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“Let our home be far removed from all false appearance and grandeur, from all luxury that is not in tune with its means…” -Professor Arnold Meyer, Rector of Zurich University, speaking in the formal address at the opening of the Kunsthaus Zurich on April 17, 1910.
Distinguished by its collection of Swiss fine art, the Kunsthaus Zurich has evolved into the cultural institution it is today thanks to the continued collaboration & contributions of Zurich’s artistic community. Its origins began the same way as many creative endeavors have: when a group of friends decided to get together to talk about art.
In 1787, a small group of Swiss artists known as the Künstlergesellschaft began meeting to discuss art, inspiration, and offer each other mutual support as they pursued their creative passions. Group members later began donating artwork and collecting pieces to curate an art exhibition of their own. But before their work ever donned the walls of an established museum, their first exhibits took place in a clubhouse and bar.
Throughout the 19th century, as their shows grew in size and appeal, eventually the Künstlergesellschaft acquired funds to build a museum. Built in 1910, the Kunsthaus Zürich employs distinctive Secession architecture, a style influenced by the cultural breakaway of artists from the expectations of art academies, state-run museums, and collectors who controlled the art economy at the time.
A century later, the Kunsthaus Zürich is once again expanding with the help of the Kunstgesellschaft. The museum is currently undergoing construction for an extension that will house 20th-century art, a collection by Emil Bührle, and a new central entrance hall. When the new Kunsthaus Zürich is completed in the autumn of 2021, it will be the largest art museum in Switzerland.
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