Villa Flora collection finds new home at Kunstmuseum Bern

Around 100 works by artists like Van Gogh, Matisse, Manet, Cézanne, Renoir and Giacometti amassed by Hedy and Arthur Hahnloser-Bühler

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The collection of the Villa Flora in Winterthur, Switzerland, which closed its doors in 2014, has found a new home. Around 100 works by Van Gogh, Matisse, Rodin, Manet, Cézanne, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Hodler and Giacometti, assembled by the private collectors Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler from 1906 to 1936, has been lent to the Kunstmuseum Bern for the next 15 years.

Several of the museum’s galleries will be re-configured to present their Post-Impressionist, Nabi and Fauve art holdings, now owned by the Hahnloser/Jaeggli Foundation. The contract, which was publicly released on 20 October, includes a provision for the collection’s return, however, in case the Villa Flora re-opens—a decision that depends on the means and political will of the town of Winterthur, Radio Télévision Suisse reports.

The Villa Flora, the couple’s former residence, opened to the public in 1995. A planned merger project with the Kunstverein Winterthur in 2014 was suspended “due to the financial situation of the city of Winterthur” according to the Villa’s website. The collection went on tour in a series of exhibitions through Europe, including stops at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris and the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg. After a final show at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (3 February-18 June 2017), the collection will come to the Kunstmuseum Bern in August 2017.  

Finding a new home was an “extraordinary stroke of luck”, says Beat Denzler, the president of the Hahnloser/Jaeggli Foundation. But the collection’s move to Bern was not a given—it was the result of an international competition and “very serious competitors came forward”, says Jürg Bucher, the head of the Kunstmuseum foundation and the Zentrum Paul Klee.

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