All great artists have to start somewhere. And their influence often depends on the social and financial support of folk like Hedy and Arthur Hahnloser-Bühler. Their collection of works by such greats as Matisse, Hodler, Van Gogh, and Cézanne forms the basis of a new exhibition at the Albertina.
- Paintings from many outstanding modernist artists and their predecessors
- Runs Aug 27 – Nov 15, 2020
- Just use a normal museum entrance ticket or a sightseeing pass to get in
- See also: Albertina tickets & visitor info
The Hahnloser Collection at the Albertina
(Self-portrait by Cézanne around 1896/1897. Image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum)
Hedy (1873-1952) and Arthur (1870-1936) Hahnloser-Bühler played a significant role in the acquisition and appreciation of modern art in Switzerland, thanks to their own purchases and their promotion of artists. Many of the latter, such as Henri Matisse, Ferdinand Hodler or Pierre Bonnard, became friends.
It must have been quite a time, witnessing (and actively helping) the development of the French and Swiss modernist art movement at close quarters. Between 1905 and 1936, the couple collected works by the likes of the above names, but also from the giants on whose shoulders those artists stood: Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, for example.
The Hahnloser-Bühler’s home at Villa Flora in Winterthur transitioned into a private gallery of sorts and also became a meeting place for those interested in the arts .
(Today, the villa is part of the Kunst Museum Winterthur and set to reopen in 2022 as a public art museum and showcase for the collection.)
The Van Gogh, Cézanne, Matisse, Hodler exhibition at the Albertina brings together dozens of works from this important collection, drawn from the numerous items still held by the family and the Hahnloser/Jaeggli foundation, as well as loans from those institutions who benefited from the Hahnloser-Bühler’s generosity: the Kunstmuseum Bern and the aforementioned Kunst Museum Winterthur.
Combined with relevant additions from the Albertina’s own collections and elsewhere, the result is a wander through some of the best of late 19th century and early 20th century European painting.
I saw the exhibition in February before the Coronavirus hiatus. So the below impressions may not apply when the exhibition (re)opens in August, 2020.
You’ll find a dozen paintings by Cézanne, for example. Or Van Gogh’s 1887 Withered Sunflowers (I also enjoyed his pen and ink drawings, where the lines used to convey skies and landscape elements echoed the works on display in the Renaissance etchings exhibition). Cézanne’s portrait of a peasant from the early 1890s also brought to mind another Albertina exhibition: Wilhelm Leibl.
Félix Vallotton, who was clearly not averse to painting the female body, gets almost an entire room to himself.
Other highlights for me included:
- Henri Matisse’s 1905 Parrot Tulip, which pops with unexpected colour and variety
- Toulouse-Lautrec’s distinctive coloured lithographs, particularly the 1892 Englishman at the Moulin Rouge
- Ferdinand Hodler’s View into Infinity from the 1910s, whose blue-clad women hint at Greek mythology and possess a certain dignified mysticism about them
(Just my opinion – this is not a genre I’m particularly comfortable with.)
Dates and tickets
The Albertina normally opens daily from 10am to 6pm during the exhibition, with late-night opening (until 9pm) on Wednesdays and Fridays.
How to get to the Hahnloser exhibition
Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna