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Arnulf Rainer Museum in Baden near Vienna: 200 Years of Women's Baths

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"Sources of Memory" 200 Years of the Women's Bath © Stadtarchiv Baden
"Sources of Memory" 200 Years of the Women's Bath © Stadtarchiv Baden
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The Arnulf Rainer Museum combines an architectural gem with the works of the world-renowned contemporary artist. The clearly structured building of the Frauenbad from 1821 - located on the site of the former Frauenkriche - is based on a design by Charles de Moreau, one of the leading architects of French classicism. After the baths ceased operating in 1973, the building was used as a supra-regional exhibition centre. The opening exhibition in autumn 1977 is a retrospective of Arnulf Rainer. In 2006, the decision is made to dedicate the exhibition centre as a museum to Arnulf Rainer, who was born in Baden. In 2009 the Arnulf Rainer Museum, adapted to the highest technical and aesthetic standards, is opened.

Sources of Memory. 200 years of women's baths in Baden
The former women's baths (today's Arnulf Rainer Museum) were built in 1821. From September 2021, the programme of the Arnulf Rainer Museum will focus on this 200-year anniversary. Thematic guided tours and programmes on the history and architecture of the building are planned, as well as a new publication and exhibition on the Frauenbad.
The clearly structured building of the Frauenbad from 1821, whose prehistory is documented back to Roman times, is based on a design by Charles de Moreau, one of the leading architects of French classicism. After the baths were closed down, the building was reopened to the public in 1977 as a supra-regional exhibition centre with a retrospective of Arnulf Rainer's work. Much acclaimed presentations by renowned artists and thematic exhibitions on the history and culture of Baden followed in the years to come.
In 2006, the decision was made to dedicate the exhibition centre as a museum to Arnulf Rainer, who was born in Baden in 1929. Arnulf Rainer's guiding principle of "creating something new from something old" was implemented structurally for the former Frauenbad by the Viennese architectural team Lottersberger-Messner-Dumpelnik, leaving the substance of the characteristic building untouched. The conversion work was completed in September 2009 and the Arnulf Rainer Museum opened with the exhibition "Aller Anfang ist schwer. Early Works 1949-1961". In 20 exhibitions to date, Arnulf Rainer's work has been comprehensively presented to the public - always in dialogue with his contemporaries.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Frauen- und Carolinenbad in the spa town of Baden, which was built in 1821, the exhibition "Sources of Memory" documents the building history of the house. The building itself is the most important exhibit. In addition, documents, plans, old views, objects and much more about its history are shown. The building occupied an important position under the patronage of Emperor Franz II/I, who often used the baths himself. However, bathing in Baden dates back to the time of the Romans, who regenerated body and soul here.
The complex, which originally included plans for a separate residence for Emperor Franz II/I, is part of a Biedermeier ideal city project that was consistently realised.
The Frauen- und Carolinenbad is one of the most important buildings of classicism in Austria. Its designer, the Frenchman Charles de Moreau, was one of the leading architects of this epoch in Austria. He had previously built the Dianabad in Vienna for himself. For this reason, and because of his modern architectural training in Paris, he was the most suitable man to build this imperial bath. He knew how to create a building that was both formally and balneologically in keeping with the times.
The inclusion of Baden in the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2021 (together with ten other "Great Spa Towns of Europe") impressively underlines the international significance of the city and thus also of the Frauenbad.
"In 2019 we paid tribute to Arnulf Rainer on his 90th birthday with the retrospective 'REVUE'. In 2021, there will be another round anniversary to celebrate at the Arnulf Rainer Museum: 200 years of Frauenbad! Lower Austria lies in the heart of Europe and the presentation of works by one of the most internationally important artists in a symbiotic combination with the unique classicist architecture of Charles de Moreau are precious treasures of Lower Austria as a land of art and culture," says Paul Gessl, Managing Director Arnulf Rainer Museum
until 13 February 2022
www.arnulf-rainer-museum.at

Episode 93