A rare exhibition showcasing Austria's historic grandeur and contemporary charm is open at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation.

By Anjana Sankar (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Fri 17 Dec 2004, 4:38 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:33 AM

The exhibition titled 'Imperial Treasures of Austria and Austrian Contemporary Art & Design' is being organised by the Austrian Company Art and Business Cultural Management under the patronage of Elisabeth Gehrer, Federal Minister of Education, Science and Culture, Austria and Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Education, UAE, to celebrate the inauguration of Austrian embassy in Abu Dhabi a year ago.

The exhibition is organised in two parts — one depicting the glorious past of Austria and the other that throws light on the modern and contemporary side of this scenic European nation.

The imperial side of the exhibition, running on the first floor of the Foundation has some of the most rarest and expensive pieces straight from Vienna's Imperial household.

An abundance of objects for decoration and dinner culture, ranging from objects for everyday use to highest symbols of imperial representation provide insights into the personal lifestyles of the Habsburg family and feature impressions of the organisation of the court at Vienna from the 18th century to the end of the monarchy in 1918.

The main attraction is a complete dinner table set exclusively used by the emperors to host dinners for royal guests. Estimated at a whooping two and a half million Euros, it is an architectural marvel in itself embellished with a centrepiece and complete with silver cutlery, crystal glasses and elaborate flower decorations.

Apart from that, there are also many interesting pieces of tableware, hunting rifles and knives, 18th century pencil sketches, long lists of animals hunted down by the royals, a picnic case and a crown mounted in gold. The large size oil paintings of Emperor Franz Joseph and Queen Elizabeth by court painter Winterhalter are also exhibited.

It is an altogether a different picture of Austria in the offing at the main hall with the contemporary art and design of the country. The major attractions are modern paintings by some of the most well known artists from Austria, glass and metal work by Winapol, designer jewellery and so on.

Under the theme 'Austrian Winter Dream' the organisers have also organised a food festival and musical extravaganza at the Inter Continental Hotel Abu Dhabi until the end of this week.

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