The Fondation Beyeler

Riehen / Switzerland / 1997

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27 Love 4,452 Visits Published

The Fondation Beyeler was officially inaugurated in Riehen on the outskirts of Basel on 18 October 1997, providing Hildy and Ernst Beyeler’s remarkable art collection with a publicly accessible home. The new museum was built by the Genovese architect Renzo Piano, whose work includes the Centre Pompidou in Paris, over a period of around three years.


The building of the museum was financed by a non-profit-making foundation set up by Hildy and Ernst Beyeler in 1982, which also supports the Fondation Beyeler financially. The Riehen authorities provided the site free of charge and the Canton of Basel-Stadt annually contributes CHF 2.78 million towards the museum’s operating expenses (including a contribution from Riehen).


With his tranquil, restrained building, Renzo Piano has created a museum intended “to serve art, and not the other way round.” Clad with red porphyry, it consists of four monumental parallel walls, a glass façade at either end or a winter garden on the west side that looks out over the surrounding countryside. The glass roof suspended over the structure illuminates the whole building with the natural light so desirable for exhibiting works of art. All technical or design details that might distract visitors have been deliberately eliminated from the twenty-two exhibition rooms.


Consisting of around 300 paintings and sculptures by Modernist and contemporary masters, the Beyeler Collection was accumulated by Hildy and Ernst Beyeler during more than fifty years as successful gallery owners. The collection’s scope and reputation is constantly being enhanced by the acquisition of major works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, Roni Horn, Gerhard Richter, Marlene Dumas, Wilhelm Sasnal, and Wolfgang Tillmans. In some rooms, selected examples of tribal art from Africa, Alaska and Oceania are displayed side by side with European and American works, creating exciting encounters to be found in virtually no other museum in the world.


Through temporary exhibitions the Fondation Beyeler repeatedly creates links between the permanent collection and contemporary art. Three to four special exhibitions closely associated with the permanent collection’s contents and characters are held every year.


The Fondation Beyeler owes its unique attractiveness to its combination of a superb modern art collection and a fascinating architectural and natural setting, as well as to temporary exhibitions on the highest international level that offer visitors new insights not only into 20th-century art but also into the latest developments in contemporary art.
Over 6.5 million people from all continents have visited the Fondation Beyeler since its inauguration in 1997.

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    The Fondation Beyeler was officially inaugurated in Riehen on the outskirts of Basel on 18 October 1997, providing Hildy and Ernst Beyeler’s remarkable art collection with a publicly accessible home. The new museum was built by the Genovese architect Renzo Piano, whose work includes the Centre Pompidou in Paris, over a period of around three years. The building of the museum was financed by a non-profit-making foundation set up by Hildy and Ernst Beyeler in 1982, which also supports the...

    Project details
    • Year 1997
    • Work finished in 1997
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Museums
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