Wotruba at the 21er Haus

EXHIBITION HALL, STUDY ROOM, and DEPOT

The works of the Austrian sculptor Fritz Wotruba (1907–1975) rank among the classics of modern sculpture. As an internationally successful artist and teacher of several generations of sculptors, Wotruba had a profound influence on Austrian sculpture in the post-war decades and introduced his home country to contemporary international sculpture.
 
The history of establishing a museum for Fritz Wotruba’s work dates back to the late 1960s. The efforts of Fritz Wotruba himself, his widow and heir Lucy Wotruba, the Wotruba-Verein acting upon the request of her will from 1986 onwards, and since 2007 the Fritz Wotruba Privatstiftung as the owner of Wotruba’s estate, eventually arrived at a solution in 2011. In November of that year, Fritz Wotruba’s estate found a new home in the former 20er Haus in the Schweizer Garten: called the 21er Haus, the site became a new centre of contemporary art in Vienna under the direction of the Belvedere, where his work was to be on loan from the Fritz Wotruba Privatstiftung to the Belvedere for a duration of twelve years.
 
Fritz Wotruba and the 21er Haus – Museum of Contemporary Art
There is also a connection in terms of history and content between the sculptor and the building. The former 20er Haus was planned by Karl Schwanzer as the Austrian pavilion for the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958. Fritz Wotruba was commissioned to design a monumental figurative relief, which was later installed in front of the pavilion. Having been transferred to Vienna, the building served as a museum of the 20th century from 1962 to 2001. As such, it fulfilled Wotruba’s long-standing cultural political call for a museum of modern art in Vienna. Wotruba’s relief was displayed in the adjoining sculpture garden, and in 1963 the museum was host to the first large-scale Wotruba retrospective to be shown in Vienna. Since 2002 the building has belonged to the Belvedere; it was extended, renovated, and adapted according to plans by Adolf Krischanitz before being reopened in 2011.
 
Wotruba in the 21er Haus in the Exhibition Hall, Study Room, and Depot in the basement of the 21er Haus is conceived as a Wotruba research centre as well as a platform for modern sculpture and further viewpoints from the area of the figure, body, and space. In the Exhibition Hall projects are on display that are alternately curated and produced by the Fritz Wotruba Privatstiftung and the Belvedere. In the Study Room wide-ranging documentation—Fritz Wotruba’s archive/written legacy, photographic archive, and library—is available to curators, students, and other interested parties for research purposes. The Depot houses the artistic legacy of Fritz Wotruba, which comprises some 500 sculptures in stone, bronze, plaster, and clay, over 2 500 drawings, some 1 500 prints, a few oil paintings and tapestries.
 
The Study Room and the Depot can be visited and used by appointment only. Tours of the Depot are conducted as part of curator-guided tours of the current exhibition, for groups upon request, as well as in the context of events. The Art Education and Visitors’ Service Departments of the 21er Haus offer a wide-ranging educational program on Wotruba.