The Infeld art collection was initiated by Peter Infeld (1942-2009) and his mother Margaretha Infeld (1904–1994) in the mid-1960s. Today it comprises several thousand works of art, which have been incorporated into the “Peter Infeld Foundation” since 1995.
"When I was young my mother opened my eyes to the beauty of literature, music and fine arts. However, she was never tempted to buy art”, Peter Infeld wrote once in a foreword. – Until 1965, when the Zentralsparkasse Vienna hosted an exhibition of the “Viennese School”. At that time the term “Viennese School of Fantastic Realism” was coined by the Viennese art critic Johann Muschik. He was referring to a group of about 30 painters, which had its origins in the class of Albert Paris Gütersloh at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Arik Brauer, Ernst Fuchs, Rudolf Hausner, Wolfgang Hutter and Anton Lehmden became the most significant representatives of that school. Works of these artists together with those of their well-known students like Joseph Bramer, Benedetto Fellin, Gottfried Helnwein, Ulrich Gansert or Joachim Luetke formed the initial focus of Peter and Margaretha Infeld’s collecting activities.
Frequent trips to the Podravina (the Croatian territory along the river Drava) and first contacts with the major artists of the “School of Hlebine” – Ivan Generalic, Ivan Rabuzin, Mijo Kovacic, Ivan Vecenaj – increased the interest of mother and son in the various imagery of Croatian naïve art.
From the 70s onwards, they hardly missed any exhibition and they visited many artists in their studios. They discovered Rainer and Hrdlicka, whose numerous sculptures can be found in the collection. Peter and Margaretha Infeld also purchased works of art by Hans Staudacher, Karl Korab, Franz Ringel, Peter Pongratz, Eduard Angeli, Markus Vallazza, Robert Zeppel-Sperl and many others. In rapid succession works by Christian Ludwig Attersee, Tone Fink, Walter Pichler, Walter Schmögner and Friedensreich Hundertwasser followed. A major part of Hundertwasser’s graphic work was acquired as well as treasures by Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Alfred Kubin, Wilhelm Thöny, Oskar Kokoschka and Herbert Boeckl. These were followed by numerous works by artists from Gugging, as well as by other Art Brut artists.
Lovingly selected works by great European and international artists were added to the collection. It was only a question of time before Peter Infeld plucked up the courage to make the leap overseas. In 1996, he laid the foundation for a remarkable pop art collection with a work of art by Andy Warhol.
A major part of the Infeld Collection is the collection of Buddhist meditation pictures from Tibet, also known as Thangkas, which is the most extensive one in Austria.
In order to show his collection to a wider public Peter Infeld established prestigious cultural centres in Halbturn in Burgenland and in the idyllic village of Dobrinj on the island of Krk. Each of the numerous exhibitions taking place there is combined with top-class musical events.