Best Major Art Exhibitions in Vienna in Winter 2017 / 2018

Bruegel the Elder, Raphael, Rubens and many modern artists feature in the top temporary art exhibitions in Vienna during the second half of 2017.

Fischerspooner, Aus der Serie EGOS, 2015
Fischerspooner, Aus der Serie EGOS – © Photo: Jesus Ugalde Solis

Major temporary art exhibitions in Vienna during the winter months of 2017 / 2018 range from modern art to the old masters. Modern artists are represented in major exhibitions by amongst others Robert Frank, Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner, but the old masters are again the highlights of the Viennese winter art season. Special separate exhibitions for Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Raphael and Peter Paul Rubens will bring works of these old masters from all over the world to join the extensive permanent collections already in Vienna. Advance museum tickets are available through Tiqets or skip the line with the Vienna Pass.

Vienna Art Museums & Galleries

Raffael: Die Madonna mit dem Granatapfel
© Albertina, Wien

Museums in Vienna are usually open daily from 10:00 to 18:00. Some are closed once per week, usually not Monday, and open later one evening per week. Most of the major Vienna museums listed below are open on Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day. Expect limited hours on December 24 and 31 but some are open as usual.

Free admission days are increasingly rare at museums in Vienna.

Advance purchase tickets are available for many exhibitions and museum in Vienna from Tiqets – prices are the same and occasionally a little cheaper than buying at the museum ticket counter. Most allow for skipping the queue with direct museum admission, which is a major advantage on busy days or for popular temporary exhibitions. Most museums admissions are also covered by the Vienna Pass – a good deal for active travelers seeing many sights in a short period.

Vienna’s Best Temporary Art Exhibitions in Winter 2017

Some of the top temporary art exhibitions recommended by Wien Tourismus include:


  • Jun 30 to Oct 29, 2017: FISCHERSPOONER. Sir
Fischerspooner, Aus der Serie EGOS, 2015
Fischerspooner, Aus der Serie EGOS – © Photo: Jesus Ugalde Solis

Sir, the art, music and performance project by FISCHERSPOONER (aka Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner) presents the artists’ passionate universe enriched with countless pop culture references for the first time at the mumok. The duo recreates Casey Spooner’s New York apartment in a special installation that examines various questions about the boundaries between private and public spaces.

The mumok – museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, is generally open Thursday to Tuesday from 10:00 to 16:00. Admission is €11 – advance purchase tickets are available from Tiqets.

Rubens in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

  • Oct 17, 2017-Jan 21, 2018: Rubens. Power of Transformation (Rubens: Kraft der Verwandlung)
Peter Paul Rubens: Ecce Homo (um 1612)
© The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg 2017

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is still regarded as the foremost Flemish painter of the Baroque period. The Kunsthistorisches Museum has around forty paintings by the master and his studio. They include intensely vibrant key works teeming with figures, such as the huge altarpieces for the Jesuit Church in Antwerp, and more intimate depictions, including the Portrait of Hélène Fourment (Het Pelsken), the Head of Medusa, and Rubens’s late self-portrait. The impressive exhibition features Viennese works together with loan exhibits from numerous international collections, bringing Rubens’ output to life in sketches, oil sketches, panel painting and large-format canvasses.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, closing at 21:00 on Thursday. The KHM is open on Mondays during December 2017. Basic admission is €15 – many savings combination tickets are available. Advance tickets are available through Tiqets.

Major Temporary Exhibitions in the Albertina

The Albertina is one of Vienna’s major art museums and have important temporary exhibitions in addition to the Monet to Picasso classical modernist collection. For art lovers planning ahead – the Albertina will have major Claude Monet exhibition end 2018 and Albrecht Dürer end 2019.

Bruegel. Drawing the World in the Albertina

  • Sep 8-Dec 3, 2017: Bruegel. Drawing the World (Bruegel. Das Zeichnen der Welt)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder Spring, 1565
© Albertina, Wien

The drawings and printed graphic works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder are among the Albertina’s most treasured possessions, alongside masterpieces by Dürer, Raphael and Rubens. This Viennese gallery owns six of around 60 surviving drawings by the Dutch artist as well as his entire printed oeuvre. The comprehensive exhibition will explore Bruegel’s artistic beginnings in a major show while looking at his significance as a “peasant painter” and the “second Hieronymus Bosch”, an innovator of landscape art and a social satirist.

Raphael in the Albertina

  • Sep 29, 2017-Jan 7, 2018: Raphael (Raffael)

The first show of works solely by Raphael to be staged in Austria, this exhibition encompasses 170 drawings and paintings, and covers all of the artist’s major projects. From his early Umbrian period to his Florentine era and his last years in Rome, it takes in all stages of his career. Works from the Albertina’s own collection and from major museums give a comprehensive overview of the High Renaissance master’s output.

Robert Frank in the Albertina

  • Oct 25, 2017-Jan 21, 2018: Robert Frank
Robert Frank, Detroit, 1955
© Albertina, Wien

Robert Frank’s work group The Americans, which he created between 1955 and 1957, marked a new chapter in the history of photography: taken during a road trip across the USA, Frank’s gritty black and white images look at the post-war American way of life, which he shows as being shaped by racism, violence and consumerism.

The Albertina shows selected groups of works, which trace Robert Frank’s progression as an artist: central aspects of his work are explored in the exhibition, from his early Swiss dispatches and photographs taken while traveling in Europe to The Americans and his later, introspective oeuvre.

Albertina Visitors Information

The Albertina, Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 closing at 21:00 on Wednesday. The Albertina is usually open as normal on public holidays.

Admission to the Albertina is €13. Advance tickets are available through Tiqets.

Major Temporary Exhibitions in the Leopold Museum

Several major temporary exhibitions will be held in the Leopold Museum during the winter months of 2017 / 2018:

Female Images in the Leopold

  • Jul 7-Sep 18, 2017: Female Images. From Biedermeier to Early Modernism (Frauenbilder. Vom Biedermeier bis zur frĂĽhen Moderne)

The Leopold Collection is devoting a series of themed exhibitions to images of females, using works from its holdings. The Female Images. From Biedermeier to Early Modernism (Frauenbilder. Vom Biedermeier bis zur frĂĽhen Moderne) centers on works by Austrian artists completed between 1830 and 1930, the period that forms the main focus of the collection.

Ferdinand Hodler. Elective Affinities from Klimt to Schiele

  • Oct 13, 2017-Jan 22, 2018: Ferdinand Hodler. Elective Affinities from Klimt to Schiele (Ferdinand Hodler. Wahlverwandtschaften von Klimt bis Schiele)

As an exponent of symbolism and Art Nouveau, as a pioneer of expressionism and as a reviver of monumental painting, Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918) was an important source of inspiration for Vienna Modernist artists including Gustav Klimt and Koloman Moser, as well as Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele.

Leopold Museum Visitors Information

The Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, is generally open daily, except Tuesday, from 10:00 to 18:00 (closing at 21:00 on Thursday). The Leopold Museum is closed on Tuesdays but is open most holidays, including Christmas Day. Admission is basically €13 but many combination tickets are available. Advance tickets are also sold through Tiqets.

Visions of Nature in Museum Hundertwasser

  • Sep 13, 2017-Feb 18, 2018: Visions of Nature
Vanja Bucan, Camouflage aus der Serie Sequences of Truth and Deception
© Vanja Bucan

Our relationship with nature seems confused. Humans identify as part of it, acknowledge that it is endangered, yet continue to harm it. This exhibition documents the ambivalent relationship between people and nature, presenting artistic positions from the genres of video and photography that reflect this contradiction.

The Kunst Haus Wien, Museum Hundertwasser, Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13, 1030 Vienna, is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00. Admission is €12 and include the permanent exhibition of the larger Hundertwasser collection in the world.

A Polish King in Vienna in the Winter Palace

  • Jul 7-Nov 1, 2017: Jan III Sobieski. A Polish King in Vienna (Jan III. Sobieski. Ein polnischer König in Wien)

The Polish King Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696) is inextricably bound to the history of Vienna: as commander of the united armies, in 1683 the Polish King liberated the city – which many had believed lost – from the Ottomans, who had been laying siege to the capital for several weeks. In addition to biographical background information, the exhibition will examine Sobieski’s roles as a military commander and as a patron of the arts and sciences.

The Winter Palace (Winterpalais) Himmelpfortgasse 4-8, 1010 Vienna, is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00, closing at 21:00 on Friday. Basic tickets are €9 – combination saving tickets with the Belvedere and 21er Haus are available.

Helena Rubinstein in Judenplatz Museum

  • Oct 18, 2017-May 6, 2018: Helena Rubinstein. Pioneer of Beauty (Helena Rubinstein. Die Schönheitserfinderin)
Helena Rubinstein, Long Island,
© Helena Rubinstein Archives

Helena Rubinstein was a pioneer of female entrepreneurship. The exhibition traces key moments in her life with a particular focus on her time in Vienna. Helena Rubinstein did not grow up surrounded by privilege. Born in KrakĂłw in the 1870s as the eldest of eight daughters, she grew up in modest circumstances in an Orthodox Jewish family. When she died in 1965 her company had 100 branches in 14 countries and employed 30,000 people.

The Judenplatz Museum, Misrachi House, Judenplatz 8, 1010 Vienna, is open Sunday to Friday from 10:00 to 18:00 (closing at 17:00 on Fridays). Admission is €12 and includes both the Jüdisches Museum Wien (Dorotheergasse) and the Jüdisches Museum am Judenplatz.

Aesthetics of Change in the MAK

  • Dec 15, 2017-Apr 15, 2018: Aesthetics of Change. 150 Years of the University of Applied Arts (Ă„sthetik der Veränderung. 150 Jahre Universität fĂĽr angewandte Kunst Wien)

In 1867 the Kunstgewerbeschule was set up at the Imperial Austrian Museum of Art and Industry, with a view to making Austrian arts and crafts competitive on the international stage. Vienna’s Kunstgewerbeschule was the precursor of today’s University of Applied Arts, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The history of this celebrated university forms the focus of a major exhibition at the MAK, which also explores future possibilities.

The MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art (MAK – Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst / Gegenwartskunst), Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna, is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, closing at 22:00 on Tuesday. Admission is €10, free Tuesday after 18:00.

More Winter Sightseeing in Vienna

The Vienna Pass is a good savings option for active sightseeing in Wien and includes admission to most of these art museums and galleries. Vienna is a great Christmas destination too with many of these museums open over the holidays and several of the Christmas markets also functioning until the New Year. Boat cruises on the Danube during the advent season and for New Year’s Eve / Day parties are also popular in Vienna.