“Beyeler Foundation”

Balthus or a treatise on style

A young girl, a cat, a mirror… We thought that we already knew everything there was to know about Balthus. But in Riehen, Switzerland, the Beyeler Foundation is staging an enlightened show on the enigmatic work of this artist. From naked bodies to serene landscapes… When we think of Balthus, we often think of his pale, consenting young ladies, surprised in dubious positions. But Balthus offers more than striking images of these sleeping beauties, these chrysalids who disturb as much as they enchant. Above all, Balthus is associated with the Italian countryside and the landscapes of the Morvan region, nostalgia for a tranquil world. In Arezzo, the painter’s vision was shaken up when he discovered the frescoes of Piero della Francesca, enhanced by a certain buzz in the air… Born in 1908 in Paris and of Polish descent, Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, better known as Balthus, spent part of his childhood in Switzerland. He became close to artists Bonnard and Derain, and with the encouragement of Rilke, he chose painting from an early age. Apart from perhaps Henri Michaux, an unclassifiable artist, Balthus had no equivalents this century. And yet, on a technical level, nothing seems to stand out in particular. Perhaps because style and great art ultimately consist in covering up one’s game. This withdrawal, this masterly discretion is undoubtedly what makes him one of the great 20th century masters. Singlehandedly, he encapsulates an original combination of Quattrocento painting, Japanese poetry, and the landscapes of Gustave Courbet. In short, something truly magical. But to get there, he’d have to put in time. His path wasn’t that straightforward. When Balthus was first shown in Pierre Loeb’s gallery, in 1934, the failure was excruciating: not a single work sold. It wasn’t until 1966, with the retrospective at the Musée des...

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Malevich and Russian Avant-Garde to Honour the Beyeler Foundation in Switzerland

The exhibition “À la recherche de 0,10” at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, in Switzerland, has opened its doors until 10 January 2016. The exhibition commemorates the centenary of the exhibition “0.10, la dernière exposition futuriste ” 14 artists – 7 men and 7 women – during the winter of 1915-1916, in the Russian city of Petrograd (now St. Petersburg ) around the Russian avant-garde. This is where Kazimir Malevich presented for the first time his Black Square, now a real icon of abstract art, and where Vladimir Tatlin installed for the first time, his revolutionary angular Counter-relief, an abstract sculpture, freed from the base and made from recycled materials. The Beyeler Foundation organizes after long years of research an exhibition bringing together for the first time many existing works- completed by other artists from the same period. This critical reconstruction of the historical exhibition has benefited from precious loans from Musée national russe of St. Petersburg, from Galerie d’État Tretiakov of Moscou, from 17 other Russian museums and several renowned Western collections like the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the MoMA in New York. The exhibition was curated by Matthew Drutt. In parallel, the “Black Sun” exhibition presents an exhibition concerned with the influence of Malevich and his Black Square on contemporary art. The Beyeler Foundation, inaugurated in 1997, is a Swiss private law cultural institution located in Riehen near Basel. It houses the collection of modern and contemporary art assembled by the gallery owner Ernst Beyeler and his wife...

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Beyeler Foundation presents Hodler

Basel, 30 January 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Beyeler Foundation presents works by Ferdinand Hodler (1835-1918) through 26 May 2013. With 80 paintings by the greatest Swiss artist of his time, the foundation enables visitors to discover the past five years of his work. Rodler’s productions exhibited in Basel are devoted to moutain landscapes, views of Lake Geneva, but also to the representation of pain in the context of a series dealing with illness and death. The most awaited and spectacular work is Regard dans l’Infini (Look into Infinity), a monumental painting staging dancing women. This exhibition confirms Rodler as one the founding fathers of modern art and the visitor can make the connection between his work and the other great artist Mark...

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Late work by Degas at the Beyeler Foundation

Basel, 9 August 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 30 September 2012 to 27 January 2013, the Beyeler Foundation in Basel will be displaying “Edgar Degas”, the first exhibition dedicated to the artist’s late works, painted between 1886 and 1912. Better known for his Impressionist period (from 1870 to 1885), Degas turned, towards the end of his career, to a bold painting style leading to the peak of his art. Rich in techniques and patterns, his late works depict famous dancers along with jockeys, female nudes, and landscapes. The exhibition brings together more than 150 works in which every technique employed by the artist features: painting, pastel, drawing, engraving, sculpture, and photography. Two pastels belonging to the Beyeler Foundation’s collection represented the starting point of this exhibition: Le Petit déjeuner après le bain (1895-1898) and Trois danseuses (1903), two examples characteristic of the radicalism and modernity of Degas’ late artistic...

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Jeff Koons on display at Beyeler Foundation

Riehen, 4 July 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). Up until 2 September, the Beyeler Foundation is hosting a solo exhibition of American artist Jeff Koons. The Beyeler Foundation is proud to be the first Swiss institution to organise an exhibition dedicated to Jeff Koons (born in 1955). Since the 1980s, Koons got known thanks his work’s originality, linking popular culture to erudite art history. He is now one of the most famous contemporary artists. As stated in the press release: “Koons’s equally spectacular and subtle works are repeatedly concerned with themes such as innocence, beauty, sexuality and happiness. These reflect his conception of an art that is accessible to every viewer.” This vast exhibition consists of three categories of works: The New, Banality and Celebration, marking decisive steps in Koon’s artistic development and give the viewers a representative glimpse of his creation and his thought. The first period, The New (1980-1987), is represented by the ready-made vacuum cleaners, symbolising purity and novelty. Then, the Banality series (1988) offers provocative sculptures made of wood and porcelain created using traditional artisanal methods which have become emblematic of the artist’s work. Finally, Celebration (since 1994) gathers sparkling steel sculptures “of unique material perfection, and large-format paintings in which the artist celebrates childhood in a veritably baroque way.” Outside the museum, visitors can admire Split-Rocker in the garden, a monumental sculpture composed of several thousand real plants and flowers triggering a particular dialogue between art and...

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