Baloise Collection at Museum Franz Gertsch

March 20, 2021
Following the publication of an attractive volume on the Baloise Group Collection several months ago, a concentrated selection of nearly 300 works is now being presented for the first time in a large-scale museum exhibition "Groups and Spots" until End of August 2021.
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The fact that the show focuses primarily on photographs and works on paper is in keeping with the orientation of this important contemporary corporate collection. The selection includes works by more than 40 artists; apart from some important works from the 1980s and 1990s, the majority of the exhibited artworks was produced over the course of the past two decades.
In keeping with a newly defined concept, the collection has concentrated on works on paper since 1985; in the early 1990s, the field of pictorial photography was added as an equal partner. From the outset, the aim was not to acquire individual works but rather groups by contemporary artists in order to present a representative survey of their oeuvres. As is evident in the show’s title, the selection on view in the exhibition at the Museum Franz Gertsch takes this aspect into consideration. Borrowed from a series of works by the artists Claudia & Julia Müller, ‘Groups and Spots’ designates a selection that highlights the two emphases of the collection as well as individual pieces in order to shed light on both works on paper and photographs by means of exciting constellations. The wide-ranging exhibition extends over three gallery spaces.

The first room is dedicated to the collection's focus on photography. Seen here the staged portraits by the young Canadian Sara Cwynar; Jeff Wall's backlit portrait of a draughtsman in an anatomical laboratory; fascinating views of an English planned town (Milton Keynes) by the Japanese photographer Naoya Hatakeyama as well as snapshots from the ‘Falling Down’ series by Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler.
The second room of the exhibition focuses on different forms of interaction between artists and Baloise as an insurance company and building owner.
The third and largest room in the exhibition provides insights into the wide-ranging collection of works on paper in the Baloise Group Collection.

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Proceeding from its first purchases of paintings by Basel artists in the late 1940s, the collection of the Baloise Group now encompasses more than 1,500 works. Thanks to this long tradition, Baloise’s relationship with art is well known and firmly established, both among its employees, who encounter it on a daily basis in their working environment and are also involved in the acquisition process via an art commission, and among the general public through a number of special art events. The exhibitions at the Baloise Art Forum in the company’s Basel new headquarters designed by Diener & Diener are freely accessible to the public. The current exhibition there with works from Thomas Schütte has been extended until 2nd July 2021.