With its exhibition “From Hollar to Beuys”, the art museum of Olomouc opened a long-term series of exhibitions that feature loans from significant European collections and represent an important part of Europe’s cultural tradition. In his collecting activities Monsignore Mauer always focused on supporting post-war art in Austria.
Monsignore Otto Mauer was a distinguished figure of the Catholic Church in Austria after World War II. Contemporary art in particular appealed to him, because he realised that it expressed the problems and struggles, the dreams and visions of a generation that had had to endure the horrors of World War II. In 1954 Mauer opened the “Galerie nächst St. Stephan”, which in subsequent years would become Vienna’s most important gallery of the avant-garde. Thirty years after Mauer’s death, enough time has passed to enable us to take a critical look at his exhibitions and his positions. Monsignore Mauer’s collection comprises works from a variety of genres. These include Classic Modernism (Klimt, Schiele, Munch, Liebermann, etc.), artworks of the Bund Neuland (Birstinger), expressionism and mysticism (Beckmann, Kubin, Fronius, etc.), the onset of Modernism (Boeckl, Chagall, Baumeister, etc.), abstraction, informal art, New Figuration (Lassnig, Klein, Hollegha, etc.), Postmodernism (Beuys, Attersee, Gironcoli, etc.) as well as the psychopathological art from Gugging (Hauser, Walla). To show the entire spectrum of the Otto Mauer collection, older works have been included as well. These are dealt with in a separate chapter, “Old Art”. His pieces from the 17th to 19th centuries not only show how wide-ranging Mauer’s interest was, but also point to his keen sense of quality. The selected graphic works from older periods try to capture a phenomenon that characterises the entire collection of Otto Mauer: his fascination for artists’ individuality and for new artistic techniques.