Welcome to the City of Museums
07 August, 2015
With over forty museums, Basel can well boast of being one of Europe’s cities with the best contemporary cultural facilities. A large number of these numerous museums feature the plastic arts as their central theme, displaying works that range from antiquity to the present. The city’s penchant for collecting has its origins in the 16th century, when collectors hailed from both the private and public sectors. Several private collections have been opened to the public in recent years, augmenting the supply even further.
The Kunstmuseum Basel – the Beginning of Everything
This is the most significant museum in Basel and the largest in Switzerland. Its collections, which date back to 1662, feature works running from the Middle Ages up to the present. Hans Holbein enthusiasts are in for a treat if they come here, as it boasts one of the largest collections of this artist’s work.
The Beyeler Foundation – a European Collector’s Classic
This foundation, housing the collection of the spouses, Ernest and Hildy Beyeler, is one of the largest and most important in central Europe. It is a compendium of classical modern art, from Monet, Cézanne and Van Gogh to Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Bacon. The counterpoint to these figures is a display of tribal art from Africa, Oceania and Alaska, the contrast producing an interesting result. Also well worth seeing are the surroundings of the beautiful building – designed by Renzo Piano – with its priceless garden.
The Tinguely Museum – an In-Depth Look at the Artist’s Sculpture Machines
Dedicated to the life and work of the Swiss sculptor, Jean Tinguely. The interior of this original building, the work of the architect, Mario Botta, houses the sculpture machines that brought him fame, in addition to documentation, photographs and drawings of his work.
The Antikenmuseum (Museum of Antiquities) – in Search of the Classics
This is the only Swiss museum devoted to ancient Mediterranean art and civilisation. The collection features pieces dating from between the 4th millennium BC and the 7th century AD, sourced from the ancient Egyptian, Greek, Italic and Roman cultures, as well as works from the Near East and Cyprus. Featured are Greek ceramics and sculptures and the section dedicated to ancient Egypt.
Klingental – the Region’s Art Trends
Housed in the Klingental convent church, the Ausstellungsraum Klingental is dedicated to the region’s artistic production.
Schaulager – A Space for the Experts
The building housing this unusual space was designed by the Herzog & de Meuron architects studio. Directed at a specialist art audience, it also hosts events for the public at large and is innovative even in its conceptualisation. It is not intended to be a run-of-the-mill museum, but a storage facility open to the public which houses the undisplayed works of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation.
HeK – a Look at New Media in Art Production
The Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel (House of Electronic Arts Basel) specialises in art created using electronic media, known as “new media” or digital art. There are facilities for hosting all kinds of activities associated with these new trends in art. It also hosts the Forum for New Media, as well as Shift, Festival of Electronic Arts.
Schoenthal – Open-Air Sculpture
The former Romanesque convent of Schoenthal, situated half an hour from Basel, houses the Stiftung Sculpture at Schoenthal, a not-to-be-missed sculpture park featuring nearly twenty works by Swiss and international artists. The Romanesque church has been converted into a gallery for temporary exhibitions of contemporary artworks.
Have you taken note of all the art you can see in Basel? Check out our flights here and see it all first-hand.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Images by Forgemind ArchiMedia, Jean-Baptiste Maurice, John Lord, régine debatty, Rosmarie Voegtli
07 August, 2015