The focus of the collection encompasses the extraordinary artistic worlds of Vienna at the turn of the century and the amazing art movements associated with the Weimar Republic. Building on two collections amassed by art dealer Serge Sabarsky and business man and collector Ronald Lauder, the galerie is housed in a fine 1914 building designed by Carrère and Hastings. Stepping through the front door is like passing into another country.
After lunch and before visiting the special exhibits, I stopped to pay my respects to Adele in the central gallery of the second floor. By Adele, I mean, of course, Gustav Klimt's famous portrait, Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), the centerpiece of the Neue Galerie collection and one that seems more odd with each visit. What's striking is the pallor of her face set amidst the elaborate decorative golden details and textures, her thin arms adorned with bracelets touching at clutched nervous fingers. Joining her in the gallery are additional works by Klimt, as well as paintings by Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. Drawings on paper in the adjacent dimly-lit gallery (better to protect them) include exquisite ones by Schiele, though not his most erotic ones.
Postcards from the Wiener Werkståtte: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection features a stylish variety of images by the artists, architects, and designers of the workshop. Josef Hoffmann and designer Koloman Moser started the workshop in 1903 to bring good design to the people, and the postcards, made to show off Vienna, its culture, and its fashions, also publicized the respective art and design talents of its members. The colorful postcards are like sumptuous small morsels of art.
Neue Galerie, 1048 Fifth Avenue, at 86th Street.
Check website for updated information.
Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. General $15; Students and seniors $10. Children under 12 not admitted; children aged 12-16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St. and walk west to Fifth Avenue.
Cafe Sabarsky is open Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Another cafe at the museum, Cafe Fledermaus, with the same menu, is open Thursday-Sunday 12 - 6 p.m. (The KGNY restaurant group, headed by chef Kurt Gutenbrunner, specializes in Austrian fare. Also in group - Wallse, Blaue Gans, and Cafe Kristall, the latter a new restaurant in SoHo at 70 Mercer. Visit the group's website to learn more and get yourself a little Lou Reed fix.)
The museum's gift shop offers an excellent selection of gifts featuring the German and Austrian designs of the period and a comprehensive collection of books for sale on the art, architecture, and design of early twentieth century Austria and Germany.
• Franz Xaver Messerschmidt 1736-1783: From Neoclassicism to Expressionism
Through January 10, 2011
• Postcards from the Wiener Werkståtte: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection
Through January17, 2011
• Birth of the Modern: Style and Identity in Vienna 1900
February 24 - June 27, 2011
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from Monday, December 6, 2010.