Did you know that...?
The Didaktika project, which aims to complement the exhibitions, presents a didactic space spotlighting Hermann and Margrit Rupf. This Swiss couple was driven by a somewhat open philosophy of life for their time, and over the first half of the 20th century they assembled an important collection of modern and contemporary art. After establishing a foundation for these holdings, the collection was deposited in the Kunstmuseum Bern in 1954.
This didactic space provides information and offers images of Hermann and Margrit Rupf’s lifestyle and taste in art, which reflect the modern spirit of cities like Paris, as can be seen in a clip from the film L’art et les hommes, one of whose participants was art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, a friend of the couple. Likewise, the exhibition catalogue is also available here for visitors to peruse it, together with a selection of documents from the archive of the Rupf Foundation, including private and professional correspondence and a few examples of the art critiques that Hermann Rupf himself wrote.
Additional resources are available in the exhibition, with information of artistic content such as the wall texts and the audio guides.
In the first decade of the 20th century, Swiss merchant Hermann Rupf (b. 1880; d. 1962) and his wife, Margrit Wirz (b. 1887; d. 1961), began to purchase works created by young Swiss and European artists. Hermann Rupf had befriended art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler in his youth, which helped him gain access to the art world and enhanced his acumen as a collector. The fact that the Rupfs welcomed Kahnweiler in their home from the outbreak of World War I until the end of the conflict attests to the close relationship that bound them together.
But Rupf went even further in his role as enthusiastic collector and forged close bonds with numerous artists—including Georges Braque, André Derain, Juan Gris, Paul Klee, and Pablo Picasso—and musicians—such as Robert Casadeus and Hans Kayser—whom financial helped as their friend and patron. In the 1930s, Rupf actually served as a kind of economic advisor to Vasily Kandinsky and his wife, Nina. When the Bauhaus Dessau was closed, the Kandinskys moved to Bern for a while, and there they became close friends with the Rupfs, whom they had met through their mutual friends Paul Klee and his wife Lily. Many of these personages, who were part of Margrit and Hermann’s life, appear in the images displayed in this space.
Hermann Rupf enjoyed a good social and economic status thanks to his mercery and haberdashery, a business which kept abreast of the latest fashion trends, allowing him to travel to the European cities that were at the forefront of modernity, such as Paris and London. Rupf also had keen social concerns which in 1910 drove him to create the Education Commission with the Workers’ Union of Bern, an entity that organized trips, lectures, and artistic visits for workers, an innovative venture which stretched beyond the boundaries of the conventional.
This open spirit, a far cry from the traditional staid society of Bern, also led Rupf to write cultural critiques in the Social Democratic weekly Berner Tagwacht between 1909 and 1931. Until 1914, these critiques revolved mainly around music and opera, but thereafter they honed in on art. The legacy, spirit, and social concerns of Hermann and Margrit Rupf still resonate with us today, and their Foundation continues to purchase works that build bridges between modern and contemporary art.
Conversation: Meet The Rupfs
Wednesday, November 9
Talk with Susanne Friedli, curator of the exhibition, about the Rupfs' free spirit and passion for collecting, followed by brief encounters with several of the artists featured in the show.
Venue and time: Museum Auditorium, 6:30 pm. Simultaneous interpretation into Spanish provided.
Free tickets available at the admissions desk and website.
Audio guide and adapted guides
The audio guides, available at the Museum entrance, provide further information on the works in each exhibition.
Ask at the Information desk for audio/video guides for people with cognitive, hearing and/or visual impairments.