Fondation Beyeler

Baselstrasse 101 , Riehen
Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 (0)61 645 97 00
closed on: open daily
Museum Type: Art
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The Beyeler Foundation in the Swiss town of Riehen, near Basel, is one of the most renowned modern and contemporary art museums in Switzerland.

Housed in a famous building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the museum houses the collection founded by gallerist and art dealer Ernst Beyeler (1921-2010) and covering a period ranging from the second half of the 19th century to present day.

Architecture and site
Along with the main building, the museum complex includes also a magnificent garden and Villa Berower, a late-Baroque building which accommodates the Foundation administration offices and a restaurant.

Fondation Beyeler Riehen Basel aerial view

Aerial view of the Beyeler Foundation’s complex with the expansion by Renzo Piano, in the center of the photo, and Villa Berower in the lower-left corner; image Niggi Brauning

Completed in 1997, the expansion designed by Piano is a rectangular building marked by four 127-meter / 420-foot long longitudinal walls, made in reinforced concrete and clad in red porphyry stone, that support a semi-transparent flat roof.
The roof, which Piano defined as “a machine for zenithal light”, includes an ingenious system, composed of adjustable glass slats, conceived to control natural illumination and filter direct sunlight.

Beyeler Foundation Renzo Piano plan and elevation

Beyeler Foundation, ground floor plan, and west elevation; image © RPBW

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Photo Michel Denancé

Fondation Beyeler Renzo Piano glass roof

Detail of the glass roof, photo Michel Denancé

Fondation Beyeler Renzo Piano transverse section

Beyeler Foundation, transverse section (partial); image © RPBW

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Photo Todd Eberle

The building envelope is mostly made of large glass windows to create a relationship between artworks and landscape; a dialogue further reinforced by the addition of a narrow winter garden which borders the exhibition galleries.

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Fondation Beyeler Renzo Piano 03

Photos Cristian Richters

In 2016, the Beyeler announced an international architectural competition aimed to further extend the museum.

Collection and activities
The collection of the Foundation includes masterpieces by Arp, Bacon, Braque, Cézanne, Chagall, Degas, Dubuffet, Ernst, Giacometti, Kandinsky, Kiefer, Klee, Léger, Lichtenstein, Matisse, Miró, Mondrian, Monet, Picasso, Pollock, Rodin, Stella, Tàpies, Van Gogh, Warhol, just  to name a few. The permanent exhibition,  often renovated in its layout, also features sections dedicated to African, Alaskan, and Oceanic art.

The Beyeler Foundation also organizes major temporary exhibitions; three per year, on average.

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Beyeler Foundation, one of the exhibition rooms, photo Michel Denancé

Fondation Beyeler Riehen Basel Giacometti

An ensemble of sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, photo Michel Denancé

Fondation Beyeler Riehen Basel Henri Rousseau

View of one exhibition room; on the right: painting “Le lyon ayant faim, se jette sur l’antilope”, 1898/1905, by Henri Rousseau; photo Todd Eberle

Cover image by Mark Niedermann
All images 
courtesy of Fondation Beyeler and Renzo Piano Building Workshop

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11 architects for the Beyeler Foundation extension
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Beyeler Foundation announced that 11 architects, including Sou Fujimoto, SANAA and Peter Zumthor, have been selected to design extension of the Swiss museum

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