Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in Wien

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The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna is an institution of higher education in Vienna, Austria.


The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna was founded in 1692 as a private academy by the court-painter Peter Strudl, who became the Praefectus Academiae Nostrae. In 1701 he was ennobled as Baron of the Empire. With his death in 1714, the academy temporarily closed.

On 20 January 1725, Emperor Karl VI appointed the Frenchman Jacob van Schuppen as Prefect and Director of the Academy, which was refounded as the k.k. Hofakademie der Maler, Bildhauer und Baukunst (Imperial and Royal Court Academy of painters, sculptors and architecture). During the rule of Empress Maria Theresa, a new statute reformed the academy in 1751. The prestige of the academy grew, and in 1767 Archduchesses Charlotte Karoline and the archduchess Maria Anna were made the first Honorary Members of the Academy.

In 1772, there were further reforms to the organisational structure. Chancellor Kuntz integrated all existing art schools into the k.k. vereinigten Akademie der bildenden Künste (Imperial and Royal Unified Academy of Fine Arts). The word "vereinigten" (unified) was later dropped.

In 1872 Emperor Franz Joseph I approved a statute making the academy the supreme government authority for the arts. A new building was constructed by Theophil Freiherr von Hansen during the building of the Ringstraße. On April 1, 1877, the new building at the Schillerplatz was inaugurated, where it remains today.

In 1907 and 1908, Adolf Hitler was twice denied admission to this Academy for Art Studies. He stayed in Vienna and tried unsuccessfully to continue his profession as an artist. Soon he had withdrawn into poverty and started selling amateur paintings, mostly watercolours, for meagre sustenance until the outbreak of the First World War.

During the Nazi Occupation from 1938–1945, the academy was forced to heavily reduce its number of Jewish staff. After World War II, the academy was reconstituted in 1955 and its autonomy reconfirmed. It has had university status since 1998, but retained its original name. It is currently the only Austrian university that doesn't have the word "university" in its name.


The academy is divided into the following institutes:

  • Institute for Fine Arts, which houses three departments for painting, drawing, visual arts, media, sculpture.
  • Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies (art theory, philosophy, history);
  • Institute for Conservation and Restoration;
  • Institute for Natural Sciences and Technologies in Art;
  • Institute for Secondary School Teaching Degrees (craft, design, textile arts);
  • Institute for Art and Architecture.

The Academy currently has about 900 students, almost a quarter of which are foreign students. Its faculty includes "stars" such as Peter Sloterdijk. Its library houses approx. 110,000 volumes and its "etching cabinet" (Kupferstichkabinett) has about 150,000 drawings and prints. The collection is one of the biggest in Austria, and is used for academic purposes, although portions are also open to the general public.

Famous graduates

  • Alois Arnegger
  • Joannis Avramidis
  • William Berczy
  • Joanna Gleich
  • Gottfried Helnwein
  • Wolfgang Hollegha
  • Alfred Hrdlicka
  • Franz Xaver Messerschmidt
  • Constantin Daniel Rosenthal
  • Egon Schiele
  • Othmar Schimkowitz
  • Erwin Wurm
  • Willi Soukop
  • Otto Wagner

Other students and professors

  • Oz Almog, (born 1956)
  • Karl Aigen (1684–1762), student, director and professor
  • Paul Troger (1698–1762)
  • Johann Georg Platzer (1704–1761)
  • Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724–1796)
  • Thomas Ender (1793–1875)
  • Albert Zimmermann (1808–1888)
  • Rudolf von Alt (1812–1905)
  • Friedrich von Schmidt (1825–1891)
  • Anselm Feuerbach (1829–1880), professor (1873)
  • Alois Arnegger (1879–1963)
  • Clemens Holzmeister (1886–1983)
  • Adolf Hitler (1889–1945), was twice refused admission
  • Edwin Grienauer (1893–1964)
  • Menci Clement Crnčić (1894–1897)
  • Kurt Weiss (1895–1966)
  • Caspar Neher (1897–1962)
  • Roland Rainer (1910–2004)
  • Ludwig Merwart (1913–1979)
  • Joannis Avramidis (born 1922)
  • Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000)
  • Gustav Peichl (born 1928)
  • Anton Lehmden (born 1929)
  • Ernst Fuchs (born 1930)
  • Gottfried Helnwein (born 1948)
  • Andrea Maria Dusl (born 1961)
  • Daniel Richter (born 1962)
  • Diedrich Diederichsen (born 1957)
  • Hansi Staël (born 1913)

External links