Albertina, one of the most visited spots in Vienna, is a museum located in the First District of the Austrian capital city. Albertina is by general consent world's largest print room.
The print room is regarded as a space in an art gallery, library or museum that holds and exhibits a special collection of drawings and prints, not just copper engraving, usually together with watercolors and photographs. Sometimes, alternative terms such as "graphics collection" or "graphic cabinet" are in use. Albertina is one of the few print rooms that exist as a separate institution. Due to its vulnerability and propensity to damage, if exposed to light and humidity, print works can’t be on open display for more than six months. For the conservation reasons, artworks are kept in albums or portfolios, or even in inert, acid-free boxes, often behind the closed doors. The works of art in Albertina are stored in a fully automated high-bay warehouse.
In its possession, Albertina has 65,000 drawings and approximately one million old master prints. Old master prints are the artworks dating back to the period between the 15th century and 1830, produced by a printing process within the Western tradition. Numerous great European artists were also printmakers. Apart from old master prints, Albertina has a collection of modern graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings. The majority of the works come from the collection of Duke Albert, which is one of the world's most important art collections. For more than 50 years, Duke Albert, the son-in-law of Maria Theresa, has used a pan-European network of dealers and auctions of large private collections to acquire 14,000 drawings and 200,000 prints. The collection includes the works of the masters such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci and many others. Albertina carries the name after Duke Albert, who was the founder of this collection.
In 2007, Albertina received a generous gift - a private collection from the family Batliner, one of the most important European private collectors. The lawyer and financial trustee Herbert Batliner and his wife Rita Batliner began collecting the artworks in the 1960s. From the beginning, their focus was on the paintings of French impressionist and post-impressionist such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Additionally, they were fascinated by the works of Pablo Picasso and the Russian avant-gardist. The Batliner Collection includes the works of Matisse, Kandinsky, Chagall, Miró, Schiele, Klimt, Kokoschka, and many others. Since the museum has the Batliner private collection, a part of the exhibition space is no longer used for the presentation of the graphics collection.
Albertina is located in the largest Habsburg residential palace, next to the Vienna Opera House, and it represents a part of the imperial palace Hofburg. Albertina was built on the top of Augustinian Fortification, the only existing part of the medieval city walls still in function. As one of the most visited sights in Vienna, the world’s biggest print room records more than one million visits yearly.
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