About Otto Mauer

Monsignor Otto Mauer (1907–1973) was one of the most important personalities of Austria's post-war Avant-garde. An avid collector himself, he was heavily invested in realigning Austria's post-war art scene with international currents, and by doing such, helping to re-embed the country within the world discourse. His focus was always very much on the dialogue between art and religion.

In 1954 he opened the Galerie St. Stephan at Grünangergasse 1. It afforded him a space to advance and promote contemporary art. Initially, he focused mainly on Informal Painting, and on works by four young painters who in 1956 formed the artist group Malergruppe St. Stephan: Wolfgang Hollegha, Josef Mikl, Markus Prachensky, and Arnulf Rainer. Following criticism inside the Church, he was forced to rename the gallery "Galerie nächst St. Stephan" ("Gallery next to St. Stephen's") in 1963. It became a place for exhibitions of contemporary art, poetry readings, music, discussions, as well as the famed "International Conversations on Art."

Otto Mauer was an exceptionally gifted theologist and orator, who would often put his skills to use in speeches critical of the National Socialist regime - wherefore he often required protection by Cardinal Innitzer. His own collection of more than 3,000 works of modern, as well as Austrian and international Avant-garde art has been incorporated into the Dom Museum Wien holdings since 1980. It represents a touchstone of the museum's new exhibition concept.