An exhibition at the Leopold showcasing some 90 works from the highly eminent art collection of Emil Bührle, showcasing work from French Impressionists and avant-garde artists.
The Zurich based industrialist made his success as the proprietor of a machine tool factory in Switzerland, before moving most of his entrepreneurial activities to the US. Through his life he acquired his own personal collection. First experiencing French Impressionists at the National Gallery of Berlin, before he became further interested and anchored by Impressionists with works by select Old Masters in the European tradition like Manet, Degas, Renoir, Monet, van Gogh and Cézanne. The collection further features works by artists from the Paris avant-garde around 1900, including Vlaminck, Braque and Picasso, allowing for these post-Impressionist paintings to be experienced as the beginning of Classical Modernism.
Bührle thus created his own personal history of art in his collection, collecting in Europe and then from International institutions as he was in the US. The Rosenberg, Wildenstein and Marlborough Fine Art in New York, Paris and London, sold works to him, allowing his collection to become a consistently coherent ensemble.
Following Bührle’s death, his family established a foundation in 1960, which made around a third of the collection accessible to the public in Zurich. In late 2021, this part of the collection will be transferred to the Kunsthaus Zürich, where it will be given a new home in an annex to the existing museum building.
The exhibition at the Leopold Museum showcases some 90 works from the Emil Bührle Collection, including masterpieces like Boy in a Red Vest by Paul Cézanne, Sower at Sunset by Vincent van Gogh as well as a water lily mural by Claude Monet. Bührle was only the second collector in the world to acquire more than one work of Monet’s water lily series in 1952.