|The Tinguely Fountain in Basel is a favorite for all ages|
|Basel's Fine Arts Museum is one of the oldest and best in the world (wikipedia)|
Would you be surprised to learn that
takes the honor with the opening of the Amerbach Collection in 1671. In fact,
per capita, Switzerland Basel probably has the highest
percentage of quality art of any city its size in Europe.
And you better believe that Baselers take that distinction seriously.
Nearly three centuries after
went "public" with its art,
it became the first city in history to hold a public referendum for the
purchase of art when the Fine Arts Museum bought several works by Pablo Picasso
in 1967. Basel
|Picasso as photographed by|
David Douglas Duncan
In many ways, it was the alignment of the stars, geography and history that played a significant role in
's love of art. Basel
Situated at a bend in the
River where Germany,
France and Switzerland meet, became a major crossroads in the
commerce of the day along the river. Basel
|The Roman ruins of Augusta Raurica outside Basel (wikipedia)|
With the advent of the printing press and mass communication now a viable commodity, literacy rates increased dramatically throughout
Europe and personal philosophies
began to change with the Protestant Reformation from an emphasis on religious
ideals to a greater awareness of the humanities.
|Beyeler Foundation, Basel |
By 1970, three gallerists, Trudi Bruckner, Balz Hilt and Ernst Beyeler conceived the idea of establishing an international art exhibition in
This year marks the 47th anniversary of Art Basel which presents 20th and 21st
century art from the world's premier galleries and their patrons. Basel
art fair has expanded to Hong Kong and as well with a reputation for showing the
highest quality work from international galleries and collectors throughout the
|Basel sits on a bend in the Rhine bordering France and Germany (wikipedia)|
In its inaugural year in
, 90 galleries participated from 10
countries attracting over 16,000 visitors. Basel
By 2015, Art Basel accounted for 98,000 visitors over a six day period with 284 galleries presenting works from 33 countries in
exhibition represented the contributions of more than 4,000 artists. Basel
|Art Hotel Der Teufelhof |
With 77,000 visitors in
Beach and 70,000 more in Hong Kong,
the combined patronage for the three cities amounted to approximately 245,000 patrons
Beyeler had a natural instinct for artistic quality and, within two years, he held his first exhibition of Japanese woodcuts.
|One of Ernst Beyeler's pieces looks out to the grounds of his museum (wikipedia)|
In the early 1960s, Beyeler purchased 340 works of art from American collector G. David Thompson. The collection included art by Braque, Cezanne, Paul Klee, Matisse, Monet, Picasso and Mondrian. Beyeler later purchased 70 more pieces by Alberto Giacometti from Thompson.
By 1970, Ernst Beyeler and his two colleagues opened the international art fair in
and it has been a resounding success ever since. Basel
Oddly enough, over the years, Beyeler's personal collection had grown so vast, that there was no place for him to display his exhibition. After spending several years searching the world for an appropriate exhibition space, Beyeler came to the conclusion that he should create the museum in his home town of
When the Beyeler Foundation opened its doors to the public, the sheer size of the collection astonished the art world and made it an overnight sensation. "The Washington Post" valued the collection at more than $1.85 billion and the "New York Times" called him "
Europe's pre-eminent dealer in
|Every room at Der Teufelhof is unique (art hotel der teufelhof)|
"The Daily Telegraph" described him as "the greatest art dealer since the war", who "assembled one of the world's most impressive collections of 20th-century paintings."
|A Tinguely contraption is always filled with whimsy |
Ernst Beyeler died on February 25, 2010 at the age of 88. He, along with countless other artists and collectors from the city of Basel, Switzerland, have established a reputation for presenting world class modern art that transcends the meaning of creative genius.
This year, Art Basel in
runs from June 15-18. Switzerland
In a city where art thrives for art's sake,
is one of the best
kept secrets in the world. Basel