The Neue Galerie collection, with works from the 19th and 20th centuries, is a shining example of the convergence of public and private collecting at the highest level. Were it not for the financial and intellectual commitment of private collectors, the Neue Galerie's public collection would not enjoy its international reputation. It is also supported by purchases by the Chancellor's Office art section.
The foundation of the 19th century collection came in the form of a gift from Erzherzog Johann, donations by the court of the emperor and local nobility. After the first world war, collecting activities came to a standstill due to the economic situation, with the result that art from around 1900 and between the wars is not properly represented, though two significant paintings by Egon Schiele (Stadtende) and some drawings (Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka) are exceptions.
Thanks to the introduction of the Joanneum-Kunstpreis (Joanneum prize for art) in1959, the Internationale Malerwochen (International Painting Weeks) in Styria since 1966 and the Trigon-Biennale, the collecting activities of the Neue Galerie have been significantly increased and rendered more international since the 70s and 80s. Alongside continuous enlargement of the inventory from the 19th century, the focus of current collecting effort is Austrian and international contemporary art.
The Neue Galerie collection contains around 2500 paintings, 650 sculptures, 40,000 original and printed drawings, 1500 photographic works as well as works of video and media art.
A selection from the 19th and 20th century collection was on show at Schloss Eggenberg palace till January of 2003 in an exhibition entitled 'Von Waldmüller bis Schiele' (From Waldmüller to Schiele).