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"Paul Klee: The Buergi Collection"
2000-05-05 until 2000-07-23
Buergi 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.
his 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 Buergi (1906-1967) continued to extend the collection.
Following Paul Klee's emigration to Berne from Duesseldorf 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 published.