B├╝hrle Foundation director to step down

Swissinfo 14 November 2021

Lukas Gloor, the director of the Bührle Foundation - from which the controversial Bührle art collection comes - will step down at the end of the year. The collection is currently at the centre of a row about its origins.

∫Lukas Gloor, director of the Bührle Collection, as seen in 2017 during another exhibition in Lausanne

Around 200 artworks from the collection are on loan to the Zurich Kunsthaus art museum and have been on display in its new extension since October.

“My work is done. The pictures are in the Kunsthaus,” Gloor told the SonntagsBlick newspaper on Sunday. But he criticised a further appraisal - announced on Wednesday - into the origins of the pictures on show and spoke in the interview of the possibility of the works being withdrawn.

Emil Georg Bührle, who made his fortune by selling arms to Germany during World War II, bought art that was looted by the Nazis, and profited from slave labour.

The decision to show Bührle’s collection - including some paintings whose ownership is contested -has however been attacked by experts, organisations and in a new book.

On November 10, Zurich city and cantonal authorities - the Kunsthaus is publicly subsidised - saidExternal link they supported an independent appraisal of the origins of the works currently on display at the Kunsthaus. The day after, the Bührle Foundation indicated that it was open to the move. But Gloor is more critical.

The origin and background to the artworks are explained in the exhibition, he said. "Currently, QR codes are being placed next to each painting that lead directly to our provenance research," explained Gloor in the interview.

The original idea was that the Kunsthaus took over the Foundation’s provenance research. “Now a new situation has arisen due to the city encroaching on the autonomy of the Kunsthaus,” Gloor said. If the city dictates to the Kunsthaus how the Emil Bührle Collection is to be explained to the public, then "we can no longer participate”, he said.
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