Peter Altenberg (1859-1919) represented the typical coffee house poet and intellectual active in Vienna at the turn the century. He was both admired and ridiculed: a Bohemian and an aesthete, an admirer of landscapes and beautiful women, master of the aphorism and health devotee. An exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Vienna offers a glimpse of Vienna as seen through the eyes of this eccentric, author of countless letters, and friend of artists like Karl Kraus, Arthur Schnitzler and Gustav Klimt. He spent the greater part of his life in hotels and bars, skilled in living off his friends and forever in need of money.
The photo collection that decorated the walls of his hotel room has been reconstructed for the exhibit. It provides an insight into Altenberg’s activities as a part of the Jugendstil milieu: a sensitive writer, amateur psychologist, an aesthete and a collector of picture postcards, photographs and pictures. This collection, together with his commentary, should be considered a work of art.
The documentary of the life and works of Peter Altenberg entitled "Peter Altenberg: A Life’s Extract" can be viewed at the Jewish Museum in Vienna from January 22-April 23, 2003. A parallel exhibition entitled, "Peter Altenberg. In Search of a Writer" is being shown at the House of Literature in Vienna.
For more information, consult http://www.jmw.at.