The Generali Foundation was set up in 1988 as the nonprofit art association of the Generali Group Austria. Its purpose is to support contemporary visual art. Initially installed in a small exhibition space in central Vienna, it moved in 1995 to an early-twentieth-century ensemble, the Habighof, a former millinery factory, where the architects Christian Jabornegg and András Pálffy built the Foundation’s new home, including an exhibition space, underground storage facilities, Study Center, and administrative offices.
Sabine Breitwieser, the Foundation's founding director, led the institution from 1988 to 2007, succeeded in 2008 by Sabine Folie, who headed the institution until March 2014. In 2008–2009, in an effort to cut costs, the BAWAG Foundation was invited to share the building on Wiedner Hauptstraße for its art projects. From 2010 to 2014, the Generali Foundation has once again had exclusive use of the premises. In the spring of 2014, the Generali Foundation was given on permanent loan to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. The cooperation agreement stipulates that the Museum der Moderne will present works from the collection on an ongoing basis in order to introduce wider audiences to the Generali Foundation's art. The location in Vienna will be shut down at the end of 2014.
The institution, with all its facilities and activities, is funded from private sources. The members of the Generali Foundation are Generali Holding Vienna AG, Generali Versicherung AG, Generali Rückversicherung AG, BAWAG P.S.K. Versicherung, Europäische Reiseversicherung, and the Austrian branch of Generali Real Estate S.p.A.