Renate Wagner-Rieger, Univ.-Prof. Dr.

10.1.1921 – 11.12.1980
born in Wien, Austria died in Wien, Austria


Ehrung Titel Datierung Fakultät
Gate of Remembrance Wagner-Rieger-Tor 1998/99

Renate Wagner-Rieger received her doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy in 1947 with a dissertation on "The façade of the Viennese residential building from the 16th to the middle of the 18th century".

She passed the state examination at the Institute for Austrian Historical Research in 1950, was appointed lecturer in medieval and modern art history in 1956, associate professor in 1964 and finally full professor of Austrian art history at the University of Vienna in 1971. In 1978, she was elected head of the Institute of Art History. Wagner-Rieger focused in particular on the history of Western architecture. She achieved fundamental results in her research on medieval Italian architecture. In addition to her work on medieval architecture in Austria, she devoted critical studies to the problems of supra-regional stylistic phenomena and Renaissance architecture in Austria. Based on her dissertation topic, during her years as an assistant she was already working on the history of Austrian Baroque architecture (primarily secular architecture), which - as she herself wrote - accompanied her through her research "like a red thread" and also showed her "the way to other chapters of modern architectural history". Her participation in popular university lectures gave her the impetus to deal with the formerly "much-maligned, little-appreciated architecture of the 19th century", which ultimately resulted in the comprehensive work "Die Wiener Ringstraße - Bild einer Epoche" (The Vienna Ring Road - Image of an Epoch) in eleven parts (16 volumes, 1969-1981), which she edited and also partly wrote, and which expanded the art-historical perspective in historical, cultural-historical, economic and social-historical and technological terms.

She thus initiated the objective research and fair assessment of historicism, which had long been defamed.

Of the numerous honors Renate Wagner-Rieger has received, the Theodor von Karajan Medal in the field of urban history research (1978), the medal for services to the protection of historical monuments from the Federal Ministry of Science and Research (1979) and her election as a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences are worthy of special mention.
She was honored by the University of Vienna in 1998 by naming one of the "Gates of Remembrance" on the campus of the University of Vienna (Wagner-Rieger Gate, passageway between courtyard 8 and courtyard 9).

In November 2021, on the occasion of her centenary, a major conference was held at the Vienna Institute of Art History (program) to highlight the content and methodological orientation of the internationally renowned art and architectural historian as well as her lasting influence on subsequent art and architectural history research from medieval architecture to the baroque palace to the innovative focus on the re-evaluation of 19th century historicist art.

A memorial page has been created on the website of the archive of the Institute of Art History and her estate has been catalogued there.

Kurt Mühlberger

Zuletzt aktualisiert am 02/29/24