A palace and museum in Vienna that belonged to Archduchess Maria Christine (1742–1798), the favorite daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Duke Albert-Kasimir of Saxony-Teschen (1738–1822). The archduchess was a talented painter, and her husband was a man of refined aesthetic sensibilities; the marriage gave him the financial wherewithal to collect high-caliber prints, drawings, and watercolors. They acquired the core of the French, Netherlandic, German, and English holdings of the museum during travels and administrative assignments in Italy and the Low Countries.
   An Italian connoisseur, Count Giacomo Durazzo, played a key role in the development of the collection. He presented Duke Albert with a huge body of material—over 30, 000 prints and 1,400 drawings alone. More important, the count persuaded Albert to organize his holdings according to region of origin and chronological order, rather than by subject, which was the prevailing custom in princely galleries. Thus the Albertina was, from the beginning, a resource for scholars and aesthetes alike.
   The Albertina contains some of Albrecht Dürer’s best-known drawings; the graphic output of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rubens is also well represented. Significant modern acquisitions include works by Manet, Modigliani, Cézanne, and the Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele. Duke Albert ordered that the collection, which was expanded during the 19th century through purchases and exchanges, pass intact to his heirs and their successors. After both World War I and World War II, there were efforts to break it up for commercial sale. None of these, however, was realized.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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