In the past few decades, Kunstmuseum Winterthur
has established a collection of recent American art, which is now shown throughout the entire museum. The title of the exhibition names Alexander Calder and Ellsworth Kelly: American artists, whose oeuvre is marked by stays in Paris, thus building a bridge to the French-inspired collection of the Winterthur museum. This sizable exhibition is organized on the occasion of Dieter Schwarzs retirement in June who, as Director of Kunstmuseum Winterthur, designed and assembled this collection.
The collection begins with the abstract painting of the 1960s. The change that took place in New York at the time is reflected in the paintings by Philip Guston, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Robert Mangold, and Robert Ryman. From there, the focus shifts to the various developments of the following decades, in particular however to sculpture. The main intention was, whenever possible, to establish larger groups of works and not simply collect extensively but more in-depth instead. Thus, Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Jo Baer, James Bishop, John Chamberlain, Philip Guston, Eva Hesse, Roni Horn, Rita McBride, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Matt Mullican, David Rabinowitch, Fred Sandback, Joel Shapiro, Richard Tuttle, and Lawrence Weiner are each represented by several works in the collection. This names some of the outstanding individuals who helped shape the new history of American art. Thus, the collection primarily focuses on specific artists and not on a documentation of the various movements. Even some less well-known loners have found their place in the collection, such as Forrest Bess and Myron Stout or Ruth Vollmer, who emigrated from Germany. Their works lend the Winterthur collection its special character.
An important aspect are the works on paper, because Kunstmuseum Winterthur has paid great attention to this part of the collection in the last decades. The tradition of drawing has remained alive in American art, and the works by Sam Francis, Myron Stout, Mark Tobey, and Philip Guston as well as those by James Bishop, Vija Celmins, Dan Flavin, Robert Mangold, and Dorothea Rockburne testify to this. Special emphasis was placed on drawings by sculptors, for not only David Smith, but also Richard Artschwager, John Chamberlain, Roni Horn, Fred Sandback, and Joel Shapiro have provided original contributions to the art of drawing. The museum moreover owns a particularly beautiful group of drawings by Richard Tuttle.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the fifth and last volume of the catalogue of paintings and sculptures of the museum with works since 1960 has been published. It is supplemented by the equally new catalogue of American drawings in the museum collection.