Max Reinhardt – A Life in Pictures




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May 02, 2018
by Louise Hallman
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Max Reinhardt – A Life in Pictures

Centenary of Max Reinhardt’s purchase of Schloss Leopoldskron marked by opening of special photography exhibition at his historic former home The Max Reinhardt Library was the initial venue for the special exhibition. Photo: Kolarik Andreas

“Leopold contract signed. God grant us the happiest contents for this precious shell.”

So wrote Max Reinhardt in a telegram to his wife, Helene Thimig in April 1918. One hundred years later, that precious shell contained a special photography exhibition of the theater impresario’s life and career as the current owners of Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg Global Seminar, celebrated this centenary.

The exhibition has been curated by Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron’s General Manager and Reinhardt aficionado Daniel Szelényi, who has been diligently collecting the photographs over the last four years. It is a journey through time that impressively portrays Max Reinhardt’s life: from the beginnings of his acting career, his life and work in Berlin, and his career highlights in Hollywood, to private moments such as with his sons at the Lido in Venice and skiing in Switzerland (dressed in full suit, no less).

An event to mark the opening of the exhibition welcomed representatives of the local government, media, and arts and culture scene – including several key figures from the Salzburger Festspiele, which Reinhardt co-founded in 1920. 

View full set on Flickr

In his nearly two decades at Schloss Leopoldskron, Reinhardt lovingly renovated the once-dilapidated property, breathing new life into the palace, the neighboring Meierhof and surrounding grounds. He turned Schloss Leopoldskron into a hub of creativity, complete with a large art and sculpture collection, many state rooms, a two-story library, a new “Great Hall”, and even a garden theater. 

April also marks a much darker anniversary: 80 years since the aryanization of the Schloss following the 1938 Nazi Anschluss of Austria – eerily the same date, April 16, as Reinhardt’s purchase. On leaving his beloved Schloss, a heartbroken Reinhardt wrote: “I have lived in Leopoldskron for eighteen years, truly lived, and I have brought it to life… It was the harvest of my life’s work.”  Reinhardt died in exile in New York in 1943. His widow, Thimig, offered use of the Schloss to the founders of Salzburg Global Seminar in 1947. 

The non-profit organization purchased Schloss Leopoldskron in 1959, later expanding the property to include the neighboring Meierhof in 1974. In 2014, Salzburg Global Seminar opened Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, following extensive renovations to the Meierhof building and Schloss gardens

Speaking after the event, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Salzburg Global Seminar, Victoria Mars said: “Seventy years ago, an Austrian and two Americans founded Salzburg Global Seminar here at Schloss Leopoldskron. Tonight, we mark a much earlier anniversary: the centenary of Max Reinhardt’s purchase of Schloss Leopoldskron. Reinhardt had a strong connection to the USA as an acclaimed Hollywood director, long before he was exiled to New York. I was delighted, as an American with a strong connection to Austria, to open this exhibition.”

In his speech at the exhibition opening, Szelényi spoke of how Reinhardt’s vision for the Schloss continues to be reflected today, most recently with the renovations of the Schloss’ 12 hotel suites – the premier of which is Max Reinhardt’s own former apartment. 

“When I moved to Salzburg five years ago to take up my position at Schloss Leopoldskron, Max Reinhardt was well known to me… More and more, thoughts on Reinhardt influenced my actions: ‘What would Reinhardt say if he were here today? How would he tackle this or that? What vision would Reinhardt have for the Schloss today?’ These questions formulated over time to a ‘Vision Reinhardt 2.0,’” said Szelényi.

As the present owners and long-serving stewards of this magnificent property, Salzburg Global Seminar will continue to honor Max Reinhardt’s legacy and vision. 

Currently on display in the Great Hall of Schloss Leopoldskron, the photo exhibition will move to its permanent home of the neighboring Meierhof later in the summer.