Behind its solid facade, this art gallery has Klimt and Monet, Cézanne and Warhol, to tempt you away from the eye-candy of central Vienna.
Neatly tucked between the glory of the Vienna State Opera, and the wider magnificence of the Hofburg, the Albertina may not be as commanding on the skyline. But this 18th-century palace-turned-art-museum contains some of Vienna's most overlooked treasures. Prints from Klimt and paintings from Picasso just scratch the surface of what the Albertina holds in store.
This isn't only a place where Vienna gets to shows off many of its artistic jewels. The beautiful rooms of this Neoclassical palace have been carefully restored to their former glory. The palace was actually built on the site of the last remaining fortifications in the city – atop a bastion – resulting in its odd profile. It was called home by many of the ruling Habsburg family. Now the 21 state rooms recall the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the Archdukes of the 19th century.
Most of the attention from visitors today is focussed on the Batliner collection, which probably has the best coverage of international impressionist painters in Austria. Masterpieces from French & German Impressionism, Fauvism, Russian Avant-Garde and Post-Impressionism are all here. Important paintings such as Monet's The Water-Lily Pond, Degas’ Two Dancers and Cézanne’s Arc-Tal grace the Albertina – all thanks to a generous donation in 2007 by Liechtenstein's Rita und Herbert Batliner Foundation.
Prints are also a major attraction here. Wonderful drawings by Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch and Rembrandt are just a sliver of the million-strong mountain of prints and drawings held at the Albertina. Perhaps the most sought after, though, are the striking prints by Austria's two most famous 20th-century artists – Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. The Albertina is proud to have one of the most complete collections of works by these two Viennese visionaries. It also touches on modern artists, like Andy Warhol.
The Albertina is located in central Vienna and is open every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, with evening opening on Wednesdays.