Bürgi Collection is - next to that of the Klee family - the largest
and most important private collection of Paul Klee's work.
Gathered together during the lifetime of the artist (1879-1940) and
that of his widow Lily Klee (1876-1946), this collection of some 130
works represents an otherwise unparalleled cross-section of the different
periods of Paul Klee's artistic career.
This first - and perhaps last - presentation of Bürgi Collection not
only offers the viewing public an excellent survey of Klee's art,
it also illustrates a long-term commitment to the support of art which
had a major influence on the life and work of Paul Klee and his artistic
estate over more than four decades are to be demonstrated and acknowledged
in the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue. Johanna Bürgi-Bigler
(1880-1938) was not only the first collector of Klee's work, she also
laid the foundations of the largest private Klee collection in the
world, which by the late 1930s already amounted to more than 50 works.
After her death her son Rolf Bürgi (1906-1967) continued to extend
Following Paul Klee's emigration to Berne from Düsseldorf at the and
of 1933, he and his wife Lily formed a close friendship with Johanna
Bürgi-Bigler, and it was on her initiative that the Kunsthalle Berne
held the first major exhibition of Klee's work in Switzerland in 1935.
From 1933 onwards Rolf Bürgi supported the Klees as their advisor
in tax and financial matters, and after Paul Klee's death he became
a kind of private secretary to Lily Klee. It was in this capacity
that he arranged the sale of Paul Klee's complete artistic estate
to the Berne collectors Hermann Rupf and Hans Meyer-Benteli shortly
before Lily Klee's death, to prevent the works of art being converted
into cash for the benefit of the Allies, in line with the Washington
Agreement. In 1947 Bürgi, Rupf and Meyer-Benteli, together with the
architect Werner Allenbach, founded the Paul Klee Foundation with
the art from Klee's estate. Since 1952 the foundation has been based
in the Kunstmuseum Berne. The exhibition was initiated and first shown
in the Kunstmuseum Berne by Stefan Frey and Josef Helfenstein.
After Hamburg it will tour to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern
Art in Edinburgh (12 August - 22 October 2000). A comprehensive catalogue
of the exhibition and a publication on the Bürgi sketchbook have been
The Bürgi Collection is - next to that of Paul Klee family -
the largest und most important private collection of the art of Paul
Klee (1879 - 1940) in the world.
Now, for the first and probably last time, the 130 or more paintings,
drawings and watercolours from the Bürgi Collection are being
shown on the public.
Hamburg is the only German venue for this important exhibition, which
was initiated by the Kunstmuseum Berne.
Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Thursday until
closed on Mondays.
June 1 and June 11/12 open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Adults DM 15, reduced price DM 10, groups DM 10, familiy ticket
Public tours (in German)
Saturday 3:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m., additional price DM 4
(also in English) by appointment. Registration through the Museumsdienst,
Tel. 040 - 428 54 325, information Tel. 040 - 428 54 31 80
An attractive package "Paul Klee in Hamburg" is offered
by Tourismus-Zentrale Hamburg: One night incl. breakfast, Hamburg
Card and ticket to the Kunsthalle per person from DM 54. Book at Hamburg
Hotline daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., Tel. ++ 49 - 40 - 3005