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#MuseumFromHome | Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
May 4, 2020 - June 30, 2020
Our doors may be temporarily closed, but the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art remains fully committed to offering art, content, and experiences designed to engage and connect you to the world of arts and culture.
Join us as we take our mission online. Tune into our social media channels, visit our website, and be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter for art and coloring activities, highlights from our collection, Bechtler artist spotlights, social media series, arts and entertainment recommendations and a variety of museum resources from around the world.
Get to Know Our Collection
Did you know there are over 1,400 art works in the Bechtler Collection? Get to know the artists and the stories behind their art as we dive into our online collection. Each week we will feature a new artist.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is home to a number of significant works by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). Hans and Bessie Bechtler first met the artist in 1957 at an opening of his work at Galerie Maeght in Paris where they purchased the sculpture Femme Asisse(Seated Woman), 1956. The Bechtler’s continued to collect his work and also the work of his brother, Diego Giacometti, for many decades.
We would like to draw your attention to two small sculptural works by Alberto Giacometti titled Aube and Naissance du Jour, both dated 1936 and measuring only 1 ¾ inches in diameter. The small bronze medallions, or buttons, were the result of a collaboration between Giacometti and Jean-Michel Frank, a French interior designer known for his minimalist interiors and connections to the French fashion world. The two buttons were designed for the French-Italian fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli (best known for her work with the Surrealists).
We are not certain what year the Bechtler’s purchased these works or if these buttons were ever attached to a clothing item, but a version of one of them is documented on a Schiaparelli tailored jacket which belonged to Marlene Dietrich. Ten examples of each were authorized by the artists, so they are in essence 1 of an edition of 10. The first one, titled Aube (left) is a representation of the Greek Goddess Eos, who rose from her home in the ocean to begin each day. The second, titled Naissance du Jour or “daybreak” (right) depicts a female figure with uplifted arms and legs bent at the knees – a convention used in Greek art to indicate that a figure was running. Many of Giacometti’s decorative works from this time evoke forms from ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian excavations reflecting the artists admiration of these civilizations. Photographs from the Bechtler’s home in Zurich indicate that they were prominently displayed on the mantle in the living room alongside a necklace and two small figurines also by the artist.
Alberto Giacometti (Swiss 1901-1966), Aube (left) and Naissance du Jour (right), 1937, gilded bronze, Collection of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art