The Beyeler Foundation – an important cultural centre in Switzerland

The Beyeler collection in Basel offers an adequate home to works from classic modernism.

Approaching the complex from the park, the first thing that strikes the eye is the clear silhouette of the new building that is dominated by light, glass and transparency. The handwriting of the star architect Renzo Piano can be recognised immediately. The building, situated next to the historical Villa Berower, perfectly blends into the green of the surroundings. While the outside already offers interesting impressions of generosity, weightlessness and an abundance of light, these impressions are further reinforced once you have entered the building.

Constructed in the 1980s, the museum was expressly built to host the collection of gallery owner Ernst Beyeler. The collection features masterpieces of the art from the last 100 years that are contrasted by sculptures from Africa and Oceania. This was all made possible by the establishment of a foundation. High-ranking partners from the economy have done their part to make the museum become a place of international reputation.

The portfolio of the collection reads like a “who-is-who” of art. Among the artists are the fathers and masters of classic modernism like Paul Klee, Eduardo Chillida, Piet Mondrian, Cézanne, Kandinsky, Seurat, Matisse, Monet, Van Gogh, Miró, Max Ernst, Chagall or Henri Rousseau. But the museum also features famous pieces from the most recent decades by artists like Rauschenberg, Jackson Pollock, Christo, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Alexander Calder, Josef Albers, Georg Baselitz or Bisworth Kelly.

Claude Monet´s “Nymphéas” (water lilies) from his garden in Giverny that became the centre of his work from 1895 onward, is a perfect example for the connection between form and colour on the one hand and light, air and time of the day on the other. During this period, he also created “La Cathédrale de Rouen” that depicts the portal in a particular morning light in which form, colour and atmosphere form a symbiosis. Today´s art is still influenced by Monet´s perception that became apparent for the first time in this painting.

Monet makes the main part of a painting appear like a vast and yet sublimely visionary phenomenon that spreads past its frame towards the sky and thus seems to absorb all light. The abstract painters of expressionism adopted this perception and continued to work with it.

Catalogues from the anniversary year 2007 that contain the complete collection and catalogues for the different exhibitions can be purchased in the ArtShop of the Beyeler collection. Information about past and coming exhibitions can be found on the clearly structured website. Becoming a member of the ArtClub has many advantages.

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