The name of this new commemorative stamp might be a little confusing, since it is not the Künstlerhaus itself that is celebrating a round anniversary this year, but rather the “Genossenschaft der bildenden Künstler Wiens” (“Vienna Artists & Cooperative”), a professional association of painters, sculptors and architects that resulted from the merger of the two predecessor associations, “Eintracht” and the “Albrecht-Dürer-Verein” in 1861, and took up residence a few years later, in 1868, in the new Künstlerhaus. In 1897 a number of modern artists seceded from the Künstlerhaus and founded the Vienna Secession, the first step towards the Künstlerhaus losing its function as the artists & official representative. In 1976, after having long been open to artists working in the field of the applied arts, the association was finally renamed as the “Gesellschaft bildender Künstler Österreichs, Künstlerhaus” (Austrian Society of Artists, Künstlerhaus). The Künstlerhaus-GesmbH company was founded in 1985 and still today organises top-quality exhibitions – not only of its own but also for other museums and renowned international institutions.
The Vienna Künstlerhaus, located on Karlsplatz next to the Vienna Musikverein concert hall, was constructed between 1865 and 1868, designed by a certain August Weber, who had just designed the Gartenbau building on the Vienna Ring. The ornate stone carvings were created by the Vienna “Anton Wasserburger” company mainly using stone from St. Margarethen and Wöllersdorf; the keystone was laid by no other than Emperor Franz Joseph I in person. As early as 1882, the building was extended through the addition of the two side wings, which were later to house a cinema and a theatre. In the 20th century this building, unusually low for the Ringstrasse area, was on several occasions threatened with demolition or the addition of another storey for purposes of speculation. Various proposals provided for the replacement of the historic pavilion by an eight-storey block of flats, or the idea was floated of constructing more buildings in this prominent location.