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Wotruba at the Belvedere 21

Biography Fritz Wotruba

The works of the Austrian sculptor Fritz Wotruba (1907–1975) rank among the classics of modern sculpture. As a successful artist and teacher of several generations of sculptors including Joannis Avramidis, Alfred Hrdlicka and Roland Goeschl, Wotruba had a profound influence on sculpture in the post-war decades. The Fritz Wotruba Privatstiftung in the Belvedere 21 is conceived as a competence and research centre of the artist as well as a platform for modern sculpture and further viewpoints from the area of the figure, body, and space. As part of the ongoing work of documenting and reappraising Fritz Wotruba’s work, such results will be presented in thematic exhibitions at the Belvedere 21.

Study Room

Exhibition Hall, Study Room, and Depot

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. In the study room a wideranging documentation – including archive, depot, photographic archive and library – is available to curators, students, and other interested parties for research purposes.

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.

1962 to 2001
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.
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.

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.

Quartier Belvedere, Arsenalstraße 1,
1030 Vienna