08 May 2020
The Kunstmuseum Basel’s collections comprise ca. 4,000 paintings, sculptures, videos, and works of installation art, as well as the ca. 300,000 drawings and prints from seven centuries held by the Kupferstichkabinett. And around 200 people work at the Kunstmuseum Basel in a wide variety of professions - full-time, part-time, on an hourly basis. Some of them present their favourite works from the collection here.
1. What is your name and what is your role at the Kunstmuseum Basel?
Olga Osadtschy, Assistant Curator Direction
2. Job description
As assistant curator, I support the director in the implementation of the exhibitions he curates (conception, selection of works, catalogue and finally exhibition set-up). Since I do not belong to a curatorial department, I often have the opportunity to work on projects that take place between different epochs and disciplines, e.g. experimenting with new digital formats. Currently, I am preparing the exhibition "The Incredible World of Photography. Ruth and Peter Herzog Collection", which - if all goes well - is scheduled to open in the summer. First of all, the medium of photography and its exciting and multifaceted history is moving so prominently into the center of an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum.
3. What's your favorite work?
Marc Chagall, "The Cattle Trader", 1912
The exhibition "Chagall. The breakthrough years 1911-1919" was the first one I was allowed to supervise at the Kunstmuseum Basel. This painting from our collection played a central role in the exhibition, which focused on Chagall's early works. So I spent a lot of time with this work. Before the exhibition, I was quite prejudiced about Marc Chagall. Because I knew mainly late work that had a completely different, much more flowery visual language that didn't necessarily appeal to me. But it was precisely this painting that opened my eyes to a modern, exciting painter who absorbed the avant-garde influences of his time to create idiosyncratic, fantastic worlds of images. There are many aspects that I find fascinating: the way the colours begin to glow against the dark background; the strange, almost human gaze of the horse; the subtle play of figuration and abstraction; the cultural and historical horizon of Eastern Jewry that resonates in this work ... it is a very rich, complex picture and I always catch a glimpse of it when I am in the museum.
In these days when we are tied to the city and cannot travel, I also like to imagine the little Moische Schagalow slowly rolling along a dusty country road on his uncle's horse-drawn cart. The memory of this experience from childhood is said to have been the inspiration for the painting.