Lentos Museum: A center of contemporary Austrian art

The Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, which opened in 2003, is considered one of the most significant museums of modern and contemporary art in Austria.
Starting from the collection holdings, which focus on masterpieces of European painting from the first half of the 20th century and a rich collection of graphic art and high quality photography, Lentos draws an arch from the classical historical art of the early 20th century to the most current art positions of today.
Building on the collection of the Berlin art dealer Wolfgang Gurlitt (1888–1965), the holdings have been richly expanded since 1953.

Today the focus of the museum is on contemporary Austrian art. Next to the permanent collection, the museum is currently having two temporary exhibitions: “Arnulf Rainer” and “Psycho Drawing”.

The permanent collection offers a wide range from Fin-de-siécle Viennese art with its well-known representatives such as Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka to Actionism painting by Günter Brus or Herrmann Nitsch and the most actual contemporary movements in Austria, including media works by Maria Lassnig and photographs by Valie Export, Alexander Rodtschenko or Man Ray just to name a few.

The exhibition is shown in white-cube rooms and the artworks are arranged in a traditional manner: While at art historical museums it’s common to divide the collection by “schools” (ex.g. “The Medici school”) or geographical origins (ex.g. “French paintings”), modern/contemporary museums tend to organize their museum halls by art movements and that’s precisely what Lentos Kunstmuseum did. The rooms are dedicated to various post-war movements such as Expressionism, New Objectivity, Pop Art and many more, showing the most famous artworks next to less-known images from local artists. Two Warhol paintings for example appear next to some Austrian pop-art images.

What Atelier Judith says: “The appearance of modern sculptures or installations next to 20th century oil paintings and photography works was a great experience for me, since I appreciate the mixture of all forms of media in art. The Arnulf Rainer exhibit was an exciting happening too, because somehow the gallery room merged with the countless many small paintings on the walls. I’ve you’re ever happening to be in the small city of Linz, you definitely have to visit this Austrian center of modern art.”

Did you know? The name “Lentos” is Celtic for “located at the bend of the river”; predecessor for the Roman name “Lentia” for Linz.

Adress: Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1, 4020 Linz (Austria)

Find out more about the museum here


All photos by Judith Bradl (copyright).

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