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4 February 2024

Vienna Insight: The Backhausen Archive of some 11,000 objects - designs, fabrics - is given as a permanent loan to the Leopold Museum, where it will be preserved and made accessible to the public.

At the end of last year, the Leopold Museum announced its program for the new year with exhibition highlights such as 'Poetry of Ornaments: The Backhausen Archive' of designs and fabrics by the Austrian textile manufacturer Backhausen, best known internationally as the main supplier of the Wiener Werkstätte (article). This week, the Leopold Museum released the information that the Backhausen Archive, a significant collection of approximately 11,000 objects, including original designs and fabric samples spanning Historicism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Kinetism, has been given to the museum on permanent loan by the family of its former owner, the late Dr. Louise Kiesling (1957-2022). The archive has been listed as a protected monument since 2022, thanks to the former owner's interest in Austrian textile craftsmanship and design. Kiesling, who studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and the Royal College of Art in London, has devoted herself to the systematic scholarly processing, inventorying, photographic documentation, and storage of the archive according to museum conservation standards. The archive was inventoried over the course of several years in cooperation with Brigitte Faszbinder-Brückler and Sabine Bauer, both from the Austrian Federal Monuments Office (source: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Kunst und Denkmalpflege 2022, Heft 3;

The cooperation with the Leopold Museum ensures the continuation of the work for the preservation and public accessibility of this Austrian cultural heritage. The Backhausen Archive will be added to the museum's permanent exhibition 'Vienna 1900' on the art and culture of the city at the turn of the century.

The Leopold Museum's efforts to share knowledge about Austrian textile crafts and design with information from the Backhausen Archive have already begun online. Two days ago, the museum published a post on Instagram with background information on the Wiener Werkstätte with a carpet designed by Josef Hoffmann for the Palais Stoclet in Brussels.

Image: Design no. 7118 by Lotte Fochler-Frömel (1884–1972), 1909, gouache on paper, 32 × 23.9 cm, Backhausen Archive. Photo: © Backhausen Archive.

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