Picasso show marks Zurich gallery's 100th birthday

Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:44pm EST
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By Jason Rhodes

ZURICH (Reuters Life!) - Kunsthaus Zurich, where Picasso had his first museum show in 1932, is celebrating its centenary with a special program including an exhibition showing how contemporaries received the Spanish artist's work.

The program kicks off on February 12 with a rare opportunity for the public to glimpse the world-renowned collection of controversial Zurich industrialist Emil Buehrle and culminates with a show marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Carl Moser, the Jugendstil building's architect.

"We decided not to mark the centenary with just one big event, but a whole rolling program of top-class exhibitions," Kunsthaus Director Christoph Becker said at a press conference Thursday.

The museum, which welcomed 228,000 visitors in 2009, aims to showcase its various strengths with art spanning the centuries -- from the paintings of the Old Masters to films and installations by contemporary artists.

The Buehrle show will give the public a sneak preview of one of the world's most significant private collections of European art before it moves residence in 2015 to a new wing of the Kunsthaus designed by British star architect David Chipperfield.

The collection, which contains around 180 pictures and sculptures including some of the world's finest works of impressionism, was assembled by German-born industrialist Emil Buehrle and is currently housed in a villa adjoining his former home near the shores of Lake Zurich.

It hit the headlines in February 2008, when masked robbers made off with major works by Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh worth around $160 million in Switzerland's biggest-ever art heist. Only two of the four works were recovered.

PROVENANCE   Continued...

<p>"Tete de femme," by artist Pablo Picasso, which will be sold at auction at an estimated price between $7-10 million on November 3, 2009 by Christie's during the Impressionist &amp; Modern Art evening sale, is seen at a press preview in New York October 29, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East</p>