23 June 2008
The collection of paintings was created by Duke Albert of Saxen- Teschen with the Genoese count Giacomo Durazzo (Austrian ambassador in Venice). In 1776 the count presented 30.000 pieces of art to the Duke Albert and his wife Marie-Christine. Graf Giacomo Durazzo - brother of Marcello Durazzo (Doge of Genoa) - "wanted to create a collection for posterity that served higher purposes than all others: education and the power of morality should distinguish his collection..." In the 1820s, Archduke Charles initiated further modifications of the building by Joseph Kornhäusel, which affected mostly the interior decoration. After Archduke Charles, Archduke Albert and Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen lived in the building.
In early 1919, the building and the collection passed from the Habsburgs into the ownership of the Republic of Austria. In 1920, the collection of prints was unified with the collection of the former imperial court library. The name Albertina was established in 1921. In March 1945, the Albertina was heavily damaged by bomb attacks. The Albertina was completely refurbished and modernized from 1998 until 2003. (source Wikipedia)
Although not as big even half of the Louvre, the museum presented an impressive collection. Monet and Picassos' works were featured along with other impressionists at the upper floor. Paul Klee's works, mostly on paper were also exhibited at the ground floor (well technically just by the entrance which is the mezzanine). As well as Oskar Kokoschka's, an Austrian expressionist, poet and playwright who has been hospitalized after the war and diagnosed as 'unstable.' Nevertheless, he continued his art until he died. His works of late are exhibited too until July 13.