Bechtler Collection: Relaunched and Rediscovered
September 30, 2016 - April 23, 2017
From September 30 – April 23, 2017, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art will present the Bechtler Collection: Relaunched and Rediscovered, an exhibition expanding on works from the museum’s collection including modern and contemporary artists. The impetus for the show comes from extensive new research into the collection and the artists in the holdings, many of whom have very little material available in English. Significant findings from the research will be included in the exhibition.
The Bechtler Collection: Relaunched and Rediscovered will include a number of themes beginning with an introduction to the Bechtler family and the artists with whom they were close including Adolf Luther, Joan Miró, Italo Valenti, and Eduardo Chillida. The exhibition will then examine the Discussion of Space, a central concern for many abstract artists including Victor Vasarely, Angel Duarte, Alexander Archipenko, and Gina Gilmour.
The artists Antoni Tàpies, Pablo Picasso, Marino Marini, Giorgio Morandi, Le Corbusier, Maud Gatewood, Laurent Jiménez-Balaguer, Antonio Zoran Music, Giuseppe Santomaso, Edouard Pignon, Bruno Meier, and Jim Nicholson will be presented with a focus on the many different 20th Century Political Positions taken by artists from identity politics to classicism’s comforting cry for a return to order.
The cultural critique of Pop art will feature Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Miguel Berrocal, Pol Mara, Rüdiger-Utz Kampmann, and Sam Francis and Walasse Ting’s 1¢ Life (examined last fall in the Bechtler Museum’s Sam Francis survey).
A room devoted to different Philosophical Investigations by artists through their work, will include Chillida’s relationship to the German philosopher Martin Heidegger and Pierre Soulages and Hans Hartung’s existentialism.
Finally, the exhibition will celebrate Concrete art, one of Switzerland’s most significant contributions to Modern art history, with a presentation of art and texts by Max Bill, Camille Graeser, Robert Gessner, Richard Paul Lohse, Willy Müller-Brittnau, Johann Itten, and Hans Hinterreiter.
Since January 2010, the museum has offered exhibitions that introduced the region to many artists and styles widely admired and collected throughout Europe and Asia, but rarely seen in the United States. Now, with the research yielded through the generous support of the Knight Foundation and MetLife Foundation, the Bechtler is able to offer more significant and insightful artists and artworks in Bechtler Collection: Relaunched and Rediscovered.
The Bechtler family has long been generous with their memories and information and this show expands their contributions, as well. The Bechtler family has shared their family’s memorabilia with the museum so that we can gain more insight of Hans, Bessie, and their children and grandchildren living with the art that Charlotte now enjoys and celebrating with the artists who made these works. The museum’s lobby will feature reproductions of photographs of the family, along with exhibition posters contemporary to the shows in which the Bechtlers first experienced the works we enjoy today.
This exhibition is curated by Jennifer Sudul Edwards, Ph.D., curator at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art since 2015. It will include an audio guide featuring quotes by the artists presented in the exhibition.
In 1950, Hans and Bessie Bechtler began acquiring art, purchasing works primarily in France, a modernist hub where many of the artists lived and worked, and Switzerland, where the Bechtlers lived. Over the next four decades, the family built a collection that surveyed the major trends and most influential artists working in Europe over the 20th century.
Many of the artists in the collection were close friends of Hans and Bessie Bechtler and their son Andreas as reflected by the works they made specifically for the Bechtlers.
A resident in Charlotte since 1975, Andreas Bechtler, first moved to Charlotte to lead the American branch of his family’s business. He fell in love with his adopted city and has stayed, with the exception of a brief return to his parents’ home in Zurich during which Hans and Bessie commissioned Andy Warhol to paint the family’s portraits to celebrate Andreas’ and his family’s homecoming.
Andreas, an artist and collector in his own right, has amassed a range of works by visiting artists and regional favorites working in a variety of media and styles.
In 2006, Andreas made arrangements to gift over 1400 works of art from the Bechtler collection, that he inherited, to the city of Charlotte and commissioned the world-renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta, to build the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the only museum dedicated to modern art in the Southeast region.