Most people think Switzerland, and they think about skiing in the winter, hiking in the warmer months, and a plethora of other outdoor activities. And though there is plenty of fun to be had outdoors, our most recent trip to Switzerland showed us just one more activity to include on your Swiss itinerary: Fondation Beyeler.
Fondation Beyeler, named after art collectors Ernst and Hildy Beyeler, is a museum that first opened its doors in 1997. Visiting this auspicious space that has housed some of the world’s greatest art pieces, we felt honored to explore the vast array of the Beyelers’ collections and special exhibitions throughout the years.
Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, the museum creates an assemblage between the natural world and the created world. With a synergistic blend between nature, art, and architecture, the museum gives the viewers an unforgettable experience of seeing some of the world’s greatest art collections.
We were fortunate to be greeted by a guide who personally escorted and educated us on the art of French master Gustave Courbet, the father of landscape abstraction, whose work is on exhibit until January 2015. We relished the history and the complexities of Master Courbet’s work as we leisurely followed our guide throughout the museum. After our eyes were filled with Courbet’s masterful pieces, we left the museum to walk the beautiful grounds. The grounds are an art work in their own right with vineyards gently sloping down to the Rhine River just 100 yards away. We enjoyed the large sculptures of Ellsworth Kelly’s White Curves, and Alexander Calder’s The Tree. These amazing installations grace the verdant English-style landscape, naturally complementing the lovely foliage and ponds of this estate. Walking through the winding pathway, we came upon the old manor house that now serves as a lovely restaurant for hungry patrons like ourselves. Lunch was a tasty combination of Swiss favorites including veal served with a crisp, locally grown and produced white wine to match.
With our eyes and stomachs filled with beautiful art and food, we bid our docent adieu and headed to the tram to our next museum located in Germany. As the most visited museum in the country, Fondation Beyeler is a must-stop on your itinerary. For more information, please visit the museum website.