Leopold Museum stairway entrance

Leopold Museum


Vienna has ophthalmologist Rudolf Leopold to thank for this splendid museum within the MuseumsQuartier. Leopold was a young student in 1950 when he bought his first Egon Schiele for a snip, and went on to amass a staggering private collection of 5266 paintings, mainly 19th-century and modernist Austrian artworks. In 1994 he sold them all to the Austrian government for €160 million (around a fifth of their value individually). Hip bar Café Leopold is on the top floor.

Behind its white, limestone exterior, the museum has plenty of open space (the 21m-high glass-covered atrium is lovely) and natural light flooding most rooms. Considering Rudolf Leopold’s love of Schiele (1890–1918), it’s no surprise the museum contains the world's largest collection of the artist’s work: 41 paintings and 188 drawings and graphics. Among the standouts are the ghostly Self-Seer II (Man and Death) (1911), the mournful Mother with Two Children (1915) and the caught-in-the-act Cardinal and Nun (Caress) (1912).

Other artists well represented include Albin Egger-Lienz, with his unforgiving depictions of pastoral life, Richard Gerstl and Austria’s third-greatest expressionist, Kokoschka. Of the handful of works on display by Klimt, the unmissable is the allegorical Death and Life (1910), a swirling amalgam of people juxtaposed by a skeletal grim reaper. Works by Adolf Loos, Josef Hoffmann and Otto Wagner are also on display.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vienna attractions

1. Zoom

0.04 MILES

At the MuseumsQuartier's hands-on children's museum, kids can give their creativity free rein in the 'Atelier'. Every six months ‘Exhibition’ stages a new…

2. Kunsthalle Wien

0.04 MILES

Photography, video, film, installations and new media are the focus of programs that run for three to six months at this collection of exhibition halls in…

3. MuseumsQuartier

0.06 MILES

The MuseumsQuartier is a remarkable ensemble of museums, cafes, restaurants and bars inside former imperial stables designed by Fischer von Erlach. This…



Modern-art museum MUMOK contains Vienna’s premier collection of 20th-century art, taking in Fluxus, nouveau realism, pop art and photorealism. Rotating,…

5. Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

0.13 MILES

A highlight of any trip to Vienna is a visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, brimming with works by Europe’s finest painters, sculptors and…

6. Architekturzentrum Wien

0.15 MILES

Architectural developments, both Austrian and international, are showcased during changing exhibitions the Architekturzentrum Wien within the…

7. Naturhistorisches Museum

0.16 MILES

Four billion years of natural history are covered at Vienna's Naturhistorisches Museum. Among its minerals, fossils and dinosaur bones are exceptional…

8. Palais Epstein

0.26 MILES

Designed by Theophil Hansen, the same architect who created the plans for the Österreichisches Parlament (Austrian parliament) next door, Palais Epstein…