Modernité – Renoir, Bonnard, Vallotton
The collection Richard Bühler

3 October 2020 – 20 February 2021 | Reinhart am Stadtgarten

Media orientation for the exhibition
Thursday, 1 October 2020, 11 o’clock or individual tour on request
Kunst Museum Winterthur | Reinhart am Stadtgarten
Stadthausstrasse 6, CH-8400 Winterthur
Enlist for Media Orientation

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive, scholarly catalogue with numerous illustrations and new views about art in Winterthur around 1900. It is published by the Hirmer Verlag, Munich.

The Winterthur collector and patron Richard Bühler was instrumental in establishing a new perception of art in Switzerland with his private and public commitments. He pioneered a transition in taste towards modernism and was one of the most important advocates of modern French and Swiss painting in Winterthur. Now, with the exhibition Modernité – Renoir, Bonnard, Vallotton, the Kunst Museum Winterthur is devoting a feast of colour to the forgotten collector and patron of the arts.

Richard Bühler (1879–1967) was one of the most important collectors in Switzerland at the beginning of the 20th century. As a private collector and as president of the Kunstverein he transformed Winterthur into one of the leading centres of modern French painting. With his commitment he not only influenced the collection of the Kunstverein Winterthur, but he also heralded a general change in taste in Switzerland. Together with his cousin Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler and her husband Arthur Hahnloser, he shared an enthusiasm for modern French art, which hitherto had been virtually ignored in Switzerland. He was also instrumental in the planning, building and operating of the new museum, which was opened in 1916.

The election of Richard Bühler and Arthur Hahnloser and other Winterthur figures to the Kunstverein’s executive committee in 1907 engendered a radical renewal of the Kunstmuseum. The old-school board members had to make way for a younger, more receptive generation, which must have seemed like a palace revolution. As president of the Kunstverein and through generous gifts, Bühler oriented the house specifically towards French modernism.

Unlike the collections of Oskar Reinhart and the Hahnlosers, Richard Bühler’s private collection has not survived the course of time. The aim of the exhibition and the catalogue is to portray its essential contours and trends. In addition, the exhibition will illustrate his great commitment to the Kunstmuseum, which under his guidance developed from a regional museum to an internationally renowned institution.

The focus is on the painting of the Nabis around Félix Vallotton, Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard as well as the art of the Fauves, mainly Albert Marquet and Henri Manguin. These are supplemented by the drawings of masters such as Eugène Delacroix and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as well as through selected sculptures by Aristide Maillol, Auguste Rodin and Charles Despiau. The exhibition begins with the Swiss modernism of Ferdinand Hodler and Giovanni Giacometti. As a result, the modern art of the turn of the century and Richard Bühler’s progressive aethetics can be re-experienced; at the same time, the visitor gains an insight into the fascinating world of an extraordinary patron of the arts.