Graphics, Photography & Video
The Graphics Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Bern comprises approximately 48,000 drawings, prints and photographs.
The 16th century is represented by a large number of prints from artists such as Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Sebald Beham, Hans Burgkmair the Elder and Albrecht Dürer. From the 17th century, in addition to related collections of prints by the two Bernese artists Wilhelm Stettler and Joseph Werner, there are also prints by Jacques Callot, Van Dyck, Rembrandt van Rijn and Hendrik Goltzius. A significant segment of the collection consists of art from Bernese minor masters from the 18th century. Their small-format landscapes and depictions of traditional dress led to the Bernese Oberland and other regions in Switzerland becoming known as tourist destinations. Johann Ludwig Aberli, who developed the technique of hand-coloured outline etching which made possible the manufacture of numerous copies of printed sheets retaining an individual character, is also shown with a collection representative of his oeuvre. On loan from the Gottfried Keller Foundation, numerous works by Balthasar Anton Dunker, Sigmund Freudenberger, Franz Niklaus König, Gabriel Lory and Gottfried Mind are also being exhibited.
Artists from the 19th century - Albert Anker, Karl Stauffer-Bern and Rudolf Friedrich Kurz - are represented with related groups of works. The oeuvre of Karl Stauffer-Bern is presented in its entirety, including drawings as well as printed works on paper. The comprehensive collection of sketches and studies by the Bernese painter Kurz, who lived in America from 1847 to 1852, devoting himself to portraying the American Indians, constitutes a further addition to the collection - somewhat of a divergence from the broad avenues of art history. Another important compilation is the collection of work by the Paris-born Bernese artist Adolf von Stürler. A large number of his sketches are on exhibit depicting scenes from Italian cities. We also have to thank him for the legacy of an important group of drawings by his teacher Dominique Ingres. In addition to this, international art from the 19th century is represented by a few works from individual artists. Among them pictures by Camille Corot, Edgar Degas, Adolf von Menzel, Hans von Marées and Max Liebermann.
Larger compilations from, among others, Otto Meyer-Amden, Otto Nebel, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Wassily Kandinsky, Louis Moilliet, Pablo Picasso, André Masson and Salvador Dalí are witness to important artistic currents of the early 20th century. The complete printed work of Maurice Vlaminck is presented.
After the collections in Geneva and Zurich, the Museum of Fine Arts Bern possesses one of the most comprehensive collections of drawings by Ferdinand Hodler, in the main these are studies for paintings and come from the estate of his son, Hector.
Another important segment of the collection is the art estate of Adolf Wölfli which has been in the care of the Museum of Fine Arts on loan from the Adolf Wölfi Foundation since 1975.
The main focus in the area of international contemporary art is exemplified by the Toni Gerber collection which includes, among other things, related series of drawings by Dieter Roth, Markus Raetz and Jean-Frédéric Schnyder as well as groups of works by James Lee Byars, Sigmar Polke, Michael Buthe and Joan Jonas. The Museum of Fine Arts also possesses larger groups of works by Louise Bourgeois and Suzan Frecon as well as the complete printed work of Meret Oppenheim, Bernhard Luginbühl and Markus Raetz as well and a comprehensive collection of the graphic art of Peter Stein, Franz Fedier, Rolf Iseli and Franz Eggenschwiler.
Since the founding of the Bernese Foundation for Photography, Film and Video (1981), photography has been a main emphasis of the collection and is being continually expanded. Larger groups of works by Manon, Urs Lüthi, Mariann Grunder, Balthasar Burkhard and Lyonel Feininger are also part of the collection.