A journey through Western art history, courtesy of an Austrian billionaire.

I do not generally write about the various outings with my art group but not because of a particular reason. In general I do not write much about the personal day-to-day, but this exhibit deserves a place in this chronology of our adventures.

In late spring my art group toured the collection, but I was unable to join. Now the exhibit is in its final weeks, so I cajoled Tony into giving up a Saturday in the cooler climes of the mountains with the promise of an air-conditioned Vienna museum and my valiant effort to serve as his guide. In the end we were both impressed.

Naturally I had not one clue about who Heidi Horten is, and even less of an idea of what was in her collection, but a little research informed me that Frau Horten is an Austrian billionaire by marriage (she married the guy that introduced the American-style supermarket to Germany); she enjoys hunting and art collecting; and her $180m yacht, Carinthia VII is considered one of the most beautiful yachts afloat.

When I walked into the first gallery I knew Heidi Horten and I could be friends.

Though art collecting is the hobby of billionaires, what distinguishes the Horten collection is that most, if not all, of her purchases hung in one of her homes, as she collected art both as an investment and as a personal interest. All of this said, walking through the 150 or so pieces she shared for this exhibit, the first ever, was like a wander through any major art museum around the world. All the big names were there!

Pop artist Andy Warhol.

Rothko and Calder, too!  I especially like Calder, and whenever we were at the National Gallery in DC I would sweep through the East Wing to admire his mobiles.


Lichtenstein’s “Forest Scene”

A Baselitz; and a Schiele that I would even hang in our home.

A whimsical Chagall.

And a Klee.

And so much more.  Thank you, Frau Horten, for sharing with us.