Must-see Galleries and Museums in Switzerland – Must-see Galleries and Museums in Switzerland – Whether you like your art ancient or modern, classical or contemporary, applied or outsider, there is an eye-popping array of world-class Swiss art galleries and museums. Let’s check them!
Vitra Design Museum
A tad cheeky, perhaps, to claim the fabulous Vitra Design Museum for Basel as it lies just over the border in the German town of Weil am Rhein. But no art lover visits the city without making the peasy 30-minute city bus pilgrimage, and with good reason. Established by the eponymous Swiss furniture design company in 1989, the museum shares a sprawling campus with striking buildings by Zaha Hadid – her very first – and the Japanese boxer-turned architect Tadao Ando.
Zentrum Paul Klee
It’s testament to the strength of Zentrum Paul Klee’s collection of works by Bern’s favourite artistic son (near enough anyway – the prolific 20th-century painter, teacher, musician and poet was technically from Münchenbuchsee, 9km up the road), that it’s not totally upstaged by Renzo Piano’s inspired building-landform hybrid. Comprising three vast, sinuous waves of glass and steel that echo the hills in the distance, the combined museum and arts space opened in 2005 to house 4,000 Klee paintings, watercolours and drawings – 40 percent of his entire oeuvre, and the most works in one place by a single internationally-renowned artist anywhere in the world.
The planet’s largest collection of paintings by the Holbein family is the centrepiece of Basel’s most venerable art archive, and works from 1400-1600 and the 19th-21st centuries its broader main attractions. Upper-Rhine and Flemish artists dominate the former, with Renaissance men Konrad Witz and Cranach the Elder the big stars. Van Gogh, Gaugin and Cézanne usher in the 1900s, while the museum’s 20th-century haul hinges on cubism, German expressionism and post-1950 American art, with pieces by Picasso, Oscar Kokoschka and Warhol among the principal treasures.
Musée de l’Elysée
In an august 18th-century villa rising from immaculately tended gardens overlooking Lake Geneva, 100,000-plus original photographs make up the extraordinary collection of the Musée de l’Elysée. One of the first museums in Europe purely dedicated to the photographer’s art, it first made a name for itself with exhibitions of 20th-century masters such as Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn and Ella Maillart as well as earlier work that showed the art form’s first steps.
Founded in 1985, the Kunsthalle only became a significant institution in Zurich’s art scene after it moved into the Löwenbräu-Areal development together with the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst and a handful of influential privately owned art galleries in the mid-90s. It has since hosted exhibitions of internationally renowned contemporary artists, amongst them John Armleder, Terence Koh and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Switzerland’s largest and youngest museum of contemporary art, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, to give Mamco its full name, has not only set a benchmark in showing current work, it has catalysed a whole new cultural district in the now gallery-peppered Quartier des Bains. Founded in 1994 and occupying 4,000m2 of a former 1950s factory building, Mamco dedicates most of its beautifully repurposed space to temporary shows, while sharing highlights from a collection of more than 3,000 works.
Although it numbers fewer than 250 works, the permanent collection at the superb Fondation Beyeler feels like an essential edit of modern art’s masterpieces, in a setting that’s both serene and gloriously eccentric – in a suitably understated Swiss way, naturally. The Renzo Piano-designed museum sits reflected in a lily pond in the bucolic Berower Park at the city’s edge, among sculptures by the likes of Ellsworth Kelly and Alexander Calder. Meanwhile inside, world-famous works by Monet, Picasso and Bacon share space with rare tribal sculptures from Oceania and Africa.
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire
The Paul Amlehn statues above the entrance of Marc Camoletti’s palatial neo-classical pile of 1910 depicting painting, drawing, sculpture and architecture are barely half the story. In Geneva’s largest art museum, you’ll find everything from Mesopotamian artefacts to modernist masterpieces by way of ancient suits of armour, ornamental musical instruments, Coptic wall hangings and a colossal statue of Pharaoh Ramses II. A collection of more than half a million exhibits spans four floors and 15,000 years of history, inviting visitors to explore archaeology, applied arts and fine arts.
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Source: time out switzerland