The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is less than three years old, but already the collection — and the stories behind it — have made the museum a national treasure.
The entire collection, which was donated to the city by entrepreneur Andreas Bechtler, was amassed by his family over a period of 70 years. What makes the contribution unique, and more personal, however, is the cross-cultural dynamic between
Swiss democracy traces its roots to 1291 when a loose confederation of states united as protection from outside invasion. Over the centuries
In the year 1661, the city of
Since that time, and without royalty to pay commissions for extensive private art collections, the Swiss have had more than 450-years of sharing their artistic heritage and making it available to the public.
It was only natural then for Swiss-born businessman Andreas Bechtler to be influenced by that same spirit of bringing high quality art to the masses for everyone to enjoy.
Andreas parents, Hans and Bessie Bechtler, also played an instrumental role in the journey that led to the creation of
Not only was the Bechtler’s home filled with art, but so, too, were their offices, hallways and conference rooms of their businesses
It is here that the story becomes more personal, and it is the primary reason why the
The vision of Hans and Bessie that was later instilled in Andreas was the concept of developing long-standing friendships with the artists they collected. Andreas’ parents frequently visited their studios, invited them into their homes and provided financial and promotional support for both well known and emerging artists.
As John Boyer, president and chief executive of the museum, puts it, “They formed a collection that is not overwhelming or all encompassing, but personal, intimate and whimsical. It captures a time—a remarkable era for art—and a place, not the dominant art centers of
Hans and Bessie sought out art and artists with diversity. A key factor in their collection was being able to know something about the artist personally which gave each of their pieces an intimacy with a story behind it.
In true Swiss style, Andreas carried on the family tradition. After inheriting a portion of his parent’s modern art collection, Bechtler began amassing his own works of art before expressing his desire to share his acquisitions with his adopted home. His dream was to create a museum that would honor the art as well as the way it was collected.
In the process,
A soaring glass atrium that extends through the core of the building diffuses natural light throughout the museum until it reaches the fourth floor gallery where the art is boldly and dramatically displayed.
Botta is famous for his minimalist designs that exhibit a contemporary viewpoint. Though his buildings are unique, they also blend within an urban landscape. As a result of Andreas Bechtler’s artistic associations,
Artists represented by various media include Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, Jean Tinguely, Picasso and Barbara Hepworth, all of whom were friends of the family at one time or another.
Among Andreas’ personal favorites is the work of Jean Tinguely, who brings a sense of serendipity, surprise and energy to the gallery. Be sure to view the Tinguely paintings which are actually letters written to the family.
To be sure there are some who will say they have no use for modern art because they cannot understand it. But the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is different because its intimacy is magnified by the personal relationships between the artists and the collectors.
And, who knows, since only ten percent of the collection can be viewed at any one time, the DNC may have to return for nine more conventions. (
Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in
To date he has visited 69 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.