Photo Museum in the Marble Palace



The Marble Palace is located in the northeastern part of the Kaiser Park in Bad Ischl and at one time served as the summer residence of the Austrian Kaiser Franz Joseph I and his wife Elizabeth of Bavaria, known as Sissi. Elizabeth loved to retire within the walls of the palace to write poetry, plan travels, and receive especially close friends. After the end of the Danube monarchy, the building remained in the private property of the Kaiser's descendants.

After the First World War, it served a variety of purposes, but without the necessary restoration it fell into increasing decline. In 1975, the owner of the palace, Markus Habsburg-Lorraine, signed an agreement, according to which the right to use the marble palace was transferred to the state of Upper Austria for 50 years. The land authorities pledged in exchange to carry out the necessary restoration work and return the building to its former splendor.

Since 1978, a museum of photographic art has been located within the walls of the building. The gem of the museum is the collection of the work of the famous photographer Hans Frank, which was previously kept in Salzburg. The exposed old cameras are of no less interest. In parallel to the permanent exhibitions, successive exhibitions are held that tell about the history of photography. In general, over 10,000 people annually visit the museum.


The Marmorschlössl is located in the northwest of the Kaiserpark of Bad Ischl, above the Kaiservilla, the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth.

The k. k. Between 1856 and 1861, court gardener Franz Rauch built a two-storey cottage in Tudor style for the empress in the park of the imperial villa made of Untersberg marble. It was named Marmorschlössl after the name of the building material. The wall development in the large salon was carried out in the neo-Gothic style. 16 carved figures by Johann Rint from the Nibelungenlied flank the respective window and door openings. Although the imperial villa was furnished as a "place of the private par excellence" without any emblem of authority, it is surprising that the imperial coat of arms is enthroned alone in the marble castle, in the large salon above the doors. Originally the imperial cottage was used as the imperial family's breakfast parlor. Immediately after the Imperial Highnesses arrived in Ischl, a powerful black and yellow flag was hoisted at the Imperial Cottage. For the population, this was a widely visible sign of the presence of the very highest court in Ischl.

For Empress Elisabeth, the cottage soon became a cool place to stay on hot summer days and served as a private refuge to which she could withdraw at any time. She wrote numerous poems there, planned trips and made friends. In her absence, the cottage was mainly used by her children, later also by her grandchildren. Emperor Franz Joseph wrote to his wife that he often visited their children in the cottage, "because they were there from morning to evening in the warm weather of the last few days." it was inherited by the Emperor's daughter Marie Valerie and her husband Franz Salvator of Austria-Tuscany as personal property within the family. After the First World War it served various purposes, including: From 1926 it leased the Viennese dairy and ran a milk and coffee house there. After the Second World War, the cottage was in danger of falling into disrepair. In 1975 Markus Habsburg-Lothringen signed a contract with the Province of Upper Austria for a period of 50 years. He transferred the rights of use to the land; In return, the state took over the maintenance of the building and used it from 1978 to present Hans Frank's previously acquired photo collection and to run a photo museum.

Photo museum
Between 1978 and March 2020, the Marmorschlössl was a location of the Upper Austrian State Museum, which was taken over by the newly founded OÖ Landes-Kultur GmbH in April 2020. Up until that point in time it was the only photo museum in Austria. The state of Upper Austria housed part of the photo collection of Hans Frank (* 1908 in Pressburg, † 1987 in Bad Ischl). The photographer and photo historian Frank was one of the first in the German-speaking region to compile a collection on the history of photography of significant cultural and historical importance. After initially operating private showrooms at various locations in Salzburg, the collection of more than 15,000 objects was acquired by the Province of Upper Austria in 1975. In 2022, a Hans Frank gallery will be set up on the ground floor of the Francisco Carolinum.

Due to the programming of the Francisco Carolinum as a museum for photography and media art, which took place in April 2020, the exhibition activities of the Marmorschlössl will be devoted to topics from the Salzkammergut from 2021. Regardless of this, photographs with a regional reference will continue to be on view.

Exhibitions (selection)
1989: “150 Years of Photography” - Viktor Kabelka Collection
2001: “Empress Elisabeth and her court photographers” - Viktor Kabelka Collection
2006: “Empress Elisabeth and her children” - Viktor Kabelka Collection
2007: “Under the open sky”, travel and landscape photographs from the Frank Collection
2009: "Paris photos by Hans Frank"
2013: "Die Welt" by Hans Frank. Eggleston, Dressler, Furuya, Kandl, Mauracher, Orthacker, Willmann
2020: Friedrich Simony. Dachstein glacier. In cooperation with the Photoinstitut Bonartes