The Palace Residents


Count Silva-Tarouca


The Portuguese nobleman Emanuel Teles da Silva Conde Tarouca (1696-1771) entered the Habsburg state administration in 1720. In recognition of his loyalty and statesmanlike refinement, Emperor Carl VI (1685-1740) had him appointed tutor to his eldest daughter, Maria Theresa (1717-80), to provide instruction in political affairs and moral behaviour. He would serve the Empress as her lifelong advisor and cherished friend. In 1744, she granted him permission to convert his offices into a residence on the southwestern end of the Hofburg palace.


Count Tarouca lived in his new home, the future Albertina, until he retired in 1757 as court building surveyor and president of the Netherlands Council, and moved to his estates in Bohemia. 



Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen and Archduchess Marie Christine


Duke Albert of Saxony (1738-1822) married Maria Theresa’s favourite daughter, Archduchess Marie Christine (1742-98), in 1766. The Duchy of Teschen in Silesia was part of her dowry, Empress’s new son-in-law took the name



Albert of Saxe-Teschen, 1777

Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen. Albert and Marie Christine became governors of the Austrian Netherlands in 1780. In 1792, as French revolutionary troops advanced on Brussels, the couple fled back to Vienna and took up residence in Count Silva-Tarouca’s former palace, which Emperor Franz II/I had bestowed on them (1768-1835).

In 1805, Duke Albert installed his celebrated collection of graphic art in the palace on the Augustinian bastion. In the will he drew up in 1816, he created a fideicommissum, or entail, ensuring that the collection would remain an inalienable Habsburg family inheritance.


The collection was referred to for the first time as “la collection Albertina” in 1870, by its director, “Gallery Inspector” Moritz von Thausing. 







Archduke Carl and Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg


Archduke Carl (1771-1847), the third son of Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, (1747-92; from 1790 Emperor Leopold II), inherited the palace in 1822 as the adopted son of Duke Albert, an outstanding strategist and tactician,


Georg Decker (copy after Anton Einsle)
Archduke Carl of Austria, after 1847

he was a formidable opponent of Napoleon Bonaparte, defeating him at Aspern on 21-22 May 1809, the first battle Napoleon had lost as emperor. Archduke Carl withdrew from public life because of political conflicts with his older brother, Emperor Franz II/I, and in 1815 he married a Hessian princess,

Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg (1797-1829). In 1823, soon after the couple had moved into today’s Albertina, Princess Henriette introduced a Protestant tradition to Catholic Austria by putting up a decorated Christmas tree in the Audience Hall. 





Archduke Albrecht and Princess Hildegard of Bavaria


Archduke Albrecht (1817-95), the eldest son of Archduke Carl, was destined from childhood for a military career. In due course he was appointed lieutenant general, married Princess Hildegard of Bayern (1825-64) in 1843,


Georg Decker

Archduke Albrecht

and came into his inheritance upon his father’s death in 1847.

By introducing modern agricultural technology such as steam-powered tractors, he made a fortune from his estates in Hungary, Bohemia and Silesia. Under Archduke Albrecht’s command as field marshal, the Austrian army defeated the Italians in the Battle of Custozza in 1866. In honour of that victory, in 1899 Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916) erected a monumental equestrian statue of the late archduke in front of today’s Albertina.

Archduke Albrecht oversaw the education of Crown Prince Rudolph (1858-89) and Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914).




Archduke Friedrich and Princess Isabella of Croy-Dülmen


Archduke Friedrich (1856-1936) was the last Habsburg owner of today’s Albertina. After the death of his father, he was adopted by Archduke Albrecht in 1874, whose enormous wealth he inherited in 1895.



Archduke Friedrich

He and his wife, Princess Isabella of Croy-Dülmen (1856-1931), subsequently moved to Vienna from Pressburg (now Bratislava) to live in the Albertina palace. In addition to preparing for his military career, Archduke Friedrich studied mining and metallurgy, forestry, agriculture and dairy farming. The dairy empire he built up on his estates in the Duchy of Teschen made him the richest man in the Empire. At the beginning of World War I, he was appointed Supreme Commander of the Austro-Hungarian Army, retaining the position until 1916. After the dissolution of the Monarchy in 1919, the newly established Republic of Austria expropriated the Albertina palace together with the collection of graphic art. Friedrich and his family went into exile in Magyaróvár (Ungarisch-Altenburg) in Hungary, where Friedrich, the last Habsburg owner of the Albertina, died in 1936.