The Fondation Beyeler has received a generous donation of thirty-three works of art from the collection of Claude and Micheline Renard. Due to their great appreciation of Ernst Beyeler and his museum, the Renards expressly wished to donate the favorite works in their collection to the Fondation Beyeler.
As a manager at the automobile company Renault, Renard (1928-2005) initiated the department of "Recherches, art et industrie" in 1967, thus founding the first great corporate collection of contemporary art in France. Together with his wife, Micheline, in the context of the Renault-sponsored association "L'incitation à la création", he conceived and organized a series of contemporary art exhibitions at the Abbey of Sénanque. Out of this long-term engagement and passion for art arose a remarkable collection of paintings, sculptures and works on paper by international artists such as Jean Fautrier, Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis, Jean Tinguely, Antoni Tàpies, Sigmar Polke, and Jean-Michel Basquiat – many of whom became friends of the couple.
The donation from the Renard Collection to the Fondation Beyeler brings together two collections with quite different profiles and coverages, yet which nonetheless possess advantageous parallels and points of contact.
While the many masterpieces in the Beyeler Collection provide an exemplary illustration of modern art from the late 19th to the early 21st century, the Renard Collection focuses on a concentrated selection of works by international artists of the postwar period. Still, the two collections reflect close correspondences in terms of both choice of artists and artistic criteria and aesthetic stances.
These correspondences are especially evident in the case of Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis and Antoni Tàpies – three artists represented in both collections. With these works by major representatives of postwar art, the Renard Collection makes a substantial contribution to the breadth and depth of the Fondation Beyeler's stocks. Yet the Renard donation also brings artists into the Beyeler Collection whose presence has been missed, expanding it coherently in terms of major works. These comprise works by Jean Fautrier, Jean Tinguely, Sigmar Polke and Jean-Michel Basquiat, which dynamically continue existing collecting emphases.
All works in the donation are presented in the exhibition, including some which have never before been seen in public, making them accessible for the first time to wider audiences. Exhibition curator is Raphaël Bouvier.