The Kunsthaus Zürich is an art gallery in the Swiss city of Zürich. It houses one of the most important art collections in Switzerland, assembled over the years by the local art association called Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft. The collection spans from the Middle Ages to contemporary art, with an emphasis on Swiss art.
The Kunsthaus Zürich features one of Switzerland’s most important art collections from the 13th century to the present and showcases appealing exhibitions. International highlights include the largest collection of paintings by Munch outside of Norway as well as the most significant and comprehensive collection of work by Alberto Giacometti. Among the principal attractions are the Impressionist paintings with Monet, the Classic Modern movement with works of Picasso, Chagall, and those of the Expressionists Kokoschka, Beckmann and Corinth. Next to Pop Art by Warhol and Hamilton are works by artists such as Rothko, Twombly, Beuys and Baselitz. The Kunsthaus Collection features sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages, paintings from the Italian and Dutch Baroque (Rembrandt, Domenichino), followed by exceptional Swiss paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries by Füssli, Segantini, Hodler, Vallotton and Zurich concrete artists like Bill, Glarner and Loewensberg. Artists such as Pipilotti Rist and Peter Fischli/David Weiss are part of the department of the Kunsthaus that is expanding most strongly – the contemporary art.
The museum was drawn-up by architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel, and opened in 1910. Particularly notable are the several preserved Moser interiors in the original section of the museum, decorated in masterful Neo-Grec version of Secession style. The bas-reliefs on the facade are by Moser’s longtime collaborator Oskar Kiefer. The original museum building was extended in 1925, 1958 and 1976.
The architectural competition for a $230 million extension was won by London-based David Chipperfield. His design is a massive rectangular sandstone-covered building. The extension will add 5,040 square meters of galleries, increasing display space by 78%. The Kunsthaus will become the largest Swiss art museum, overtaking Basel. The two upper floors will be for art, with facilities at ground level and a basement link under the street to the original museum across the street in Heimplatz.
Lydia Escher (1858–1891), being a prominent Zürich patron of the arts, was honored by the Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster association on the occasion of her 150th anniversary by a commemorative plaque, located at the front of the building. The place was baptized on 20 August 2008 by the city of Zürich as Lydia Welti-Escher Hof.
The museum’s collection includes major works by artists including Claude Monet (several works including an enormous water lily painting), Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Jacques Lipchitz and the Swiss Alberto Giacometti. Other Swiss artists such as Johann Heinrich Füssli, Ferdinand Hodler or from recent times, Pipilotti Rist and Peter Fischli are also represented. Furthermore, works from Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse and René Magritte are to be found.