Hermann and Margrit Rupf Foundation
The Hermann and Margrit Rupf Collection represents an extremely significant contribution to the museum’s collection. The couple were the first private Swiss collectors to occupy themselves with abstract art and who collected it according to their personal criteria during its beginnings.
In 1954, the collection – comprising approximately 250 works as well as many art books – was given to the Museum of Fine Arts Bernas a foundation. Today, the foundation’s collection consists of more than 900 works (including paintings, sculptures and works on paper).
The Bernese businessman Hermann Rupf (1880-1962) was one of the first collectors who, from 1907 onwards in Paris, bought works by Picasso, Braque and also by the Fauves (Friesz and Derain). A central role in Rupf’s collecting was played by the Parisian art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979) with whom he enjoyed a life-long friendship. Through the agency of Kahnweiler, many groups of works by Fernand Léger, Juan Gris and, later, André Masson were added to Rupf’s collection.
The Rupf couple also maintained friendly relations with Paul and Lily Klee and from 1913, works by Klee were regularly added to the Rupf collection. The Rupf couple were also active in supporting numerous artists, scientists and musicians in Bernitself. Herrmann Rupf, who was also the coproprietor of the mercery Hossmann & Rupf, was active as an art critic and an important figure in the promotion of appreciation for contemporary art. His writings and criticism could be understood as pleas for an understanding of contemporary art and were directed against a conservative art politic.
With the foundation of the Rupf Foundation in 1954, the conservation, complementation and expansion of the collection was assured. In line with the intention of the Rupfs, the main investment was in contemporary art. In recent years, works by Swiss artists such as Bernhard Luginbühl, Meret Oppenheim, Markus Raetz, Dieter Roth and Otto Tschumi as well as several representatives of concrete art such as Richard Paul Lohse and Max Bill have found their way into the collection. Works by international artists such as James Lee Byars, Donald Judd, Joseph Beuys and James Turrell have also been added to the collection.New Acquisition - Franz Fedier The collection of the Museum of Fine Art Bernhas been enriched by an important work by the recently deceased Franz Fedier (1922-2005), who is among the most important of abstract Swiss artists. The paintingOhne Titel ( Untitled) from 1959 (synthetic resin on canvas, 194.6cm x 130cm) is a donation to the Rupf Collection, of which Fedier was vice president for many years, by the gallery Renée Zieger in Zurich. Just last year, in his memory, the foundation had bought one of Fedier’s newer, geometric-constructive works and presented it in the exhibition Rupf Collection. In contrast, the black-and-white Ohne Titel is one of Fedier’s main works from his gestural-abstract phase. It is on display on the upper floor of the new building, surrounded by the great names of abstract expressionism – Pollock, Rothko and Krasner – and also by works of the Bernese contemporaries Iseli and Grunder.
Manager / Curator: Susanne Friedli
More information www.rupf-stiftung.ch