The Betty and David Koetser Foundation and the Ruzicka Foundation have supplied a dazzling selection of Dutch paintings, Italian Baroque and Venetian Settecento art, while French sculptures come from the Werner and Nelly Bär Foundation. The biggest contributor in terms of long-term loans – with more than 600 items – is the Kunstfreunde Zürich. This group of patrons has been acquiring works of art for over a hundred years, filling gaps in the collection that the Kunsthaus is unable to fill itself. The paintings and sculptures held by the Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung are among our most popular works. Looking to the future, the Emil Bührle Collection, the Merzbacher Collection and the Fondation Hubert Looser will be moving into the Kunsthaus extension when it opens.


Alberto Giacometti, Selbstbildnis, 1921, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, 1965, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti, Main prise, 1932, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, 1965, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti, Homme qui marche, 1947, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, 1965, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti, Bildnis der Mutter, 1918, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, 1981, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti, Lotar II, 1965, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, donated by Bruno and Odette Giacometti, 2006, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti, La main, 1947, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, 1965, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti, Composition cubiste, um 1926, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, donated by Bruno and Odette Giacometti, 2006, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti, Femme-cuillère, 1926/1927, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, 1965, © Succession Alberto Giacometti / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Alberto Giacometti at the 31st Art Biennale in Venice, 1962, photo: Ugo Mulas

Leading museum collection

The Alberto Giacometti-Foundation holds the leading museum collection of works by the Swiss sculptor, painter and graphic artist Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966), comprising over 300 items. The collection spans Alberto Giacometti’s entire career from his earliest works to his very last, covering all main aspects and revealing many surprising facets.

The Foundation was established in 1965 in Zurich by a group of art-lovers including Hans C. Bechtler who had acquired the Giacomettis owned by Pittsburgh industrialist G. David Thompson via the Basel-based gallery owner Ernst Beyeler. Thompson had collected numerous key sculptures from the artist’s avant-garde period (1925 to 1934) along with examples of most of his major works from 1947 to 1950, the greatest flowering of his creativity. Giacometti himself contributed some later works of his own, consisting of a group of drawings and several paintings, and in 2006 Bruno and Odette Giacometti presented the Foundation with 75 plasters and several bronzes from the artist’s estate.

The bulk of the Foundation’s collection is stored at the Kunsthaus Zürich, where representative extracts are placed on display. The Kunsthaus is also home to the Foundation’s administration and documentation. A quarter of the original holdings is exhibited at the Kunstmuseum Basel, and a tenth at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur.

Website of the Alberto Giacometti Foundation


Paul Cézanne, Le Garçon au gilet rouge, um 1888/90, Emil Bührle Collection
Claude Monet, Champ de coquelicots près de Vétheuil, about 1879, Emil Bührle Collection
Paul Gauguin, L'Offrande, 1902, Emil Bührle Collection
Eugène Delacroix, Muley Abd-el-Rahman, 1862, Emil Bührle Collection
Antonio Canal (Il Canaletto), Santa Maria della Salute, about 1738/42, Emil Bührle Collection
Emil Bührle, about 1946

A major collection of French Painting

When the Kunsthaus extension opens in 2021, one of its new occupants will be the world-famous Emil Bührle Collection. The plan is for the 166 paintings and 25 sculptures to join the existing in-house holdings of Classical Modernism and so offer a continuous panorama of periods in art over some 1,000m2 in a specially designed set of galleries. This permanent arrangement, with the two collections brought together in one place, will transform the Kunsthaus into the most important centre of French Impressionist painting in Europe, outside Paris.

Emil Bührle’s active involvement in the fortunes of the Kunsthaus has always brought benefits for both Zurich and the Kunstgesellschaft. Gifts such as Claude Monet’s large-format water lily paintings and Auguste Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’ have inestimably enriched the collection. By financing the exhibition wing in the 1950s, Emil Bührle also established a platform for unique events in which, to this day, art and its public come face to face. Educational resources on this spectacular private collection will cover both the art-historical dimension and provenance research, locating the activities of entrepreneur and collector Emil Georg Bührle (1890–1956) within the broader context of Swiss history.

Website of the E.G. Bührle Foundation


Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau – Kohlgruberstrasse, 1908, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection
Pablo Picasso, Le couple (Les Misérables), 1904, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection, © Succession Picasso / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
André Derain, Bâteaux dans le Port de Collioure, 1905, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection, © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Max Beckmann, Frau mit Schlange (Schlangenbeschwörerin), 1940, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection, © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Henri Matisse, Intérieur à Collioure (La Sieste), 1905, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection, © Succession Henri Matisse / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Amedeo Modigliani, Jeanne Hébuterne assise, 1918, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection
Emil Nolde, Sonnenblumen, 1930–1935, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection, © Stiftung Seebüll, Ada und Emil Nolde, Neukirchen
Fernand Léger, Les deux disques dans la ville, 1919, Werner and Gabriele Merzbacher Collection, © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Werner Merzbacher, 2019, Photo © Salvatore Vinci

Exclusive group of Modern Paintings

The cooperation, which involves 65 paintings and a minimum commitment of 20 years, is a chance for Werner Merzbacher to share his passion for art with the public at large. The Kunsthaus Zürich has been given the opportunity to view almost 200 paintings and sculptures and select the works that best complement its own important holdings. The artists represented include leading figures from the key European art movements of the 20th century: Impressionism (Monet, Cézanne, Renoir), Post-Impressionism (van Gogh, Picasso), Fauvism (Derain, Matisse, Vlaminck, Braque), the ‘Brücke’ (Heckel and Kirchner), Germans persecuted in the Third Reich such as Nolde, Barlach and Beckmann, ‘Blauer Reiter’ members Jawlensky, Kandinsky and Münter, Italian Futurists (Severini, Boccioni), Russian Constructivists (Malevich, Goncharova and others), the Cubist Léger and Spanish artist Miró. Among the more recent artists of the 1950s to 1990s are Richard Paul Lohse and Sam Francis as well as Calder, González, Tinguely, Moore and Rickey.

The starting point of the collection is the exclusive group of exceptional works that Gabriele Merzbacher-Mayer inherited from her grandparents Bernhard and Auguste Mayer and that, since the 1960s, has been progressively enriched through further acquisitions of great art. Werner Merzbacher picks out those that touch him because, as he says, they resemble his own character. The selection that will be coming to the Kunsthaus therefore tells a dual story, of both art and a family.


Pablo Picasso, Sylvette, 1954, Hubert Looser Collection, © Succession Picasso / 2019 ProLitteris, Zürich
Anselm Kiefer , Das goldene Vlies, 1997, Hubert Looser Collection, © 2019 Anselm Kiefer
Yves Klein, ANT 37, about 1960, Hubert Looser Collection, © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Arshile Gorky, Untitled, 1931/33, Hubert Looser Collection
Donald Judd, Untitled, 1970, Hubert Looser Collection, © Judd Foundation / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Ellsworth Kelly , White Curve, 2003, Hubert Looser Collection, © Estate Ellsworth Kelly
John Chamberlain, Knee Pad Examiner, 1976, Hubert Looser Collection, Fairweather & Fairweather LTD / © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Willem de Kooning, Triptych (Untitled V, Untitled II, Untitled IV), 1985, Hubert Looser Collection, © The Willem de Kooning Foundation / 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Richard Serra, Finkl-forge, 1991, Hubert Looser Collection, © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich
Hubert Looser, Photo © Christian Scholz

Minimal Art, Arte Povera, Abstract Expressionism

For the Kunsthaus Zürich, the 70 selected works from the Collection Hubert Looser that are scheduled to move to the extension in 2021 are an exceptionally valuable addition to its existing holdings. Six new works – including more recent examples – by the American artist Cy Twombly will complement the important group already at the Kunsthaus. The art of John Chamberlain and David Smith will provide a striking counterpoint to the Abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock.

For the first time the Kunsthaus will be able to display a representative wall-mounted sculpture by Donald Judd. Also included are Ellsworth Kelly and Al Taylor, two artists who have been significantly under-represented until now. A particular highlight is the ensemble of nine works by Willem de Kooning, including a triptych from 1985 and two bronze sculptures, one of them the celebrated ‘Hostess’ from 1973. Two paintings by Agnes Martin will bring this important abstract artist to the Kunsthaus, along with prints by Brice Marden, while two pictures by Robert Ryman will engage in dialogue with those in the Kunsthaus collection. The mythical and archaic qualities of nature, hitherto represented primarily by the works of Joseph Beuys and Mario Merz, will receive new prominence thanks to installations by Giuseppe Penone, Sculptures by Lucio Fontana will complement the ensemble of his ‘Concetto spaziale’.

The Looser Collection also includes a major sculptural installation by Tony Smith that will be exhibited outdoors. It is Hubert Looser’s hope that the long-term loan will enhance Zurich’s status as a centre for art and, through temporary presentations, keep the dialogue between private collectors, public institutions, art and its audience very much alive.

Website of the Fondation Hubert Looser

The Collection

Visit the complete collection (including audio guide)