The Nahmad family, based in Monaco, has been collecting masterpieces of art from Impressionism to Surrealism & later for two generations. Kunsthaus Zürich is the first museum which has ever organized an exhibition of paintings based on this iconic collection including works by Mattise, Modigliani and Kandinsky. The museum cites two major reasons for organizing Miro Monet Mattise: The Nahmad Collection: first, the selection of works on display reveals preferences (for particular periods & artists) and perseverance that are required to accumulate such an outstanding collection. The Kunsthaus also explicitly acknowledges the availability of “necessary funds” that play a role in the collection’s formation. Second, the exhibition enables the museum to “once again focus on private collecting.” An earlier example of the Kunsthaus’ engagement with private collectors includes Feast of Colour – From Picasso, van Gogh and Klee to Kandinsky, Kirchner and Matisse – The Merzbacher-Mayer Collection, in 2006. The Nahmad show which began on October 21 will be on display until January 15, 2012.
Established in 1787 as Künstlergesellschaft, Kunsthaus Zürich began to collect works of art via donations by its members, in 1794. From its first small gallery (90 sq.m.) which was founded in 1812, until the Kunsthaus’ inauguration in 1910, the museum has undergone major physical and museological and exhibitionary changes. What has remained constant is the Kunsthaus’ engagement with private collectors throughout its long and engaging history. In 2002, plans were introduced to, once again, expand the museum whose completion is scheduled for 2017.