L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, September 1, 2017

Palais Lanckoroński, Riemergasse 8, Vienna - four interiors by Rudolf von Alt, 1881

Morning room.

The painter Rudolf von Alt met Count Karol Lanckoroński in Nuremberg in August 1881. In the autumn of that year, he executed a series of ten interiors of the Count’s apartments. These paintings are sometimes mistaken as being depictions of interiors of the count's better known, now lost, palais at 16-18, in the Landstraße District.. The paintings, however, are of his former residence at Riemergasse 8, in Vienna's Innere Stadt. The watercolor series represent various rooms closely decorated with paintings and sculptures; in some, the Count can be seen sitting in an armchair, reading a book. Von Alt very precisely depicted all the works of art in the various rooms. Many are easily identifiable, including works by Gainsborough, van Ruisdael, and Waldmüller, among many others.

The Count's office.
The library.


The noble Lanckoroński family, aristocrats originally from Galicia, assembled a major private art collection over several generations, a collection which included Italian Renaissance paintings as well as German, French, and Dutch pictures, antique sculptures, bronzes, glass miniatures, and porcelain. Count Karol Lanckoroński continued his family’s interest in the collection. He was a collector, archaeologist, art patron, author, and conservator; he also served as chamberlain to Emperor Franz Joseph. His additions to the collection included antique sculptures, as well as paintings by Tintoretto, Canaletto, and Rembrandt. The art collection in the Lanckoroński palace became one of the largest in Vienna under his stewardship; he had a new neo-Baroque Palais Lanckoroński built between 1894-95, with special attention given to the display of the Lanckoroński collection. After World War I and the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Count returned to Poland and began to move a large part of his collection to the family’s ancestral estate in Galicia. The Count died in 1933 and the Nazis confiscated what remained in the Vienna palace when they annexed Austria in 1938. The remainder of the collection was confiscated the following year after the invasion of Poland. Many pieces were destroyed in World War II, and what survives of the collection has been scattered among various museums and private collections.

(Not knowing its provenance, earlier this year I did a post on one of the most important items from the Lanckoroński collection, Dosso Dossi's Giove pittore de farfalle, Mercurio e la Virtù.)


Rudolf Ritter von Alt (28 August 1812, Vienna – 12 March 1905, Vienna), Austrian landscape and architectural painter. (Born as Rudolf Alt, he was able to add the von and bear the title of Ritter - which translates approximately as Sir - after he attained nobility in 1889.) Born into a family of professional artists, he studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. Hiking trips through the Austrian Alps and northern Italy awoke a love for landscapes, and he painted using watercolors in a very realistic and detailed style. In 1833, inspired by a visit to Venice and neighboring cities, he also made a number of architectural paintings. The painting of interiors also became one of the genres he was most noted for. His later works came closer, stylistically, to Impressionism. 


  1. The morning room is certainly most attractive - but one wonders why it appears to have a curtained bed in the corner. The Belle Époque equivalent of a sofa bed, in the event of an unexpected guest? Although one would think a household such as this would boast a guestroom or two....

    1. Excellent question! I'm sure this arrangement wasn't put in place in case an extra guest bed proved necessary, but there was almost certainly a bed behind those drapes. Perhaps only a cot within, for taking naps? Odd that it would be in a "morning room", though. But maybe this isn't even that; I suppose it's possible that the caption isn't correct. A mystery....