Adriaen Coorte, Still Life with a Bundle of Asparagus, Red Cherries and a Butterfly, c. 1693 – 1695. Oil on paper on wood, 25.6 x 19.8 cm. Private collection.

ZURICH.- The Kunsthaus Zürich announces that the 50 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings on display in the exhibition ‘A Golden Age’ are coming to the Kunsthaus on long-term loan for a number of decades. The exhibition is extended until 10 January 2016. 

Under an agreement with the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft, collectors Ferdinand and Karin Knecht from Zurich are to lend 50, mostly small-format cabinet pieces by Jan Brueghel the Elder, Hendrick Avercamp, Adriaen Coorte, Jan van Goyen, Aert van der Neer, David Teniers and many others to the Kunsthaus for more than 20 years. This long-term loan of 46 paintings and four prints will enhance the Kunsthaus’s already exceptional holdings of Dutch and Flemish painting from the prestigious Koetser and Ruzicka foundations. The compositions – cheerful genre scenes, magnificent still lifes and masterfully composed landscapes – are of exquisite quality and remarkable in their wealth of detail, conveying the magic of an era in which Dutch art broke new ground. Thanks to the Knecht Collection, the Golden Age – a major epoch in European art history – will be a highlight of the Kunsthaus collection for decades to come. The current exhibition, which is extended until 10 January 2016, offers a brief opportunity to experience the entire private collection in context with works from the Kunsthaus. 

It is noteworthy that Swiss collectors did not discover the Old Masters until late on. At the start of the 20th century, they were still unable to compete with the prices being paid by British and American enthusiasts. Major collections were brought to Switzerland by foreigners. In the publication accompanying the exhibition Lukas Gloor, Director of the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection, describes the various types of Old Master collectors, while an introductory text by the lender brings things up to date. Is he a collector of the modern type? He politely declines to be named; but he allows the public to share the personal motivations for his collecting. The catalogue, which is available in German for CHF 49 at the Kunsthaus shop, contains a description of each individual work and places it in its art historical context. Each is also illustrated, along with numerous detail images to enhance appreciation of the works on display. The exhibition is an opportunity to experience parts of the private collection in context with works from the Kunsthaus, thereby offering an in-depth insight into the works and revealing synergies among some central artists, including Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Goyen. Establishing a close relationship between artist, collector, museum and viewer creates added value for the audience, once again highlighting the benefits of interweaving private and museum holdings. 


Jan Brueghel the Elder, Village Entrance with Windmill, 1603-1605. Oil on copper, 18 x 25.4 cm. Private collection.