From February 12, to May 16, 2010, the Kunsthaus Zürich
will host one of the worlds most important private collections the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection. The collections main focus is on French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, including other 19th-century French painters. Since it fell victim to a robbery in 2008, the collection's museum in Zürich has been accessible only with restrictions. For the Kunsthaus Zürich, whose success in the past century has been closely intertwined with private collectors and sponsors, the show constitutes a kind of dress rehearsal, since the 176 paintings and sculptures in the current exhibition are intended to take up their permanent place in the Kunsthaus extension when it opens in 2015.
The Zurich-based industrialist Emil Bührle (18901956), the source of some of the Kunsthaus Zürichs most valuable donations, compiled his art collection mostly in the aftermath of the Second World War. In addition to its Impressionist paintings, the Bührle Collection holds works by members of the Nabis group, the Fauves, the Cubists and other exponents of the French avant-garde after 1900. Older pieces include examples of the Dutch Golden Age and Venetian Old Masters from the 16th to 18th centuries, as well as a group of Gothic wooden sculptures. World-renowned works of art such as van Goghs The Sower, Renoirs Little Irene, Monets Poppies near Vétheuil, Cézannes Boy in the Red Vest and Picassos Italian Woman are also to be found in the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection. In addition, the collection holds major works by artists such as Frans Hals, Canaletto, Ingres, Delacroix, Manet, Degas, Gauguin, Signac, Vlaminck and Braque. The collection's main topic is the role played by a burgeoning artistic freedom in the development of modern art. Its importance is a function of the stringent criteria applied by Bührle when making his selection of masterpieces.
Milestones of Art History on Heimplatz
For a limited time only, visitors both domestic and foreign, together with the people of Zurich, will have the opportunity to re-discover this valuable private collection, and to form their own opinions about its planned relocation to David Chipperfields projected Kunsthaus extension on Heimplatz (to open in 2015). The combination of the Bührle Foundation with the museums own collection will make the Kunsthaus Zürich Europe's leading centre for French Impressionism outside of Paris.
Van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet, an exhibition mounted in the Kunsthaus Zürich's generously proportioned great hall (1300 m2), will offer visitors a taste of things to come. Emil Bührle himself presented the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft with the hall, which has been in use since 1958 and will continue to serve for the main exhibitions once the extension has been completed. It was here in June of 1958 that the Bührle Collection had its début, unfortunately without its late founder. In 1960 the collectors family created a foundation with some 200 pictures and sculptures, and installed the works in a private museum in Zurich that was open to the general public. Following the notorious armed robbery of 10 February 2008, in which four key pieces were taken, the collection has seen its public access curtailed. Two of the pictures stolen van Goghs Blossoming Chestnut Branches and Monets Poppies near Vétheuil have since been recovered, and are part of the Kunsthaus presentation. As for Cézannes Boy in the Red Vest, however, and a work by Degas also purloined, they remain at large.