English Summary



The art collection represents the cultural memory of our university and makes a key contribution to its identity. It reflects the history of the institution since its inception as Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) in 1867. The collection presently comprises about 60,000 items. Current efforts to extend its scope are geared to reflecting contemporary developments in the fields of art, design and architecture. One focus is on documenting creative work by our graduates and faculty. The future of the collection lies in its role as a research centre on the basis of continuously expanded art holdings. This provides not only a historical background for the university but allows a redefinition of its identity in response to topical developments.


The art collection was set up in 1979 by its Rector Oswald Oberhuber, who acquired a large number of works of art and thus began to transform the university’s archives into an art collection. Erika Patka headed the collection until 2004 and developed its current structure. Under Rector Gerald Bast, the Costumes and Fashion collection with its 5500 historically significant items was integrated into the art collection.



What does the University of Applied Arts collect, and for what purpose? Acquisitions, donations - and how they are handled


Among the holdings of the collection one can distinguish several focal areas which are of importance both in an Austrian and in an international context. They include the following:

  • Artwork from the Wiener Werkstätte, Art Nouveau, Vienna Modernism
  • Architectural models of seminal modernist Austrian buildings
  • Examples from all areas of 20th century applied and visual arts
  • The Costumes and Fashion collection with its historical holdings going back to the 18th century
  • The Oskar Kokoschka Centre (research library, photographic collection, archives, and, since 2005, the private library of Oskar and Olda Kokoschka)
  • The estate of the architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky


The importance of the holdings can be gleaned from the fact that we receive regular requests for art loans from major international exhibitions. In 2005 art loans were shown at exhibitions in Paris/Grand Palais, Brussels/Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bilbao/Guggenheim Museum, St. Petersburg/Eremitage, Frankfurt/Schirn Kunsthalle, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Stockholm/Svenskt Tenn, to mention just a few examples.


Revenue from art loans and royalty fees for images printed in publications allow - very limited - new acquisitions for the collections. In 2005, we acquired almost exclusively works by recent graduates of our university. With very few exceptions the works were created between 2002 and 2005. The collection also received seminal art items, documents and research material as gifts from former teachers, graduates and other patrons of the arts.


The university has no permanent premises for exhibiting the art collection. Therefore it is important to be able to participate in exhibitions organised by others, to organise temporary exhibitions, and to display art loans in the university building and in other institutions and settings. When not on display, the holdings are stored in various art storage facilities and require constant care and conservation measures.





The collection is permanently accessible to users and researchers. The database, a result of many years of continuous data gathering, now comprises 50,000 records with almost 20,000 images. Our institution was among the first Austrian collections to introduce professional museum collection management software following an international tender procedure. Many researchers study the personal files and archival records that have been stored since the founding of the Kunstgewerbeschule under the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. A 4d database is used to manage and continuously update data on all students at the institution since 1868.


The collection of the University of Applied Arts has for many years been engaged in research projects on a wide range of themes relating to the history of the institution and the artists associated with it. Several projects were commissioned by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), and support for research activities was also provided by the Austrian National Bank.


The collections are integrated in the university’s teaching activities through classes and seminars, as well as in research co-operation with other departments of the institution (particularly the conservation and restoration department). The results of our research, symposia and exhibitions are documented in various publications. The illustrations on this website are designed to provide a first glimpse of the many-faceted nature of our collection.

English Summary

For research requests in the archive please contact:

OR Silvia Herkt, BA, MA



For reproduction requests and digital image material please contact:

Nathalie Feitsch 







User regulations


Terms and conditions for the use of images


List of current fees


Application form