Vienna is a small gem of a city. Beautiful architecture, not crowded, great cafes, interesting stores and fantastic museums. In one day we were able to see the top things in our list. It was a rainy morning so we started at the museums.
I believe this is a honeysuckle tree. The smell was incredible.
We began at the Leopold Museum. The collection of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele is astounding. Schiele only lived to 28 years old dying from the flu epidemic that had taken over the city. His wife had died three days before and was six months pregnant. He had met Klimt at the Vienna art school. Klimt became Schiele’s mentor. This piece above is from Klimt. The perfection of this painting is so precise that it almost looks like a photograph.
Their other pal was Josef Hoffman, a furniture designer who had made pieces for their homes. These pieces were made in 1902. Quite modern and ahead of his time.
The museum itself is beautiful. Large rooms, grand stair case out of marble.
The exhibit tells the story of Egon and his wife Wally. They were partners as well as lovers. I I I could not help that as I walked through the museum and take in all of the art that one rarely sees without thinking about who owned this art originally. Were these pieces taken by the Nazi’s? Ends up some were. These two pieces Schiele painted were of him and his wife, a double portrait. They are incredible.
Then I noticed something that was written about the pieces. These pieces were originally owned by Lea Bondi Joray, a Jewish art dealer in Vienna who fled to London in 1939 and died in 1969. These paintings were stolen by the Nazis in the 1930’s. These paintings were sent to the MOMA in 1997 as a loan for an Egon Schiele exhibit. It was then that the family alleged that these were stolen property. It was eventually resolved in a US court in 2010 and the Leopold Museum paid a substantial claim to the Bondi Joray estate. In return, they agreed to release the paintings to the Leopold Museum.
Here is another piece by Schiele called Crescent of Houses. The Leopold definitely goes under the list of museums to always return to.
The next stop was the Modern Art Museum of Vienna. This installation is called Ludwig Goes Pop. It essentially shows all the artists that transformed modern art in the 60’s. This piece is by Roy Lichenstein. I love his work. When I was in London, my junior year in college, I went to the Tate museum to see an exhibit of his work. I was mesmerized. I remember thinking this art I love. I believe I went back twice. It was the beginnings of my love of modern art.
Classic Warhols that at this point are just iconic. Flowers 1970.
I love this Jim Dine piece. It was made in 1968. When we were in Paris last year we saw a new piece by Jim Dine that I continue to think about. The price was roughly $1m. To see this piece and the one we saw last year gives a lot of context for me to see his evolution as an artist.
A french artist, Marisol that I am not that familiar with but I thought this was a very cool sculpture.
Tom Wesselmann, Landscape, No. 2 1964. There were also Rauschenbergs, Hockneys and George Segal. Very cool modern building as well. A glass elevator in the middle and the rooms circulate around the elevator. The rooms are white and airy and the elevator area is dark grey.
I captured this piece in the museum shop. Warhol could not have been more right on about the future.
Our next stop was a walk over to the Naschmarkt. We stopped in two stores en route. This store, Nachbarin carries all up and coming designers in Europe. I had not seen one of those designers in the US ever. Impressive.
Next door was an incredible vintage store called Lichterloh. Good news is that they ship to the US.
We got to the Naschmarkt. Stalls of food and at the ends there is clothing. What is impressive is how clean and organized everything is. There is also a Turkish influence.
See all the pickled and stuffed vegetables.
Beautiful pastas neatly lined up.
A cheese shop.
Had to take a photo of this stand.
We sat down for lunch in one of the many restaurants that are throughout the market. Nautilus was packed with mostly businessmen who probably have their lunches there daily. The plates look delicious so we grabbed a table. Might be on of the best things we have had yet on this trip. Grilled fish for two, the Nautilus plate.
Time to walk off lunch. We headed into the area that definitely feels hip. At least one main street in each area has been transformed into walking only, no cars. I like that.
This store, Park, a concept store with collections of clothes, books, shoes and accessories. A bunch of designers that I had never seen before either.
We then walked over to the Stil-Laden, a skateboard shop. Think Undefeated, a NY institution at this point.
This Rauch juice bar intrigued us with the metal bins of vegetables that appear to come straight from the farm. Also, established in 1919. Could they have been that ahead of the times? No. It ends up that they began as a cider mill in 1919 and have slowly evolved into this. Actually quite cool.
We jumped in a cab and went downtown. This yellow light is part of a permanent exhibit called Yellow Fog by Olafur Eliasson. The fog comes out at dusk and creates a haze on the building. We were there in the late afternoon so didn’t get to witness the whole thing but I am glad we got to get the gist.
It was time for the famous chocolate torte. Demel is a pastry shop loaded with pastries and chocolates. It was right down the street from where we were. We decided to go there for the Sacher Torte. The place was packed so I got it to go.
We did peek at the actual bakery in the back before leaving.
We walked down the street and took a seat in front of this beautiful building.
The torte was not that great. It was dry and just not good. Totally disappointed.
I figured if we were in Vienna then let’s just go full out and try another one. We walked back to the Sacher Hotel where we were staying. We sat down in the cafe and ordered our second Sacher Torte of the day. While I was at it I figured an apple streudel was in order too. The chocolate torte here was spot on and the dollop of whipped cream on the side is an added bonus. The apple streudel was incredible. Thinly slices pieces of apple that melt in your mouth rolled inside a flaky crust with hints of butter and cinnamon. A worthy second round of dessert.
We went to our room for a quick rest before heading out for the evening. We are in Vienna so the opera was on the agenda. An absolutely beautiful opera house. We saw Rigoletto. A classic Verdi piece. I grew up listening and playing classical music so I appreciate it. The actual stories of opera are just down right silly but I gather that was entertainment in the 1800’s.
What was super cool is that outside of the opera house there are free seats.
People can sit and watch the opera on a big screen outside in a square. I am a big fan of that. Art should be accessible to everyone. There should also be a percentage of tickets available either free or at a lower cost for those who can’t afford the fancy seats.
I admit we only did one act of the opera before leaving for dinner. It was just all we needed. Dinner was at Skopik & Lohn. A new restaurant in Vienna. Great vibe. They played music from Sam Cooke and Nina Simone. The physical space was really well done. The ceiling was painted in black loops. Wood fixtures separated the space. The menu was the right size.
Fred had the mozzarella and avocado salad.
I had the salmon with thinly sliced apples and fennel.
For dinner, Fred had a deconstructed rabbit ravioli.
I had to have the schnitzel. The entire day was all about Vienna so why stop now. It was the perfect end to a whirlwind of a day in Vienna. Next stop Slovenia.