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2019: A Record Year for the Fondation Beyeler
Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Morning, 1950, oil on canvas, 86.7 x 102.3 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum

In 2019, the Fondation Beyeler welcomed 437,000 visitors. The exhibition “The Young Picasso – Blue and Rose Periods” was not the only reason the past year proved exceptionally successful for the popular museum located in Riehen near Basel.

And 2020 is looking no less exciting, with an exhibition programme that includes “Edward Hopper”, “Goya”, and portraits by great female artists.

Attendance figures for the year 2019 at the Fondation Beyeler are highly gratifying: in total, the museum located in Riehen/Basel welcomed 437,000 visitors. The exhibition “The Young Picasso — Blue and Rose Periods” provided an outstanding start to the year. Figures for contemporary art exhibitions “Rudolf Stingel” and “Resonating Spaces” were in line with expectations. 2019 will thus go down as the Fondation Beyeler’s third most successful year. The Fondation Beyeler remains Switzerland’s most visited art museum.

The year started on a high note with masterpieces from the young Picasso’s Blue and Rose Periods. After delighting 335,244 visitors, this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition closed last June as the museum’s second best attended exhibition after “Gauguin” (2015, 369,867 visitors). With “Picasso Panorama”, the collection display staged parallel to the “Young Picasso” exhibition, until late May the Fondation Beyeler became fully devoted to Picasso’s works. The special initiative MyPrivatePicasso, carried out in cooperation with Swisscom, brought a work by Pablo Picasso from the Beyeler Collection to a Swiss farmhouse for 24 hours. In the summer, the museum staged a comprehensive retrospective of impressive large format paintings by contemporary artist Rudolf Stingel, which drew 99,857 visitors. Many of them left their mark on the bright orange carpet wall piece or signed their presence on the silver Celotex panels in the last exhibition room. In late August, the renowned Rudolf Staechelin Collection’s impressive paintings by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Ferdinand Hodler, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro and Auguste Renoir returned to Basel. The Fondation Beyeler celebrated this cultural gain for the city with a whole weekend of free admission for all. The paintings will henceforth be integrated in the Fondation Beyeler’s periodically changing collection displays, thereby remaining accessible to the public. Things turned delicate and poetic in the fall with “Resonating Spaces”, which brought together works by five contemporary female artists (Leonor Antunes, Silvia Bächli, Toba Khedoori, Susan Philipsz and Rachel Whiteread) and remains on view till January 26, 2020.

In total, 2,592 journalists visited the museum. The Fondation Beyeler and its exhibition programme were mentioned in 2,935 articles published in Swiss media outlets as well as major international media in Germany, France, Italy, the UK and the US. The Fondation Beyeler remains at the forefront of Swiss art museums in terms of social media and digital activities. Its Instagram community of 117,000 followers even places it first among German-language art museums in Europe. The Fondation Beyeler is still seeing steady growth on Facebook (78,700 friends). Its website drew 888,900 unique viewers.

In 2019, the Fondation Beyeler carried out 50 public cultural events. Next to the popular events schedule tied to its exhibitions, two in-house productions proved particular highlights: a sound installation by Antony Genn & Band cast its acoustic spell over many visitors for two days during the “Rudolf Stingel” retrospective and the Wayne McGregor dance company performed an interplay of bodies and space in the exhibition rooms of “Resonating Spaces”. Another musical highlight was the acoustic concert given by Genesis great Steve Hackett; in an intimate setting, he performed early songs of the English rock band as well as original personal compositions.

UBS Artist Talks took place internationally in two cities: with Rirkrit Tiravanija at the National Gallery Singapore and with Miquel Barceló in Monaco. Another UBS Artist Talk took place at the Fondation Beyeler with Rudolf Stingel. Our sun.set series in the park, carried out in cooperation with Nordstern, enjoyed continued success, with DJs Jamie Jones, Acid Pauli and Carl Craig bringing together over 10,000 guests.

In 2019, the Fondation Beyeler carried out a total of 2,038 guided tours and workshops, among them several tours targeting specific audiences such as families, children and people with special needs (visually and hearing impaired visitors, dementia sufferers). Around 540 school classes visited the Fondation Beyeler and took an active part in its art mediation programme. The Art Lab and the Young Art Club for young art enthusiasts still attract considerable interest; with Art Lab on Tour, for the first time two projects were organised outside the Fondation Beyeler. The Young Art Club now numbers 541 members. Both formats were funded by the Max Kohler Foundation, the Art Lab by the Avina Foundation. In total, more than 40,000 children and young people under 30 benefited from concessions — especially the U25 free admission scheme. This amounts to around 10% of visitors and shows that the Fondation Beyeler’s exhibitions and art mediation programme generate great interest also among the younger generation.

The museum’s collection was enriched with seven works by seven artists (Harold Ancart, Leonor Antunes, Lucas Arruda, Louise Bourgeois, Enrico David, Philippe Parreno and Susan Philipsz). Artist Rudolf Stingel presented the Fondation Beyeler with a generous gift of six works. 65 works of the collection were examined as part of regular conservation work at the museum and 13 underwent restoration and conservation measures. The two-year project “Conservational survey and long-term preservation of complex contemporary artworks” was successfully completed and sample findings relating to Philippe Parreno’s Water Lilies were published on the museum’s website. An international conservation project was launched for the seven Piet Mondrian paintings held in the Beyeler Collection.

In 2019, three scholarly catalogues were published, with sales figures reaching 13,653, as well as a more succinct companion volume to the Picasso exhibition, of which 18,793 were sold. Works by Harold Ancart, Cildo Meireles, Rudolf Stingel, Gabriel Orozco and Toba Khedoori were published as newly produced art editions.

The museum’s borrowing and lending activities are indicative of the Fondation Beyeler’s intense exchange with significant museums and private collections in Switzerland and worldwide. 413 works from 97 lenders in 10 countries made their way to the Fondation Beyeler in 2019. In turn, 89 works from the Fondation Beyeler’s collection were loaned to international museums, among them 10 works by Lucas Arruda to the Fridericianum in Kassel, as well as seven works by Giacometti to the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Other prominent loan recipients included: the Centre Pompidou, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée Picasso in Paris, the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, the Kimbell Art Museum in Forth Worth, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Albertinum, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Tate Modern in London, the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Attesting to the Fondation Beyeler’s steadily growing worldwide reputation, international museum cooperations took place e.g. with the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée Picasso for the exhibition “The Young Picasso — Blue and Rose Periods” and with the Museo del Prado in Madrid for an Alberto Giacometti exhibition organised to celebrate the museum’s 200th anniversary.

June saw the opening of pop-up bistro “BEY”, which also operates as a shop for art editions, design articles and local produce as well as a library and co-working space. In November, the popular restaurant “Beyeler Restaurant im Park” reopened with a new culinary concept following the renovation and redesign of its guest areas.

That same month, Riehen’s municipal parliament unanimously agreed to the building rights agreement for the museum’s extension project. The project remains at the preliminary building application stage. However, the parliament’s decision represents another important step on the way to submitting the final building application.

At the end of 2019, the Fondation Beyeler employed a total staff of 206 (including ISS Facility Services), representing 15 nationalities.

We would like to thank the following for their generous support in 2019:

Beyeler-Stiftung; Hansjörg Wyss, Wyss Foundation

Public sponsors: Swiss Federal Office of Culture; Municipality of Riehen; Department of Culture of the Canton of Basel-Stadt

Main partners: Bayer; Novartis; UBS

Partners: accurART; Basler Kantonalbank; Fondation BNP Paribas Suisse; ISS; Bank J. Safra Sarasin; Maison Ruinart; Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Foundations and patrons: American Friends of Fondation Beyeler; Avina Stiftung; Erica Stiftung; Ernst Göhner Stiftung; Fondation Coromandel; Simone & Peter Forcart-Staehelin; Friends of the Fondation Beyeler; Larry Gagosian; Martin & Marianne Haefner-Jeltsch; Hilti Art Foundation; IWB; Eckhart & Marie-Jenny Koch-Burckhardt; L.+Th. La Roche Stiftung; Luma Foundation; Max Kohler Stiftung; Dr. Christoph M. Müller & Sibylla M. Müller; Jerry Speyer & Katherine Farley; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Swisscom; WestendArtBank; and other private patrons who wish to remain anonymous.

Further information:
Silke Kellner-Mergenthaler
Head of Communications
Tel. + 41 (0)61 645 97 21, presse@fondationbeyeler.ch, www.fondationbeyeler.ch
Fondation Beyeler, Beyeler Museum AG, Baselstrasse 77, CH-4125 Riehen, Switzerland



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