Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation - Contemporary Art from Classic Modernism to the Present Day


Works from the Kunstmuseum, which is temporarily closed for renovations, will also be on view in an additional venue this year. FUTURE PRESENT, at the Schaulager, is presenting an extensive survey exhibition of works from the collection of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation. Founded by Maja Hoffmann-Stehlin (later Maja Sacher) in 1933 in memory of her husband, tragically killed in an automobile accident, the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation is devoted to collecting and presenting contemporary art.

In 1941, Maja Sacher handed over the collection to Basel’s Öffentliche Kunstsammlung (Public Art Collection) on permanent loan. The Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation has worked in close cooperation with that institution ever since. The contract, unprecedented in its openness and generosity, has remained in place to this day virtually unchanged. It permits the works of the Foundation to be integrated into the holdings of the Museum, thus enhancing and reinforcing them. Many of the Foundation’s works are therefore familiar to regular visitors of the Kunstmuseum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, such as Salvador Dalí’s Burning Giraffe (Girafe en feu), Robert Delaunay’s Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel) and the group of works by Joseph Beuys with his iconic Schneefall (Snowfall).

The trustees of the Foundation, including, ex officio, the director and the president of Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, still actively collect contemporary art. Over the past twenty years, the collection has acquired important groups of work under the aegis of Maja Oeri, the foundation’s president today and Maja Sacher’s granddaughter. Now, for the first time in over 30 years, viewers will have the opportunity to enjoy an overview of the substantially enlarged collection. Presented chronologically, the works, ranging from classic modernism to the immediate present, comprise paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs and video works. Familiar favourites will be on view alongside works not seen for many years as well as unfamiliar newcomers.

The exhibition FUTURE PRESENT will testify to the intensity and commitment that have gone into building the collection of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation over the decades. It will present focal points of interest which reveal the often unorthodox decisions made in pursuing further developments of the collection in the future. The leitmotif that guided Maja Sacher when she established the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation still applies: ‘Faith in the Future’.

After almost 25 years, a richly illustrated catalogue raisonné of the entire collection will accompany the exhibition.