Closing of the Barockmuseum in Salzburg


1. The Barockmuseum in the Orangerie
at the Mirabell Palace
Photograph taken from a leaflet
of the Barockmuseum

26/9/12 - Museum - Salzburg, Barockmuseum - The times are indeed not conducive to art and culture in general, both in France and the rest of Europe. Thus, in Salzburg, the Barockmuseum, located in the south wing of the Orangerie at the Mirabell Palace (ill. 1), which held the Rossacher collection of 17th and 18th century European painted (ill. 2) and sculpted (ill. 3) studies, closed last 3 September. Instead, the city of Salzburg wishes to create a center on the theme of The Sound of Music which was filmed in the gardens of the Mirabell Palace. We feel sure that our readers will appreciate the importance of this decision.

Unfortunately, the status of this collection is very complex. In 1970, the collector Kurt Rossacher, had donated about a third of the collection to the city and region of Salzburg which had purchased another third and now pay the daughter a life annuity for the remaining third. According to the agreement signed with the collector in 1970, the museum (which opened in the Orangerie in 1973) was to be housed in an independent building, but this clause was binding until only the year 2000 ! Of further concern, is the fact that the works are not prohibited from deaccessioning and may be sold as of 2050. A person familiar with the case told us that with current Austrian politicians, who no longer see any interest in keeping the collection for the city of Salzburg, the collection will most likely be sold. We can only hope that a solution can be found before 2050...


2. Gianantonio Pellegrini (1675-1741)
The Fall of Phaeton
Oil on Canvas
Salzburg, Rossacher former collection
Former Barockmuseum
Photo : Barockmuseum

3. Balthasar Permoser (1651-1732)
Saint Mary Magdalene
Terracotta
Salzburg, Rossacher former collection
Former Barockmuseum
Photo : Matthias Kabel/
Licence Creative Commons


In the meantime, Wilfried Haslauer, vice-governor of the province of Salzburg, in charge notably of museums, would like to create a new museum pole devoted uniquely to Baroque art centered around the cathedral, with the collections of the Monastery of Saint Peter, those in the Residenz and the Residenzgalerie. An exhibition space should be set up in 2013 in the north oratory of the cathedral. But this space is not really well adapted for the installation of a painting museum (the walls and ceiling have a stucco decor ; in winter, there is a high level of humidity and the temperature is 6°C...). For the moment, no decisions have been made concerning a project and it is already obvious that the entire Rossacher collection cannot be presented there and, more serious still, that what is shown will be displayed in winter, with temporary exhibitions planned for the summer. There are also plans to send it abroad on traveling exhibitions.


4. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, called Bernini (1598-1680)
Constantine the Great
Terracotta
Salzburg, Rossacher former collection
Former Barockmuseum
Photo : Barockmuseum


The future looks bleak then for a collection which was until now housed and presented in its entirety in a Baroque monument perfectly adapted to its demands ; the objects (we are talking about masterpieces by artists as important as Franz Anton Maulbertsch, Paul Troger, Rubens, Gianbattista Tiepolo, Luca Giordano, Matthäus Günther, Ignaz Günther, Bernini - ill. 4 -, Algardi, etc..., in all 139 paintings, 42 terracotta and wood sculptures and about 150 drawings) have returned to storage.

Version française


Didier Rykner, jeudi 27 septembre 2012



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