April 23, 2008

The Fondation Beyeler

Posted in museums at 1:43 pm by classicalmusic

A Visit to the Fondation Beyeler

About 8 years ago I visited my mother at a small pension in the town of Spiez, Switzerland, located on Lake Thun.  Although a very small town, the nice thing about Spiez is that you can get wonderful train service to almost anywhere in Switzerland, and one day my mom decided that we MUST go to Basel to visit the new Beyeler Museum.  Her special reason for wanting to see it was that it had been designed by the Italian architect, Renzo Piano, who collaborated with Richard Rogers to design the controversial Pompidou Centre in Paris.  So off we went for an approximately onef-hour train ride to Basel, followed by a short tram ride to the Berowerpark.

The Fondation Beyeler which opened to the public in 1997 was built to house the art collection of the Basel art dealer and collector, Ernst Beyeler.  The building is modest and modern with reddish colored walls.  I was told that the red is porphyry (a very hard rock) from Patagonia, Argentina.  Two very large bay windows give onto the park, and the whole feeling is one of serenity.

The Beyeler collection includes some primitive art sculptures and about 200 paintings and sculptures from the Post Impressionist to Cubists.  One room is devoted to pictures and sculptures of Alberto Giacometti and another to the British artist Francis Bacon.  However, you can also find the pop-art of Rauscheberg, Rothko and Liechstenstein along with some Cezannes, Van Goghs, Monets and Picassos.

There is a fine and elegant restaurant in the garden where we ate a very good lunch before taking the train back to our little pension in Spiez.  A pleasant trip in all!

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