Konrad Oberhuber

At the opening of our Klimt Schiele exhibition, I was reminded of the fact that – long ago – I took a course on the Connoisseurship of Old Master Drawings with Professor Konrad Oberhuber, who, at the time, was an Austrian exile in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but who, later in his career, was persuaded to return to Vienna to be Director of the Albertina.   He was an eccentric, but charismatic figure, who was incredibly confident of his gifts of attribution, based on years of study as a young man in the drawings cabinets of European museums.   The only problem was that he had inherited a pre-war belief that it was possible to identify drawings not simply by draughtsman, but by geographical region.   This may be fine in differentiating Tuscan drawings from Umbrian, but is more problematic in distinguishing drawings made in Utrecht from those of Haarlem.   He regarded all English drawings as absurd, deserving only of laughter.   This geographical determinism became more dogmatic as he got older, and less convincing.   But he had a brilliant ability to describe the qualities and characteristics of Old Master drawings and he taught me a lot from the front of his Volkswagen Beetle visiting Massachusetts private collections.


2 thoughts on “Konrad Oberhuber

  1. Ivan Gaskell says:

    Konrad, his young wife, and little daughter visited Cambridge from Vienna regularly during the ’90s, turning up at the Fogg Art Museum, invariably together. He was pleasant enough, but I have to admit that I found his theosophically inflected ideas strange and scarcely penetrable.

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