The Gutmanns were an impoverished family that became wealthy by entering the coal trade, when the demand for railway construction material, industrial operations and heating material increased. In the course of industrialization, the former owner of the palace, Sir Wilhelm Gutmann had made a name for himself as a major industrialist in the promotion of coal and has therefore become abundantly prosperous. The entire family was socially engaged and politically committed to a realm, where the rich are allowed to enjoy their wealth only after giving a corresponding share to the poor.
In today’s Palais Gutmann, located on the left back side of the hotel, you can discover an image symbolically showing mankind between heaven and hell, on the ceiling of the ancient staircase. Moreover, the meander pattern in the stairwell has Greek origin and stands for infinity as well as peace. The very same symbol can be found in many guest rooms and suites as for example on the cupboards and all over Vienna, as it was a symbol for the infinity of power and the infinity of the empire, frequently used by emperor Franz- Joseph. The ceiling painting around the chandelier of the former Belletage, now the living room of the Presidential Suite, shows the twelve months symbolically represented by angels in the first wreath. They are surrounded by a further four angels that stand for the four seasons (arrow and bow: spring, leopard: summer, wine: autumn, eagle, winter). Both works of the Presidential Suite and the stairwell originate from August Eisenmenger, who also painted the ceiling in the famous Golden Hall of the “Musikverein”. When strolling around the Palais Gutmann, you can find a fireplace on the 4th floor, showing the horror scenario of Noah's Ark, as it could have happened, as a biblical symbol against evil spirits. It is due to Sir Wilhelm Gutmann, who was one of the greatest art collectors in Austria that these ancient treasures can still be found at The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna today.