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“first-rate art, presented in a first-rate environment”
Review of Fondation Beyeler

Fondation Beyeler
Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Riehen
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: ABOUT THE FONDATION BEYELER The Fondation Beyeler is a museum of modern and contemporary art open 365 days a year. It is considered one of the world's most beautiful museums. Its exhibitions of renowned artists of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries have brought the museum international recognition and established it as Switzerland's most popular art museum. The focus is the visitor's personal and sensory experiences in encountering art and nature. The art museum is located in an English park with a historical villa, old trees, and water lily ponds. The museum building, designed by award-winning Italian architect Renzo Piano, fits elegantly into the cultural landscape and offers beautiful views of the park, cornfields, grazing cows and sheep, as well as the vineyards at the foothills of the Black Forest. The spacious rooms showcase the art in the most beautiful natural light. A green conservatory invites you to linger and read. The Fondation Beyeler combines nature, art, and architecture in a unique harmony. It presents high-quality art to a wide audience and seeks especially to reach young people. This was especially important to the founders, Ernst and Hildy Beyeler. It was for this reason that they founded the Beyeler Stiftung in 1982 and in 1997 opened the Fondation Beyeler in their hometown of Riehen near Basel. They gave the Fondation their valuable art collection and donated the renowned museum building by Renzo Piano to house it. Since the founder's death, the Beyeler Foundation is overseen by the Board of Trustees, presided by Hansjorg Wyss. Sam Keller has been the director of the Fondation Beyeler since 2008. The Beyeler Stiftung recently acquired the neighboring Iselin-Weber-Park and is planning an extension with Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. The Beyeler Collection is presented several times a year in rotating exhibitions. It comprises roughly 300 works of post-impressionism, classic modern and contemporary art, and 30 ethnographic art objects from Africa, Oceania, and Alaska. The collection is researched and maintained by the Fondation's own team of conservators and restorers. The museum also houses works on permanent loan from artists and associated collections such as the Daros Collection, the Collection Renard, and Anthax Collection Marx. The Fondation Beyeler regularly organizes exhibitions dedicated to the great masters of modern art and the major artists of our time. Thematic exhibitions about cities and art movements that played a decisive role in the development of modern art are presented periodically. Projects with contemporary artists are also realized every year in the museum and in public spaces. The Fondation Beyeler regularly cooperates with leading international museums and cultural institutions. Cultural events and art mediation expand the array of offerings and make art more easily accessible. The Fondation's diverse program includes artist talks, concerts, dance performances, recitals, lectures, panel discussions, cabaret, and film screenings. Internationally acclaimed artists, scientists, musicians, dancers, actors, directors, and other personalities are regularly invited as guests. Guided tours, workshops, and games for young people, families, schools, companies, clubs, and groups are also offered daily. The Fondation Beyeler is funded and supported by contributions from the Beyeler Foundation, the Hansjorg Wyss Foundation, sponsoring partners, patrons, members of the Friends of the Fondation Beyeler, subsidies from the Canton Basel-Stadt and the Community of Riehen, project contributions from the Canton Basel-Landschaft, and especially by visitor admission fees. The Fondation Beyeler is an open and active museum that promotes access to art, cultural education and experiences, as well as interpersonal encounters. The restaurant and the museum shop contribute to this as well. Since its opening in 1997, over 6 million people have visited the museum: half from Switzerland, the other half from its neighboring countries and around the world. The Fondation Beyeler's website provides insight into the collections and activities. It also includes films, photographs, and texts about artists, exhibitions, events, art mediation, restoration, publications, editions, and other projects.
Slagelse, Denmark
Level Contributor
196 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“first-rate art, presented in a first-rate environment”
Reviewed April 19, 2014

This private museum is hosted in a building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, and is a masterpiece of functional simplicity. The collection itself is one of the biggest in the world - only a fraction of which can be on show. It is an interesting juxtaposition to see Picassos and Rothkos together with intricately carved wooden figures and masks from Papua New Guinea, and it is not because of the primitive vs. the sophisticated: the carvings from PNG are not less intricate and sophisticated than the other pieces of art on display. (alas, some really "modern" pieces suffer as they are exposed as products of limited intellects, in comparison to the PNG carvings).
There is a good museum shop, selling interesting memorabilia, modern jewellery,books, etc.
Just outside Basel, can be reached by tram; the park is splendid in the spring - ample space for a picnic - even though the locals do not engage in such activity. A pity for them.

Visited April 2014
Thank GaborLeo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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654 reviews from our community

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  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
259 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Fantastic location for a stunning collection”
Reviewed April 18, 2014

Basel's efficient public transport system made the journey here easy via the tram direct from Marktplatz through the pretty countryside. The venue offers a wonderfully designed building and a fabulous space to show off the collection. We came to see the Odilon Redon exhibition, which was well curated and gave an excellent overview of his life and works. There is a calmness about the interior design that makes viewing the works a pleasure. There is a bank of sofas overlooking the wooded hills and fields at the side of the gallery, making the building very much part of its surroundings. They even supply a little carrier bag to carry your items when you leave your bag in the lockers. We walked on the gardens and then had a very good lunch and glass of the locally brewed unfiltered beer at the cafe/restaurant. Thoroughly recommended.

Visited April 2014
Thank nics218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riehen, Switzerland
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“One of worlds leading art collections”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

Outstanding 1) the building complex 2) the environment - a 15th century small town 3) the art collection displayed

Visited October 2013
Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
422 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
“Stunning Parkland Setting & Marvellous Built Envirionment”
Reviewed April 14, 2014

But with Beyeler you really go for the art...which seems always to be worthwhile...no what has been curated!
The architect, the stellar Renzo Piano, has done a truly splendid job here...the gallery is as responsive to the site as it is to one's comfortable viewing when inside..a hard-to-beat combo! & very unusual!

Right now the intriguing farmland right outside, is a dramatic swathe of brilliant yellow rape ...& yet this unexpected horticultural 'visual drama' is ever-changing as are the special exhibitions periodically staged inside. The little known Frenchman Odilon Redon's oeuvre is superbly hung now..but I doubt visiting anytime would disappoint...the small but select permanent collection is also marvellous, & downstairs always has complementary special events showing, even if the main event upstairs seems not to specially appeal.
Free lockers, everything in French AND English alongside the expected German titles & pamphlets, plus plenty of places to sit calmly combine to make the 25CHF entry a reasonable price for a positive & memorable experience. Easily reached by train ex Basel, parking IS a bother..but nearby underground spaces are available by the hour within a short & pleasant walk from the park & the gallery Oh & do try the restaurant (pls see my separate review). DO IT!

Visited April 2014
Thank John N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
488 reviews
121 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 378 helpful votes
“Terrific exhibition space”
Reviewed December 27, 2013

Lovely light and extensive building, which was largely occupied by works by Thomas Schutte when I visited, with a few major items by Calder. The architecture of the building is really interesting and I was left wondering how the floor could deal with the weight of the statues. Take a look at the "lily pads" in the pond at the front which are wired and vibrate causing surface ripples.

Visited December 2013
Thank Coylum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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