HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM FRANZ GERTSCH
Besides the presentation of Franz Gertsch’s works, the museum is a regular venue for temporary exhibitions of a wide spectrum of contemporary art.
Contemporaries and comparable younger colleagues, also contrasting approaches to reality are the exhibition themes, with the crossover between painting and photography giving a further emphasis.The quality of Franz Gertsch’s works is thereby obligation and a benchmark for the program. In close cooperation with Franz Gertsch, the Swiss architects Hansueli Jörg and Martin Sturm from Langnau in Emmental designed exhibition spaces that are both striking and perfectly aligned in their function with reference to the works on display. The museum building, completed in 2002, is divided into two exposed concrete cubes, which stand at right angles to one another and surround a museum garden. The total exhibition area of some 1000 sq.mtrs. (10000 sq.ft.) is divided into five clearly proportioned rooms. With the material selection reduced to the minimum, the rooms appear as pure white cubes and stand entirely in the service of the works displayed. Apart from the exhibition rooms, there is a 50 - seat artcafé at the visitors’ disposal, and a video lounge, where a documentary on Franz Gertsch is shown during the day.
In 1998, the Burgdorf industrialist Willy Michel made a decision, together with Franz Gertsch, to create a museum to be maintained by them both. Willy Michel secured the financing for the entire project and established the willy michel foundation, which provides the basis for the museum’s collection. This collection offers a unique constellation for a high-ranking artist: it comprises works by Franz Gertsch dating from 1984 to today. These specifically include the paintings “Silvia I” and “Gräser I–IV” [Grasses I–IV] as well as many woodcuts, among them several large-scale triptychs. In addition, the museum expands its collection through the loan of additional works from other museums or privately, as well as attempting to purchase further works.