In 2017 the Fondation de l’Hermitage will be privileged to show the Impressionist and post-Impressionist treasures of one of the world’s most prestigious private collections. The Bührle collection features masterpieces by key artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Monet’s Poppies near Vétheuil (c. 1879), Cézanne’s Boy in a Red Waistcoat (c. 1888) and Van Gogh’s Sower with Setting Sun (1888).
In revealing the outstanding works of the E. G. Bührle Foundation the Fondation de l’Hermitage is continuing an exploration of the great private Swiss collections that it has pursued for some twenty years, notably with exhibitions of the Weinberg (1997), Jean Planque (2001), Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser (2011) and Jean Bonna (2015) collections.
With this new chapter the Hermitage will offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in one of the most important collections of 19th and early 20th-century art. Acquired largely between 1951 and 1956 by industrialist Emil Georg Bührle (1890-1956), the works of the E. G. Bührle Foundation in Zurich are of extraordinary quality. They will be exhibited exclusively at the Hermitage, in the intimate setting of a 19th century residence similar to that of their collector, and will then be shown in Japan before returning to the new extension to the Kunsthaus, Zurich, in 2020.
Central to the exhibition, as to the E. G. Bührle collection itself, will be French Impressionism and post-Impressionism, with masterpieces by Pissarro, Manet, Degas, Sisley, Monet and Renoir, and by the founding fathers of modernism, Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh. As a prelude to this fascinating journey, two rooms will explore the role of these paintings in the history of European art. One will focus on portraits, showing the place of the Impressionists within the genre’s long tradition extending from Hals to Ingres, Corot, Courbet, Fantin-Latour and ultimately Renoir. The other will illustrate the influence of Romanticism and realism on the emergence of modern painting with a display of paintings by Delacroix and Daumier. This dazzling journey will end at the dawn of the 20th century, with key works by the Nabis (Bonnard, Vuillard), Fauves (Braque, Derain, Vlaminck) and Paris School (Modigliani, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec).
The exhibition will also shed light on the history of the collection itself, a reflection of the tastes of its mid-20th century Swiss owner. There will be a room displaying archive documents and the results of nearly twelve years of in-depth research conducted by the E. G. Bührle Foundation, revealing the sometimes complex histories of some of these masterpieces.