Some half a century ago, Ernest and Hildy Beyeler set out to acquire some modern paintings to decorate their home. By the turn of the millennium, they had collected one of the greatest private art collections of Switzerland, which they now share with the public in the suburb of Riehen, 15 minutes by tram from the center near the Swiss borders with France and Germany. Talk about name dropping: Andy Warhol, Georges Seurat, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Joan Miró, Léger, Max Ernst, van Gogh, Kandinsky, Edgar Degas, Cézanne, Alexander Calder, and Georges Braque among others. These artists' works are stunningly displayed in Renzo Piano's avant-garde building, which is evocative of a ship lying at anchor. One of our favorite arrangements is a Monet water lily triptych that seemingly spills from the canvas into a reflecting pool outdoors.
Seek out, in particular, Picasso's 1944 Woman in Green, believed to be his final portrait of Dora Maar, his longtime mistress and muse. A Picasso oddity is his sculpture of the head of Marie-Thérèse Walter. The protuberances and hollows of her face evoke male and female genitalia. The Picasso is remarkable, although Matisse is more thinly represented except for some dazzling cutouts.
A series of eight Giacometti bronze figures are complemented by some of his magnificent portraits in oil. Francis Bacon's canvas, Lying Figure, from 1969 depicts a naked man writhing on a striped mattress. Paul Klee painted MOMOM Sinks, Drunk, Into the Chair in black paste on mounted paper 3 months before his death in 1940.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010