The STRABAG Artcollection – founded more than thirty years ago by Hans Peter Haselsteiner and Wilhelm Weiß – is primarily comprised of works by pioneers and outsiders of post-1945 Austrian art and representatives of Austrian informel, as well as key trends in painting from the 1980s and 1990s. At first, emphasis was laid on art from the Austrian state of Carinthia and on personal contact with artists through studio visits. This underlies the particularly strong representation of Carinthian artists in the STRABAG Artcollection. With the launch, in 1994, of Bauholding Prize for the Promotion of Young Artists – the forerunner of today’s STRABAG Artaward International – the collection’s range was extended to include young Austrian artists, and since 2009, international artists.
Even today, acquisitions are not determined by strategic or conceptual considerations. Instead, they reflect the collectors’ personal tastes, resulting in the collection’s particular strength in gestural-expressive and abstract-painterly work, as well as the work of the “Junge Wilde” group of the late 1970s and 1980s. Works by this group of artists were collected in depth rather than breadth, with particular emphasis put on comprehensive documentation of the work of important artists, thus giving an overview of various periods and series. As well as reflecting factors such as value and contemporary trends, the STRABAG Artcollection continues to be marked by diversity and the juxtaposition of very different artists. However, panel painting remains central, with acquisitions of sculptures being the exception rather than the norm. Many contemporary artists have given the medium of drawing a new and vital aspect, strengthening its autonomy.