The Fondation Beyeler this year celebrates its 25th anniversary with the most comprehensive exhibition of works from its collection to date. Taking up almost the entire exhibition space of the museum, it features approximately 100 works by 31 artists – from classics of modern art to recent acquisitions of contemporary art. Major works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois and others are set in relation to contemporary positions by Marlene Dumas, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Tacita Dean, Rachel Whiteread and more.
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Amounting to an “exhibition within the exhibition”, 13 sculptures by distinguished American artist Duane Hanson (1925–1996) are also on display, forming a condensed retrospective of his work. They engage in direct dialogue with works from the collection and with the museum’s architecture, while also drawing our attention to the Fondation Beyeler’s visitors and staff.
Old Couple on a Bench, 1994
This older couple typifies Duane Hanson’s interest in depicting people who represent a social average. In doing so, he engages in a very deliberate play with clichés. The figures’ clothing hints at a North-American middleclass background. Yet within the space of the museum, the couple on the bench also stands for the museum’s visitors: lost in thought, a slightly puzzled smile on their lips, the man and the woman are sitting in front of a painting by Mark Rothko from the Beyeler Collection.
Window Washer, 1984
A window washer stands in front of the museum’s glass façade; distracted from his work, he is looking into the room, lost in thought. In terms of subject matter, the figure falls largely outside the scope of traditional statuary and feels the more daringly groundbreaking. Yet with its pose and its execution in bronze, the Window Washeralso calls to mind classical sculpture, thereby honouring and dignifying the representatives of his profession.
Children Playing Game, 1979
From old women to young men to babies, Duane Hanson’s sculptures feature representatives of all age groups. In Children Playing Game, the artist staged his own children playing Connect Four sitting on a rug. Hanson repeatedly used family members and friends – and sometimes also himself – as models for his sculptures. The children, lost in play, are mirrored in Pawel Althamer’s clay sculpture
MAMA IV, also seated on a rug. Deep in contemplation and reminiscent of a jinn – a spirit of Arabian folklore – this figure is part of a series of life-size self-portraits of the artist.
Duane Hanson’s sculptural installation Lunchbreak stands amidst three monumental paintings by Anselm Kiefer dealing with the themes of both construction and destruction. With this multi-figure work, the artist harks back to his sculptural ensembles of the late 1960s. While these tended to be packed with action, here we come face to face with three life-size construction workers on a worksite who have momentarily paused for their lunch break.
Old Lady in Folding Chair, 1976
The motif of the sitting woman plays an important role in the collection of the Fondation Beyeler. For the museum’s founder Ernst Beyeler, these images were possessed of exceptional compactness and force. The sitting position furthermore embodies a particular state of calm. In Duane Hanson’s Old Lady in Folding Chair, this impression is heightened by the figure’s clasped hands, which visually
stabilise the sculpture.
Artist with Ladder, 1972
Although directly cast from a live model, Artist with Ladder is not an individual portrait. The sculpture represents an anonymous artist taking a break. With his figures, Duane Hanson did not aim to render the appearance of concrete individuals; rather, he strove for the characteristic embodiment of specific types and representatives of social milieus. Artist with Ladder heralds a pivotal shift in Hanson’s work.
As one of the foremost gallerists of his time, together with his wife Hildy Ernst Beyeler assembled one of the worldwide most significant collections of modern art. Since 1997, the collection has been housed at the Fondation Beyeler in a building designed by Renzo Piano. It now numbers approximately 400 works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, spanning painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and film. This anniversary exhibition brings together many key pieces and opens new perspectives on the Fondation Beyeler’s collection and its development.
In the Fondation Beyeler's birthday year, the exhibitions will be complemented by a varied programme of events. In addition to popular classics such as the summer festival or the sun.sets, there will be several other highlights to mark the 25 year landmark.
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The exhibitions of the Fondation Beyeler are accompanied by a variety of events and art education offers, and provide entertaining and exciting activities for all ages. The main purpose of art education is to encourage vistors to actively engage with art. By providing supplementary information on works and periods of art history, we seek to promote a better understanding of artists' multifaceted activities. We offer a space for individuals to deepen their contemplation of art and share their impressions and thoughts with others.
All offers are constantly updated in our calendar.
The “Friday Beyeler” event series takes place on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fondation Beyeler and welcomes all friends of the arts and inspiring encounters to the museum. From 16 September to 16 December 2022, the exhibitions, the park and the restaurant of the Fondation Beyeler will be open until 10 p.m. every Friday. In addition, under the title “I Hear a New World - 14 Miaows of the Future”, students and artists who teach at the Institute of Art Gender Nature at FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel will transform the museum foyer into a creative platform for contemporary art, featuring live performances, films, talks, music, poetry and dance. The “Friday Beyeler” events are included in the museum admission. The performances are ongoing and can be joined at any time.
FRIDAYS UNTIL 16 DECEMBER, 6–10 P.M. | The “Friday Beyeler” event series takes place on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fondation Beyeler. Every Friday, the exhibitions, the park and the restaurant will all be open until 10 p.m.. In addition, under the title “I Hear a New World - 14 Miaows of the Future”, students and artists who teach at the Institute of Art Gender Nature at FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel will transform the museum foyer into a creative platform for contemporary art, featuring live performances, films, talks, music, poetry and dance.
In 2022, the Fondation Beyeler will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Since its foundation by the collector and gallery owner couple Ernst and Hildy Beyeler in 1997, it has become one of the most visited art museums in Switzerland. The overview of the programme will constantly updated throughout the year. To stay up to date follow us on social media via the hashtag #Beyeler25 or via our newsletter.
Founding couple Ernst and Hildy Beyeler had a clear vision: the Fondation Beyeler was to become become an open and lively museum capable of inspiring a broad public for art. A museum that, in addition to cultural education, also promotes interpersonal encounters. Today, the Fondation Beyeler is the most visited art museum in Switzerland and is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
Ernst and Hildy Beyeler were passionately committed to art throughout their lives. In 1997, they made all the paintings and sculptures in their world-famous art collection accessible to the public in the Fondation Beyeler. Today, the collection comprises more than 400 works of classical modernism and contemporary art.
The location in the middle of the Berower Park with its old trees, the lily ponds and the view of cornfields, grazing cows and vineyards at the foothills of the Black Forest is unique. The building designed by Renzo Piano nestles elegantly into this cultural landscape and manages to combine nature, art and architecture in an ideal way.