in times of continued anti-Habsburg sentiment after the Second World War and inspired by an intolerant destruction will, it came by pickaxe to a ministerial erasure of history. In contrast to the graphic collection possessed the richly decorated facades with the conspicuous insignia of the former owner an object-immanent reference to the Habsburg past and thus exhibited the monarchial traditions and values ​​of the era of Francis Joseph significantly. As part of the remedial measures after a bomb damage, in 1948 the aristocratic, by Archduke Albert initiated, historicist facade structuring along with all decorations was cut off, many facade figures demolished and the Hapsburg crest emblems plunged to the ground. Since in addition the old ramp also had been cancelled and the main entrance of the bastion level had been moved down to the second basement storey at street level, ended the presence of the old Archduke's palace after more than 200 years. At the reopening of the "Albertina Graphic Collection" in 1952, the former Hapsburg Palais of splendour presented itself as one of his identity robbed, formally trivial, soulless room shell, whose successful republicanization an oversized and also unproportional eagle above the new main entrance to the Augustinian road symbolized. The emocratic throw of monuments had wiped out the Hapsburg palace from the urban appeareance, whereby in the perception only existed a nondescript, nameless and ahistorical building that henceforth served the lodging and presentation of world-famous graphic collection of the Albertina. The condition was not changed by the decision to the refurbishment because there were only planned collection specific extensions, but no restoration of the palace.
Image: The palace after the Second World War with simplified facades, the rudiment of the Danubiusbrunnens (well) and the new staircase up to the Augustinerbastei
This paradigm shift corresponded to a blatant reversal of the historical circumstances, as the travel guides and travel books for kk Residence and imperial capital of Vienna dedicated itself primarily with the magnificent, aristocratic palace on the Augustinerbastei with the sumptuously fitted out reception rooms and mentioned the collection kept there - if at all - only in passing. Only with the repositioning of the Albertina in 2000 under the direction of Klaus Albrecht Schröder, the palace was within the meaning and in fulfillment of the Fideikommiss of Archduke Charles in 1826 again met with the high regard, from which could result a further inseparable bond between the magnificent mansions and the world-famous collection. In view of the knowing about politically motivated errors and omissions of the past, the facades should get back their noble, historicist designing, the staterooms regain their glamorous, prestigious appearance and culturally unique equippment be repurchased. From this presumption, eventually grew the full commitment to revise the history of redemption and the return of the stately palace in the public consciousness.
Image: The restored suburb facade of the Palais Albertina suburb
The smoothed palace facades were returned to their original condition and present themselves today - with the exception of the not anymore reconstructed Attica figures - again with the historicist decoration and layout elements that Archduke Albrecht had given after the razing of the Augustinerbastei in 1865 in order. The neoclassical interiors, today called after the former inhabitants "Habsburg Staterooms", receiving a meticulous and detailed restoration taking place at the premises of originality and authenticity, got back their venerable and sumptuous appearance. From the world wide scattered historical pieces of equipment have been bought back 70 properties or could be returned through permanent loan to its original location, by which to the visitors is made experiencable again that atmosphere in 1919 the state rooms of the last Habsburg owner Archduke Frederick had owned. The for the first time in 80 years public accessible "Habsburg State Rooms" at the Palais Albertina enable now again as eloquent testimony to our Habsburg past and as a unique cultural heritage fundamental and essential insights into the Austrian cultural history. With the relocation of the main entrance to the level of the Augustinerbastei the recollection to this so valuable Austrian Cultural Heritage formally and functionally came to completion. The vision of the restoration and recovery of the grand palace was a pillar on which the new Albertina should arise again, the other embody the four large newly built exhibition halls, which allow for the first time in the history of the Albertina, to exhibit the collection throughout its encyclopedic breadh under optimal conservation conditions.
Image: The new entrance area of the Albertina
64 meter long shed roof. Hans Hollein.
The palace presents itself now in its appearance in the historicist style of the Ringstrassenära, almost as if nothing had happened in the meantime. But will the wheel of time should not, cannot and must not be turned back, so that the double standards of the "Albertina Palace" said museum - on the one hand Habsburg grandeur palaces and other modern museum for the arts of graphics - should be symbolized by a modern character: The in 2003 by Hans Hollein designed far into the Albertina square cantilevering, elegant floating flying roof. 64 meters long, it symbolizes in the form of a dynamic wedge the accelerated urban spatial connectivity and public access to the palace. It advertises the major changes in the interior as well as the huge underground extensions of the repositioned "Albertina".

Christian Benedictine
Art historian with research interests History of Architecture, building industry of the Hapsburgs, Hofburg and Zeremonialwissenschaft (ceremonial sciences). Since 1990 he works in the architecture collection of the Albertina. Since 2000 he supervises as director of the newly founded department "Staterooms" the restoration and furnishing of the state rooms and the restoration of the facades and explores the history of the palace and its inhabitants.
Date: 2017-09-29 09:21:30




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