Mission statement

Sam Keller and Ernst Beyeler
Mission statement

The Fondation Beyeler is a museum of modern art that ranks as one of the finest in the world. It has won international renown with its exhibitions of celebrated artists of the 19th, 20th and 21st century. Its central aim at all times is to facilitate, for its visitors, a personal, immediate, sensory experience of art. The museum addresses itself to a broad public and aims in particular to fire the enthusiasm of young people for art. This was a goal especially close to the hearts of the museum’s founders, Basel art collectors Ernst and Hildy Beyeler. The couple wanted to make their world-famous collection accessible to the public and to share their passion for art and nature with others. In 1982 they converted their private collection into a foundation and in 1997 opened the Fondation Beyeler in their home town of Riehen, near Basel.
The museum lies in an idyllic setting within a park full of mature trees and lily ponds, looking out across fields of corn, grazing cows and sheep towards vineyards rising on the foothills of the Black Forest. The museum building, designed by multiple award-winning Genoese architect Renzo Piano, blends elegantly into this cultivated landscape and offers magnificent views of its surroundings. It thereby achieves a uniquely harmonious fusion of nature, art and architecture. Inside the generously sized galleries, daylight and artificial lighting combine to present the works of art to their fullest advantage.

The Beyeler Collection is rehung several times a year and is thus seen in constantly changing constellations. It comprises some 200 works of Post-Impressionism, Classical Modernism and contemporary art, together with 20 objects of ethnographic art from Africa, Oceania and Alaska.

The Fondation Beyeler regularly organizes exhibitions devoted to the great masters of modern art and to the leading artists of our own day. Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Henri Rousseau, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Kasimir Malevich, Constantin Brancusi, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Serra, Jenny Holzer and Félix González-Torres are just some of the artists whose works have been seen to date. Periodically, too, the museum conceives thematic exhibitions on cities and art movements that played a key role in the development of modernism. Every year the Fondation Beyeler also collaborates with contemporary artists on projects inside the museum and outdoors in public spaces. Examples include Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s legendary wrapped trees, Jenny Holzer’s light projections in Zurich and Basel, the installation of Félix González-Torres’s string of lights across the Mittlere Brücke bridge in Basel, and the presentation of Louise Bourgeois’ monumental spider sculpture in various Swiss cities as well as outside the Fondation Beyeler in Berower Park.

The Fondation Beyeler understands itself as an open and vibrant museum that is pledged to furthering public access to art and art education, and to providing a stimulating forum for personal exchanges, through a lively program of exhibitions and cultural events.

As the most visited art museum in Switzerland, the Fondation Beyeler has injected new life into the regional museum landscape and has already attracted almost 5 million visitors since first opening its doors. Around half of these guests come from abroad, with over 10,000 every year arriving from overseas.

The museum is open 365 days a year, i.e. even on public holidays.

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