100th anniversary of the death of Paul Kupelwieser:
honoring his achievements by the University of Pula

Deeply impressed by the interest and profound research and knowledge of all speakers, Theodor Heinrich Mautner Markhof thanks all organizers and sponsors of the international scientific conference in honor of his great-great-grandfather Paul Kupelwieser. The Mautner Markhof family is very grateful to the Croatian state and local management for the responsible care, care and maintenance of their heritage.

“We would like to thank you ALL for your interest and commitment to Brioni, which is not only a beautiful part of today´s Croatia, not only the heritage of a man, a family, but also a monument of history and a testimony what a man is able to create, if he has vision and willpower and – of course – the necessary resources.” Theodor Heinrich Mautner Markhof

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Paul Kupelwieser (1843 – 1919), the University Library and the Faculty of Interdisciplinary, Italian and Cultural Studies of the University of Juraj Dobrila in Pula (Croatia), with the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb, organized a two-day international conference in the fall of 2019 in honor of that Austrian whose name is inextricably linked with the Brioni Islands. The aim of the conference, which was attended by speakers from Croatia and Austria, was to present Paul Kupelwieser’s work and activities in the south of Istria with a special focus on Brijuni in the most diverse aspects, but at the same time to highlight its importance for modern tourism on Brijuni. Accordingly, the range of topics covered by the present contributions is diverse. It ranges from science and technology to the fine arts, architecture, literature, music, business and tourism, and thus also reflects the multifaceted personality of Paul Kupelwieser.

Mira Pavletić, Dipl. Ing. Arch. / head of the Department for Cultural Heritage Protection in the public institution of Brijuni National Park
Artists and their works during the epoch Paul Kupelwieser

Right after the purchase of the island (1893) Paul Kupelwieser initiated intensive building projects, which were regarded as necessary base for economic success. About fifteen years passed from the construction of the first hotel “Brioni” to the opening of the last hotel “Neptune III” and the number of rooms rose to 300. Numerous halls, restaurants, reading lounges and card rooms of the new hotels, sacral spaces as well as parks and promenades were to be equipped appropriately with modern paintings and sculptures.

Besides his qualifications as a technician (engineer of metallurgy), he was also son of the respected painter Leopold Kupelwieser, and thus possessed a high sensitivity for art and its significance. So, it was no coincidence that at the beginning of the 20th century many artists, among them the most renowned representatives of the three most important Viennese art movements, came to Brioni. Hugo Charlemont, member of the Künstlerhaus group; Paul Ress, member of the Hagenbund group; the painter and sculptor Josef Engelhart, one of the founders of the Vienna Secession, and many others. As a commissioned piece, a work by Kaspar Clemens von Zumbusch, the most important Austrian artist of monumental sculpture at the time, also made its way to the island.

Doz. Dr. Nataša Urošević / University Juraj Dobrila in Pula
Brioni as a destination of cultural-, health- and ecotourism. How to build a sustainable future on existing tradition.

In this work, the innovative models of touristic valorisation of particularly valuable cultural landscapes were elaborated, committed to an integrated approach to the care of cultural and natural assets by means of sustainable and responsible forms of management. This implies a concept that places cultural and natural heritage, as well as limited spatial resources, at the center of the long-term planning by the heir community. They are responsible for creating sustainable development, above all by responsibly adapting contemporary tourism to local conditions and traditions. In this work, the results of many years of historical research have been synthesised with strategic visions. The concepts of development and plans made by Paul Kupelwieser (1843 – 1919) deserve special mention. On the basis of archive material from the Kupelwieser Collection, it was possible to present his very ambitious – and still current – development projects with regard to health-, cultural– and ecotourism.

This research included cultural-historical analysis, archival and terrain research, the review of current theoretical literature and the examination of tourism related documentations of the European region. The main focus was on health-, cultural-, congress-, sports- and ecotourism as well as on the national parks segment. The result was a model of development that integrates all modern requirements and preserves the tradition of the past.

Dr. Jasenka Kranjčević / Institute of Tourism, Zagreb
Paul Kupelwieser: Architecture and Building Culture of the Brioni Archipelago

The potential of a holiday resort and its potential for tourism can also be seen in the owner/investor’s relationship to architecture and building culture. For the establishment and commissioning, the securing of a healthy environment, the construction of infrastructure (roads, ports, airports) and the selection of suitable architects are essential. The success of a holiday destination requires, in addition to accommodation suitable for the target group, additional open and closed spaces such as for entertainment, recreation, or educational facilities, etc. At the same time, it is important not to forget living and working rooms for staff, as well as warehouses for food and sanitary items.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Paul Kupelwieser’s death, the main part of this work dealt with his relationship to the archipelago’s tourist architecture, i.e. the beginnings of tourism development. A chronological list (1893 to 1919) clearly shows his approach to construction work and its implementation. Whether for secular, sacral, industrial, agricultural, educational, infrastructural or traffic-related purposes, as well as for sports, recreation, entertainment or trade, military or health care – everything bears his personal signature and indicates his approach. It is evident that the management experience he had gained during his time leading a large factory, the Vítkovice Steelworks, was used in the planning of the archipelago.

Clearly, everything was dedicated to the needs of the higher social strata. The analysis of the plans realized and not realized at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century showed that the burgeoning mass tourism of broader strata of the population was already taken into account (construction of a hotel with 100 rooms). Even at a mature age, Paul Kupelwieser still understood the zeitgeist and reacted to it.

Dr. Alida Perkov / emeritus university lecturer
Kupelwieser’s economic activities in the regional environment of Brioni and his plans for the further economic development of South Istria.

Besides his enormous investments on the Brijuni Islands, Paul Kupelwieser also left traces in the immediate surroundings, respectively in the south of Istria. Not only written and oral traditions bear witness to this, but concrete material traces were also left behind. In order to build a commercial port, he bought a plot of land in Medulin. In the present area of Ližnjan, in Valtura (he was friends with the better-off inhabitants of Ližnjan, often invited them to Brioni, or went hunting with them on the island of Levan), he invested in a piece of agricultural land to cultivate it in a modern way. Moreover, the philanthropist donated the means for the altar of the small church of the Mother of God of Kuj (also Ližnjan).

Dr. Laura Čuperjani / Associate Professor, Academy of Music, University Juraj Dobrila, Pula
Petra Horvat, M.A. / artist organisation PODIUM
The music festival “Podium” Brijuni/Fažana – from idea to realization

Culture and cultural tradition are of great importance for the attractiveness of a tourist region. It is not seldom that the cultural offer for the visitors is an essential criterion for the choice of a holiday destination. Throughout Croatia, music festivals and similar events are an important part of the cultural offer. In addition to the important festivals with a long tradition, there are many smaller ones with new concepts and contents. The chamber music festival PODIUM has been active for eleven years in six European countries: Germany, Austria, Norway, Spain and Iceland, and from 2015 also in Croatia. The basic idea of the festival is the open cooperation of different artists through workshops, performances and other activities, the results of which can later be presented in concerts in very inspiring and attractive places – such as the Brioni National Park. The emphasis there is on the works of Croatian composers, and the environment also inspires new creations. In the commemoration year of the anniversary of Paul Kupelwieser’s death, the local composer Laura Mjeda Čuperjani combined elements of the past with current stories to create a specially created piece of music.

Aleksandra Rotar / University Juraj Dobrila in Pula
The influence of visual and musical artists on tourism developed by Kupelwieser

The Biedermeier period between 1815 and 1848/1849, from the Congress of Vienna to the revolution that shook the Habsburg Monarchy and Central Europe, was a turbulent period. The end of Europe at that time was foreseeable. The people demanded freedom of the press, speech and opinion. After the French Revolution, the bourgeoisie in Vienna assumed the leading role in the cultural field of social life, in particular by founding the Association for Promotion of Fine Arts. The aim was to help artists make a living by providing them with commissions. The artistic trend Biedermeier originated from the word Bieder (bourgeois), which in German cultural milieu means petit bourgeois and describes an intellectually limited person whose intellectual life rarely exceeds the limits of elementary needs. The artists of that time dealt with such people and themes. The famous industrialist Paul Kupelwieser made the neglected malaria-affected archipelago of Brioni (today Brijuni) one of the most prestigious tourist centers in Europe. A century ago he spontaneously and visionary brought the leading visual and musical artists from his native environment to the islands.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Franković /Department of Technical Studies, University Juraj Dobrila in Pula
Kupelwieser’s application of modern technical achievements on Brioni

Paul Kupelwieser (1843 – 1919) was born in Vienna, where he had completed his university studies in mining. After a 28 years long and very successful professional career as an engineer and manager for the extraction of metals in the ironworks of the Habsburg monarchy, Kupelwieser resigned his service and came to Pula, where he bought the Brioni archipelago in 1893 with the idea of transforming the islands into a modern, sophisticated holiday resort, one of the meeting points of the Haute Volée. Thus, the managing director, who saved the steelworks in Teplice and Vítkovice (Czech Republic) from bankruptcy and turned them into profitable businesses, turned to completely new tasks at the age of fifty. He already had the following visions when he bought the Brioni archipelago: Rehabilitation of the swampy areas, construction of appropriate infrastructure and a small port (the small port in Fažana was unsafe and therefore unsuitable for the mooring of ships), enrichment of the flora and fauna, horticultural projects (in particular the cultivation of autochthonous plants), construction of a hotel with the associated year-round tourist facilities. He was particularly interested in local archaeological excavations and the restoration/conservation of ancient artefacts. As an engineer, he also recognized the challenges that awaited him: Supplying the archipelago with water, goods, materials and finally also tourists.

Using the examples of port construction, ship fleet, drinking water supply and electricity, the enormously complex engineering services were presented, for whose project planning and management Paul Kupelwieser was personally responsible with the help of the then most modern technical achievements.

Dr. Bruno Dobrić / Library of the University Juraj Dobrila in Pula
The project “Brioni Insel-Zeitung” and other publications published by Paul Kupelwieser

Since 1903/04, after the successful fight against malaria by Dr. Robert Koch and his team (1901/02), Paul Kupelwieser has focused his attention on the development of Medical tourism: the building of a hotel, the construction of an undersea water pipeline and the improvement of transport connections. The aim was also to inform potential guests from the territories of the Habsburg Monarchy, Germany and other countries about the natural beauty of the archipelago, its rich cultural heritage, the favourable climatic and health-promoting conditions, as well as about the numerous sporting opportunities and other entertainment programmes.

The development of tourism as a modern business included the publication of a newspaper with an obligatory list of spa guests (spa list) and other publications. Such initiatives can already be seen as the beginnings of touristic marketing for the newly established spa and bathing resorts on the eastern Adriatic coast. Since at that time tourism in Central Europe was mainly positioned as a health promotion for the wealthy social classes, Paul Kupelwieser focused on the curative and positive scientifically proven factors. Writers who could be won over as employees of the journal described the natural beauties comprehensively and inspiringly. The texts were illustrated with numerous photos and vedutas of important painters who resided on the archipelago.

In addition to illustrated Brioni guidebooks, which contained valuable cultural-historical and scientific studies – the results of investigations carried out by scientists at Kupelwieser’s invitation – the Brioni island newspaper served as a regular literary-scientific platform from 1910 to 1914. The “Brioni-Zeitung” and the other publications distinguished themselves by the professionalism of their production and their modern design in the Austrian journalism of that time. Among the permanent staff members was the archaeologist, curator and art historian Dr. Anton Gnirs (1873 – 1933), who regularly reported on his archaeological investigations and other cultural-historical topics.

Kupelwieser’s most valuable publications from today’s perspective include his Memoirs, published in 1918, with a chapter in which the author described his work on the development of Brioni from 1893 to the beginning of the war in 1914 in detail. This book also bears witness to his ethical/moral (work ethics and creative power), aesthetic (artistic landscape design on Brioni) and ecological convictions (responsibility to his heirs by preserving nature and the environment).

Dr. Klara Trošt Lesić; Prof. Maja Jović
Experience design using the storytelling method: the Paul Kupelwieser phenomenon

The Brioni Islands are a cultivated landscape in which one can follow the traces of human intervention into nature since prehistoric times. However, this kind of impact is worth a special status – that of Paul Kupelwieser. Therefore, this phenomenon requires a thematic interpretation.

Definition: Interpretation is a creative, but also strategic process that aims to create intellectual and emotional connections between the visitors (audience) and the phenomenon to be interpreted (subject, object, image or person). The goal is contextualization and possible redefinition. After choosing the object of interpretation/phenomenon, all related information is collected.

As a rule, the application of the storytelling method leads to the field of experience design. In the objective context (phenomenon Paul Kupelwieser) – due to the paradigm shift from the work to the audience – the emphasis is always on the person who consumes the content (visitor of Brioni). Certain messages are sent to this audience, in the form of an experience or presentation of the phenomenon in an informative and appropriately entertaining way.

The task: How should the phenomenon of the man who made Brioni “the Brioni” be experienced?

The answer: The cultural-historical legacy can be used to create a unique cultural-touristic product that leads to a unique brand.

Dr. Mirjana Kos / Chief Curator of the Croatian Museum of Tourism, Opatija
Kupelwieser’s vision. A comparison: Opatija – Brioni – Dubrovnik based on the material in the Croatian Museum of Tourism.

Similarities and differences in the beginnings and development of tourism in the three elite Croatian seaside resorts of Opatija, Dubrovnik and Brioni can be deduced from the geographical, natural, political-administrative and cultural heritage of the areas concerned.

Opatija is the oldest climatic-medical spa and seaside resort on the east coast of the Adriatic. It was created as a completely new tourist settlement as a result of plannings and investments by the powerful Vienna Southern Railway Company. The main advantages of Opatija are its proximity to the Central European region, from which the tourist clientele originated, as well as good transport connections built from north to south.

Dubrovnik is a city that has existed since ancient times with a rich cultural heritage and unique Mediterranean flair. Its qualities are the favourable climate, the well-preserved cultural and historical heritage and the attractiveness of its surroundings.

The Brioni Archipelago is a combination of touristic models, created on the basis of purely private initiative as well as public investment. Since its foundation in 2007, the Croatian Museum of Tourism has collected all material related to the history of tourism, and its collections now include more than 7000 exhibits. Among them there is also extensive material about Brioni.

Ljiljana Tadić Komadina
Artists on Brioni: Hugo Charlemont

In the period from 1906 to 1912 Kupelwieser’s highly esteemed friend, the prominent Austrian painter Hugo Charlemont (Jamnitz, 18.3.1850 – Vienna, 18.4.1939), lived on the Brioni Islands. In addition to several aspects, the artist’s visual work also bears witness to Brioni’s cultural history. As a master, he soon became one of the most important promoters of the cultural-historical tradition of the islands, and his work boosted their development.

Hugo Charlemont comes from an artistic family that recognized and supported his talent for painting during his childhood. Although trained in the spirit of historicism, his painterly expression of the landscape reveals modern tendencies that emerged under the influence of young European artists. He took part in major exhibitions in Vienna, Berlin and Munich.

It is estimated that the master painted some 150 works, depicting almost the entire history of Brioni, from the splendour of antiquity to the cultivation of the islands at the beginning of the 20th century. In some works, the typical techniques of his period were used to capture light effects and impressions of natural phenomena and the atmosphere. These were made accessible to the Viennese public in the Oktogon Gallery, Josef M. Olbrich’s House of Art, and in 1908 he showed about seventy watercolours, temperas and oil paintings with the same motifs in Dresden.

Charlemont’s Brioni phase was very important for the understanding and valorisation of the cultural-historical heritage. It is also a testimony to the development of a malaria-contaminated archipelago into an elite seaside resort.

David Orlović, M.A.; Benjamin Kostešić; Dipl. Ing. Arch., Livio Nefat; Dipl. Ing. El., Ivan Skol
Value of Kupelwieser’s visions for development from today’s point of view using the railway line to Medulin as an example

Between 1907 and 1910, Paul Kupelwieser, the then owner of the Brioni archipelago, bought many plots of land in the Medulin Bay. After Brioni, Medulin also began to distinguish itself as a seaside resort. The deep bay of Medulin seemed especially suited to Kupelwieser for the construction of a trading port. The Austro-Hungarian authorities supported the idea of a fast connection (passenger, postal and express) between Istria and the coastal towns of Dalmatia. In order to reduce the pressure on the commercial port of Pula, which had become too small in the meantime, the port of Medulin was to be expanded and connected to the route of the Istrian State Railway by a normal railway line. Thus, in addition to the existing one from Kanfanar to Rovinj, another branch of the Istrian State Railway should have been built. But now the military authorities in Pula interfered and wanted to use this railway line for defence purposes of the city of Pula. The death blow for any further development of a port in the bay of Medulin was given by the beginning of the First World War in the summer of 1914. Later authorities no longer dealt with these ideas.

The work deals with Kupelwieser’s idea of transforming Medulin into a commercial port with a railway connection, its visionary significance and the hindering (or socio-political) circumstances that prevented its realization.