Enchanted Time

Cézanne, Van Gogh, Bonnard, Manguin Masterpieces from the Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler Collection

The exhibition Enchanted Times features the historical art collection of Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler, a Swiss couple who between 1906 and 1936 amassed an impressive number of Post-Impressionist masterpieces at the Villa Flora in Winterthur. Having been introduced into leading artistic circles in Paris by the Swiss painter Félix Vallotton (1865–1925) in the early years of the twentieth century, the couple soon became friends with Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard and Henri Manguin, and later with Henri Matisse. Through close association and dialogue with these influential figures, Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler gained a profound understanding of the artists’ creative ambitions at an early stage of their development, and in this way became passionate and very knowledgeable collectors of their work. An unerring instinct for artistic quality also led them to acquire key works by the great pioneers of modernism, including paintings by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Renoir and Édouard Manet. The exhibition presents a selection of more than 200 works by 18 artists from this world-famous collection, on show in Germany for the very first time.

Inspired by Japanese woodcut prints, the Post-Impressionists created figurative works that were characterised by planar composition, vivid colouring and a new appreciation of ornament. In their interiors, still lifes and landscapes they strove to extend the moment of perception, as it were – to create enchanting depictions by imbuing what they saw with symbolic meaning and dreamlike qualities.

The Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser-Bühler Collection is particularly notable for the harmony that exists between the artworks and their surroundings in the Villa Flora, the couple’s former residence. With selected items of furniture, photographs and original documents on display alongside the artworks, the exhibition at the Hamburger Kunsthalle offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Villa Flora and brings this unique location back to life as an ideal meeting place for art, artists and collectors. The selected works, which include 110 paintings, are drawn from the holdings of the Hahnloser/Jaeggli Foundation as well as from leading Swiss museums and private collections. Rounding off the presentation is a 70-minute film that has been created especially for the exhibition, and new contributions by two contemporary artists from Switzerland.

A modified version of the exhibition will subsequently be shown at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, the Kunstmuseum Moritzburg in Halle/Saale and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart.