Opening: The Journey of the Pictures – Linz

Hitler's Cultural Policy, Art Trade, Storage and Salvage in the Salzkammergut during the Nazi Era

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Die Reise der Bilder
© maschekS


During World War II, the Salzkammergut was unrivalled among Austria’s regions as a transshipment point and a safe haven for outstanding works of art of European art history.
For the “Führermuseum” Hitler was planning for Linz, he used the Aussee salt mines as holding areas for works of art. Nor was he alone. Leading Austrian museums were also availing themselves provisionally of mines, churches, and even pubs in St. Agatha, Bad Aussee, Altaussee, and in Bad Ischl/Lauffen as temporary places of storage and safekeeping. 
The exhibition sets off in an exemplary manner in search of works of art, which were hoarded, stored, looted, aryanized, forcibly sold, shifted to the black market, auctioned off or salvaged in the Salzkammergut in World War II. The paths these works of art struck out into the wide world were the consequence of their “uprooting”. The exhibition features masterpieces by such artists as Arnold Böcklin, Lovis Corinth, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Francesco Guardi, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz von Lenbach, Hans Makart, Edvard Munch, Moritz von Schwind, Max Pechstein, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Tiziano Vecellio, and Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. 
The contemporary installation Ruinenwert [The Value of Ruins] (2019) by German artist Henrike Naumann expands the exhibition architecture designed by the artist-and-architect duo Nicole Six and Paul Petritsch. 
The exhibition Reise der Bilder functions as an important cross-border project focusing on Austria (Linz / Salzkammergut) – Italy – Germany – Netherlands – France.

Three different art exhibitions of a special kind at three locations: During the Second World War, Hitler and the most important Austrian museums and art dealers used the Salzkammergut to bring masterpieces of European art history to safety or to protect museum collections from destruction.

In “The Journey of the Pictures”, the Lentos focuses not only on Hitler’s planned “Führer Museum Linz” and the secret salvage operations, but also on the temporary art camps in St. Agatha, Bad Aussee, Altaussee and Bad Ischl/Lauffen. In the Kammerhofmuseum Bad Aussee, the life and work of the Berlin art dealer Wolfgang Gurlitt and his Jewish business partner Lilly Christiansen, who lived in Bad Aussee from 1940 onwards, are dealt with. And in Lauffen, the systematic theft of art, a well-known phenomenon since antiquity and a means of legitimising cultural dominance, will be the subject of works and installations by contemporary artists.


Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz (project sponsor)
Elisabeth Nowak-Thaller (Project Manager / Curator, Lentos)
Birgit Schwarz (expert on Nazi art policy, guest curator, Lentos)
Markus Proschek(Curator Lauffen)
Hemma Schmutz (Director Museums of the City of Linz, Curator Lauffen)
Lisa Neuhuber, Martina Rothschädl (Project Management Salzkammergut 2024)

Macht und Tradition

Event info

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz
Doktor-Ernst-Koref-Promenade 1, 4020 Linz