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Applied Arts Museum (Vienna)

Applied Arts Museum (Vienna)




Stubenring 5
Tel. 01- 711 360
Subway: Stubentor, Landstrasse
Bus: 74A
Trolley: 1, 2
Open: 10am- 6pm Wed- Sun
Closed: Jan 1, May 1, Nov 1, Dec 25




Description of the Applied Arts Museum or MAK

Applied Arts Museum or MAK (Museum fur angewandte Kunst) as it is locally known was originally found on March 7, 1863 by Emperor Franz Joseph I, as interesting collection of art and industry. It contains an impressive collection of Islamic, East Asian art as well as Renaissance jewellery, European furniture and etc. Over decades the museum added new masterpieces. One of the most important Austrian artistic movements of Secession left a mark here. It was named after a group of artists who split from the Vienna academy in 1897 over artistic differences with the mainstream art. Their movement, known also as Jugendstil, left a collection of new and unique masterpieces presented in the Applied Arts Museum.


Rudolf von Eitelberger, first professor of art history at the University of Vienna, was appointed director. The museum essentially followed the example of the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum), founded in London in 1852, and was intended to serve as a model collection for artists, industrialists and the public as well as a training and further education center for designers and craftsmen. The opening of the museum took place on 12 May 1864, initially provisionally in premises of the Ballhaus next to the Vienna Hofburg, the architect Heinrich von Ferstel had adapted for museum purposes.





On March 7, 1863, the foundation of the k. k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry - today's MAK - by Emperor Franz Joseph I. Rudolf von Eitelberger, first professor of art history at the University of Vienna, was appointed director. The museum essentially followed the model of the South Kensington Museum (now Victoria & Albert Museum) in London, founded in 1852, and was intended to serve as a model collection for artists, industrialists and the public, and as a training facility for designers and craftsmen. The museum opened on May 12, 1864, temporarily in the Ballhaus premises next to the Vienna Hofburg, which the architect Heinrich von Ferstel had adapted for museum purposes.

In 1867 the k. k. Kunstgewerbeschule (today the University of Applied Arts Vienna) of the k. k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry founded. This combined theoretical and practical training. The school of applied arts was first opened in 1868 in the former rifle factory at Währinger Strasse 11–13 / Schwarzspanierstrasse 17 (today the Anatomical Institute of the Medical University of Vienna, which was newly built in 1886). k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry located at Stubenring 3 and opened in 1877.

In 1897 Arthur von Scala, until then director of the k.k. Oriental Museum (later Austro-Hungarian Museum of Commerce), head of the Museum of Art and Industry and won Otto Wagner, Felician von Myrbach, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann and Alfred Roller as employees of the museum and the school of applied arts. As a result of the clashes between Scala and the arts and crafts association (founded in 1884), which saw its influence on the museum wane, Archduke Rainer resigned as protector in 1898 and new statutes were drawn up. Two years later, around 1900, the administration of the arts and crafts school and the museum were separated, with the final separation only taking place in 1909: the Austrian Museum was Ministry of Public Works, the school remained with the K.K. Ministry of Culture and Education. In 1907 the Museum of Art and Industry took over most of the k.k. Austrian Trade Museum.

From 1865 to 1897 the museum published a magazine, which was published under the title Mittheilungen des k.k. Austrian Museum of Art and Industry appeared. From 1898 to 1921, on the other hand, the museum journal was published with the new name Kunst und Kunsthandwerk, which subsequently quickly gained an international reputation. Between 1955 and 1985 the museum published the magazine Old and Modern Art.

After the founding of the first republic, the museum was assigned to former Habsburg properties, for example oriental carpets. In exchange with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Museum am Stubenring gave part of the sculptures and the collection of antiquities in 1936 and 1940 and took over the artifacts from the Figdor Collection and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. After the "connection" of Austria to the German Empire, the museum was renamed the State Museum of Decorative Arts in Vienna in 1938. Between 1939 and 1945 museums took over numerous private collections confiscated by the Nazi government, including the collection of the State Museum of Decorative Arts in Vienna. Since 1998, due to provenance research, numerous works of art have been restored to their owners.

In 1947, the State Museum of Decorative Arts in Vienna was called the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts. The museum reopened in 1949 after the war damage had been remedied. In 1965 the Geymüllerschlössel in the 18th district of Vienna was added to the museum as a new branch. At the same time as the building, the important clock collection by Franz Sobek (160 old Viennese clocks from the period between 1750 and the second half of the 19th century) and furniture from the years 1800 to 1840 came into the possession of the MAK. At the end of the 1980s, parts of the wall paintings were restored to their original condition when the facade was renovated. The subsequent reorganization of the facility and the extraordinary watch collection in the rooms of the Geymüller lock allows visitors a true-to-original insight into the variety of Biedermeier equipment.


The Arenbergpark battle tower - one of the six flak towers erected in Vienna during the Second World War - was run as a further branch of the MAK from 1994 and functioned as a MAK Contemporary Art Depot (MAK Tower) from 1995 to 2011, which housed essential parts of the museum's collection of contemporary art. The MAK Tower later had to be closed to the public due to a lack of official permits.

After a MAK exhibition about Josef Hoffmann in 1992 in his birthplace in Brtnice / Pirnitz (Czech Republic), contacts with the Moravian Gallery in Brno / Brno were intensified. Since 2006, both institutions have been managing Hoffmann's birthplace as the Josef Hoffmann Museum in the form of a joint branch. The museum presents its collection in a permanent exhibition, at the same time temporary exhibitions on Josef Hoffmann and his contemporaries are presented.

In 1994, the MAK established the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, USA, which is now located in three important buildings by the Viennese architect Rudolph M. Schindler in Los Angeles (Rudolph Schindler House, Pearl M. Mackey Apartment House, Fitzpatrick -Leland House). The focus is on new trends and interdisciplinary developments in the fields of visual art and architecture, which are promoted by grants and projects and expanded by changing exhibitions.

An important area of ​​activity of the MAK is its presentation in public space. The museum actively supports contemporary artists, whose works are mostly presented as part of an exhibition in the MAK building and later as works of art in Vienna's urban space to mediate at the interface between art and public space. Several international artists are represented. These include James Turrell (MAKlite, permanent installation on the MAK facade, 2004, Stubenring), Michael Kienzer (Stylit, 2005, Stubenring / Weiskirchnerstraße), Franz West (Four Larvae (Lemur heads), 2001, Stubenbrücke), Donald Judd (Stage Set, 1996, Stadtpark) and Philip Johnson (Vienna Trio, 1998, Franz-Josefs-Kai / Schottenring, opposite Ringturm).

As part of the reorganization of the federal museums, the museum was released into full legal capacity in 2000 as a scientific institution under public law.

In 2015 the MAK initiated the Vienna Biennale, the first biennial that combines art, design and architecture. It lasted from June 11 to October 4, 2015 and was organized by the MAK in cooperation with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Architekturzentrum Wien and the creative center of the Vienna Business Agency, departure, and by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology supported non-university research partner. The second Vienna Biennale took place from June 21 to October 1, 2017. The third edition of the Vienna Biennale will take place from May 29 to October 6, 2019.