Geymüller Schlössel, Vienna:
Museum Outpost at Pötzleinsdorfer Park
The Geymüller Schlössel is a Biedermeier Villa right next to the extensive Pötzleindorfer Park in the outskirts of Vienna and makes a nice day-trip or half-day-trip destination. Going there is an easy way to get out of the city and immersing oneself in the illusion of wilderness. The Geymüller Schlössel is run as an outpost of the Museum for Applied Arts (MAK), the park originated from the horticultural ambitions of a local entrepreneur named Johann Jakob of Geymüller. The park is well-known for its sequoia population, nice views on Vienna and extensive meadows.
A few words on the history of the Geymüller Schlössel: The piece of land where it was built was property of a monastery for centuries. Only in the mid-17th century, the property was sold to an Italian nobleman, Count Fabius Ricci, who built himself a villa and a manufactory for silk dying. In 1781, he sold it to the Countess Philippina of Herberstein (those of the castle in Styria and the Herberstein Zoo). The countess demolished the manufactory building and refurbished the Ricci Villa.
She invested much attention and energy into the design of the gardens: Exotic plants were bought and arranged in a very sensitive manner. Alas, this was by far not the climax of horticulture for the area. In 1797, Countess of Herberstein sold the property to the wealthy entrepreneur and banker Johann Jakob of Geymüller. He demolished he house and re-built it in a modern, neo-Classical style in 1808. More importantly, he built a race course, a fake farmhouse with animals, little lakes, planted treed and had one of the first English-stlye landscape gardens of Vienna.
The "new" Geymüller Schlössel: Biedermeier it is!
With time, he equipped this countryside retreat with all sorts of follies, bird houses, pavilions and greenhouses. Much in the Baroque tradition of Vienna, the Geymüller Schlössel and its park served as a stage for representation - even members of the Royal Imperial family attended some of the garden parties at the Geymüller Schlössel and park. In 1824, the Johann Jakob of Geymüller died.
In 1839, his children sold the property to Johann Heinrich of Falkner-Geymüller, the adopted nephew of the deceased landlord. He moved in right away and lived a jolly life in the Geymüller Schlössel, until he was completely broke and forced to sell it again rather soon. In moved back to his native city of Basel, where he died in poverty in 1848. He was probably the model for Ferdinand Raimund′s play "Der Verschwender" ("The Waster"). The Geymüller Schlössel was sold a couple of times after this had happened.
Further Landlords & Current Use by Wien Museum
In 1888, the Jewish textile industrialist Isidor Mautner was another celebrity landlord. Mautner went almost bankrupt in the course of the World economic crisis of the late 1920ies; in 1929, the property went to the Austrian National Bank. With the Anschluss, the property of the Austrian National Bank was merged with the Nazi-German Deutsche Reichsbank and in 1944, the Geymüller Schlössel was formally "arianised" (ie. taken from Isidor Mautner). After the war, it was returned to the Austrian National bank and sold to the Republic of Austria in 1948.
One strange detail that I don′t fully understand: The chairman of the National Printing Company (Österreichische Staatsdruckerei, the institution that makes Euro bills, passports and birth certificates) paid the full amount as sort of a loan - in return, he was granted the right to live there for all his life. This gentleman, Franz Sobek, had a rather large collection of clocks, which he stored in the Geymüller Schlössel.
This seeded the current use of the Geymüller Schlössel as a museum for clocks and an outpost of the Museum for Applied Arts with temporary exhibitions. The Geymüller Schlössel is a typical Biedermeier (not dissimilar from and contemporary to British Regency) villa with elements of neo-Gothic and oriental elements. Personally, I find it rather not spectacular and recommend to focus on the park and its surroundings. The area around the Pötzleindorfer Park ranks among the most exclusive in Vienna.
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