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  • From Buddha to Picasso – The collector Eduard von der Heydt

    20 april to 18 august 2013

    A mysterious goddess from Bali, Picasso’s Harlequin family, an Aztec snake: for Eduard von der Heydt (1882–1964) there was only one art – he called it ars una. As a young man he bought realist and modernist paintings as well as contemporary art. From 1920 he began collecting African sculptures as well as buying Chinese art. Within a few years, he possessed a unique collection of art from every continent on the globe.

    Eduard von der Heydt in his house in Zandvoort (Netherlands), 1933

  • He gave his non-European art collection as a gift to the city of Zurich, which in 1952 led to the foundation of the Museum Rietberg. For the first time, 180 works from his original collection are being brought together in a single exhibition and rooms from his various homes in Amsterdam, Zandvoort, Berlin and Ascona are reconstructed.

    Works by Cézanne and Munch displayed alongside African and Buddhist art illuminate von der Heydt’s approach to aesthetics. The open-minded patron and “Buddha of Monte Verità” is portrayed in all his many facets and contradictions. Von der Heydt came from a family of bankers and art collectors in Wuppertal, and became a Swiss citizen in 1937. Because of his financial dealings on behalf of German military intelligence during the Second World War he appeared before a Swiss military court in 1948 but was acquitted.

    Extensive photographic and archival material, the results of the latest research into the provenance of the works, films about his life and artworks as well as the new biography published to coincide with the exhibition all help to place this important collector in the context of a time marked by political and economic upheavals.

    Wikipedia article (in German)

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