Art is redemptive – as the people of Basel know so well, and especially those young of heart. This, after all, is where the youth of the city took to the streets in 1967 to prevent the sale of several works by Picasso.
For years, two Picassos had hung in Kunstmuseum on long-term loan – until tragedy befell the collector, who needed to sell them for funds. Thereafter, the city’s parliament approved a municipal loan to keep the paintings – with the condition that 2.4 million Swiss francs come from private donations.
Behind the slogan “All You Need is Pablo,” the youth of Basel staged demonstrations and a beggars’ festival to collect money to buy the paintings.
Meanwhile, in the South of France, Picasso avidly followed the proceedings – and when the youth of Basel successfully raised the necessary funds, Picasso summoned the director of the museum and gifted him with an additional four works, donated specifically to the youth of Basel.
Nearly 50 years later, the city of Basel owns 33 works by Picasso, currently on display at Kunstmuseum and Fondation Beyeler.
Art is nearly synonymous with Basel – and the year 2016 will bring numerous groundbreaking and blockbuster exhibitions to the city that offers the greatest concentration of museums in Europe.
Kunstmuseum Grand Reopening: At the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Grand Opening of the new annex, designed by Christ & Gantenbein, will take place in April 2016. One of the oldest public collections in Europe, Kunstmuseum features works from the early 15th century through the present and includes the world’s largest collection of works by the Holbein family.
‘Sculpture on the Move’: A complement to the 2002 exhibition “Painting on the Move,” the inaugural exhibition of the new and enlarged Kunstmuseum will focus on sculpture between the end of World War II and the present. Opening with works by Brancusi and Giacometti, the exhibition continues with exemplary works from the Kunstmuseum’s collections alongside eminent pieces on loan from private collections. “Sculpture on the Move 1946–2016” will be on view from 19 April through 19 September 2016.
Jean Dubuffet at the Beyeler: From 31 January to 8 May 2016, “Jean Dubuffet” will show at the Fondation Beyeler. The French painter, sculptor, and writer was inspired by the spontaneous creations of children and the mentally ill. Dubuffet’s subversive humor is evinced throughout his iconoclastic works, which he termed “Art Brut.”
Together with Franz Marc, the Russian-born painter, Wassily Kandinsky formed the group “Blue Rider,” which addressed spiritual truth in art. From 4 September through 15 January 2017, “Kandinsky, Marc and the blue rider” will be on view at the Fondation Beyeler.
Art Basel: In 1970, three Basel gallerists joined together to form an art fair, which, in the ensuing decades, has become the premier international art show of the world. The 46th edition of Art Basel takes place from 16-19 June 2016, with more than 280 of world’s leading galleries showing the work of over 4,000 artists.
Nestled in the heart of Europe where Switzerland, Germany and France meet, Basel is where art speaks the truth – and the truth is art.