The current focus of collecting is on international contemporary art in the fields of painting, photography, art on paper, video, sculpture and installation. Overseen by the collection conservator, this work thrives on exchange between the curators and takes place against the backdrop of the existing holdings, as major acquisitions build on established strengths and open up new avenues. The Kunsthaus enjoys an unbroken tradition of acquiring contemporary art that is actively maintained in the current collection. It sets great store by its independence from special interests.
In addition to artistic quality, conservation issues also play a role in acquisition decisions. A portion of acquisition work is financed through the contributions paid by members to the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft.
The Kunsthaus is particularly keen to acquire contemporary art. Acquisitions expressly target works by artists with an international reputation who either come from Switzerland or reside here. Donated works are accepted when they are a sensible complement to previous acquisitions.
The collection of older art is enhanced with individual pieces, also acquired with private support. Acquisitions are being made over the longer term in the area of Dutch art of the 16th and 17th centuries as well as Italian Baroque painting, thanks in large measure to generous support from private benefactors. The Kunsthaus is particularly active in acquiring French art from the Romantic period to early Impressionism, as well as representative single works of Swiss painting from the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection’s holdings in Classical Modernism are supplemented mainly with the support of the Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde, along with donations and bequests.