In the run-up to the exhibition Das holländische Gruppenportrait (9 Sept. to 21 Nov. 2010) in the Kunsthistorisches Museum
in Vienna, Irene Andessner staged a two-part tableau vivant which follows the example of the Dutch regent pictures of the Haarlem School. This genre marks the 17th century breach with the tradition of the church and the landed gentry being the sole patrons of the arts. Citizens with high social status become clients of artists and owners of their works, thus laying the foundations for a free market in paintings and sculpture. As the subjects of portraits they become protagonists and, at the same time, protectors, in the sense of patrons and collectors of the visual arts.
In her living pictures Art Protectors Irene Andessner interprets this historic change as an analogy for our time, in which private collectors are increasingly taking over the functions of state or other public institutions as purchasers and enablers of artistic production.
The reference images are two group portraits from 1667 women/men companion pieces by the Haarlem master Jan de Bray. Participating in the tableaux vivants: Dr. Sabine Haag, General Director of the KHM, and Dr. Karl Schütz, Deputy General Director of the KHM, and Austrian art collectors.
Irene Andessner's photo companion piece is presented in the context of the "Das holländische Gruppenportrait" museum exhibition, which is curated by Dr. Karl Schütz and runs from Wednesday 8 Sept. (opening at 19.00) until 21 Nov. 2010. After this the exhibition will be taken over by the Alte Pinakothek in Munich (2 Dec. 2010 13 Feb. 2011).