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Reinhart’s collecting philosophy

Reinhart saw in Impressionism the most important artistic achievement of all time. He believed that its focus on colour and light had generated an entirely new visual language. This view led him to judge works of art from all periods principally in terms of their painterly qualities. He thus favoured Old Master pictures in which painterliness was especially prominent, seeing them not as manifestations of a particular time, but as precursors of modern art, and acquiring isolated examples as illustrations of a historical development that culminated in Impressionism. In seeking out correspondences between historical and modern art, he made Impressionism the lodestar of all painting and juxtaposed various styles in an attempt to reveal what he considered to be the quintessence of art. The careful arrangement of works in his picture gallery reflected this philosophy. Here he mixed old and new, reserving the period rooms in the villa exclusively for Old Masters. The hanging explored correspondences of form and colour between earlier and modern works irrespective of their chronological sequence, aiming to establish links and continuities across time. This abstract dimension, and the spectacular mise en scène of the works in the main gallery, encouraged the viewer to experience painting in purely aesthetic terms.

Oskar Reinhart rehanging his collection, assisted by his chauffeur Albert Fritschi, 1955
Oskar Reinhart rehanging his collection, assisted by his chauffeur Albert Fritschi, 1955

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Oskar Reinhart Collection ʻAm Römerholz̕
Haldenstrasse 95
8400 Winterthur
T +41 58 466 77 40
F +41 58 466 77 44
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T +41 58 466 77 41
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