Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gauguin to Picasso: Masterworks from Switzerland

The Phillips Collection October 10, 2015 - January 10, 2016

Drawn from two major private collections, Gauguin to Picasso: Masterworks from Switzerland presents more than 60 celebrated works by 22 leading artists of the mid-19th and 20th centuries. Friends from Basel, Switzerland, Rudolf Staechelin (1881–1946) and Karl Im Obersteg (1883–1969) were supporters of modern art and patrons of the Kunstmuseum Basel, where these paintings are normally on display.

In areas of Switzerland during the first decades of the 20th century, the work of artists in France gained tremendous resonance. The exchange of ideas through the circulation of modern French art exhibitions and publications to major European cities, along with the travel of artists, dealers, critics, and collectors, inspired a generation of independent-minded Swiss patrons. Several cultivated friendships with artists and dealers, and in major Swiss cities they established significant collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.

Staechelin and Im Obersteg were part of this collecting spirit. Their shared admiration for modern Swiss painters such as Ferdinand Hodler and Cuno Amiet brought about a passion for dramatic color found in the work of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Expressionist, and School of Paris artists. Through dealers, Staechelin assembled a remarkable selection by Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Camille Pissarro. Im Obersteg’s friendships with artists such as Marc Chagall and Alexej von Jawlensky led to rare in-depth groupings. Both Staechelin and Im Obersteg collected paintings by Paul Cézanne, Hodler, and Pablo Picasso.

Selections from their holdings—considered “sister collections”—are exhibited together for the first time in the United States, including

Vincent van Gogh’s The Garden of Daubigny (1890),

Pablo Picasso’s double-sided canvas Woman at the Theater / The Absinthe Drinker (1901),

and Marc Chagall’s three monumental portraits from 1914,  

Jew in Red, 

Jew in Black and White,

and Jew in Green.

The exhibition also features Paul Gauguin’s NAFEA faaipoipo (When Will You Marry?) (1892), a major painting from the artist’s first Tahitian stay.

The exhibition is co-organized by The Phillips Collection and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in collaboration with the Im Obersteg Foundation and the Rudolf Staechelin Family Trust.