This year, from mid-February to late August, the Leopold Museum, located in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier, hosted an exhibition consisting of 170 paintings, sculptures and installations that belong to the private collection of Heidi Göess Horten (https://hortencollection.com/collection/). The exhibition, suggestively named WOW! and curated by Agnes Husslein-Arco, is but a sample of the 500 art pieces detained by this Austrian art collector. The content and scope of the exhibition, and, by extension, of the collection, are intimately related to Leopold Museum.
The Museum itself was opened to the public in 2001 and it is based on the significant collection of Rudolf Leopold, a modest graduate of Vienna`s Medical School who, as early as 1950, started to amass pieces less known at the time, which would later become immensely successful. Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka are a perfect illustration in this sense. Sometimes, Leopold obtained the paintings in change for the price of his tutoring lessons.
In the same vein with Rudolf Leopold`s inclination for late nineteenth and early twentieth-century art, Heidi Horten and her husband, Helmut Horten, the founder of Horten AG department stores, began in the 1970s to collect modernist paintings, particularly pieces of German Expressionism. After her husband died in 1987, Heidi Horten continued to add to the initial collection. In the last twenty years, the rich inheritor of Horten foundation and estates has wisely acquired a selection of the relevant names of the early twentieth century, modernist, and respectively contemporary painting. Klimt, Picasso, Chagall, Magritte, Fontana, Warhol, Rothko are part of the collection. Indeed, the Heidi Horten`s collection is comprehensive and coherent enough to include pieces of Edvard Munch, Erich Heckel (the founder of Die Brücke artistic movement), August Macke, Kees van Dongen, Roy Lichtenstein and other representatives of Pop Art like Robert Raushenberg, Niki de Phalle, but also Yves Klein, J.M. Basquiat, and finishing with contemporary artists like the British Damien Hirst and Japanese Yoshitomo Nara. These very few mentioned names, as well as the pictures below, do not do justice to the 170 pieces gathered in the exhibition hosted by the Leopold Museum in Vienna, in this summer.
The exhibition WOW! meant that it was for the first time when the Heidi Horten`s private collection, one of the most important in Europe, if not in the world, was accessible to the broad public. Thus, WOW! is an unforgettable experience :).
Pictures: (c) Heidi Horten Collection