Copyright © 2010, All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes agreement with our Terms and Conditions.

Selected works from the
38th Annual Fine Arts Exhibition
June 2012

THE MAJOR summer exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda is devoted to one of largest European private collection belonging to very discrete Werner and Gabrielle Merzbacher. For decades, the Swiss couple gathers works that reflect his exclusive interest in color. For a long time, this collection has been a closely guarded secret. But in 1998, Merzbacher agreed show their collection at the Museum of Israel in Jerusalem for fifty years the state Israel. Since then the collection was presented in Japan in 2001, London 2002, in Zurich in 2006, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in 2010. Foundation Gianadda is the first private foundation to house the collection Merzbacher. With a hundred works by almost fifty artists, the most important the late nineteenth and twentieth century, this exhibition documents exhaustively the evolution of this part of the history of modern art.

Werner Merzbacher was born in 1928 in Southern Germany. His father, doctor, organizes his departure to Switzerland after Kristallnacht in November 1938, after which children Jews are allowed to attend school. Refugee child, Werner is placed in a Zurich family and his Parents failed to escape. Deported, they will die in Auschwitz. In 1949, Werner Merzbacher won a scholarship and immigrated to the USA.

There, he married Gabrielle Mayer. After living in Alaska, where Werner Merzbacher made his military service, the couple returned to New York Werner entered the fur trade of his stepfather. The couple's three children were born in the United States. In 1964, the family decided to move back to Switzerland, in Zurich area where Werner had lived during the war and where Gabrielle was born. Werner Merzbacher became the first partner, then in 1989, the only business owner Mayer and Cie AG.

The Merzbacher acquired their taste during 1960, attending the New York galleries.  Initially, they bought Mexican or Italian paintings, in the vein of social realism. At the end of year they turned to Vlaminck, Toulouse Lautrec, Friesz, but also Monet, Sisley. They understood that they were attracted to pure color, without really knowing yet what their favorite was at the time. The purchase of their first Schmidt-Rottluff was a turning point. From that moment, the couple began to implement a real strategy of buying the best deer and expressionist works. Most of the paintings acquired by the couple are now considered of masterpieces worthy of the greatest museums. Some of the best artists of the late Nineteenth and early twentieth century are documented in depth, with several works that interested in different aspects of their work.
Umberto Boccioni, Forme Plastiche di un Cavallo, 1913-1914, Huile sur toile, 40 x 40 cm © Photo Peter Schašlc
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Der Einradfahrer, 1911, Huile sur toile, 80 x 90 cm © Photo Peter Schašlchli
Max Beckmann, Frau mit rotem Hahn, 1941, Huile sur toile, 55 x 95 cm © Photo Peter Schašlchli © 2012 ProLitteris Zurich
AndreŽ Derain_Bateaux dans le port de Collioure_1905_huile sur toile_72x91cm
Alexej von Jawlensky, Dame mit gelbem Strohhut, vers 1910, Huile sur carton, 87 x 74 cm © Photo Peter Schašlchli