Arnold Rüdlinger

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Arnold Rüdlinger (born May 16, 1919 in Ganterschwil , † November 16, 1967 in Basel ) was a Swiss art historian and museum director. He is considered one of the pioneers of American art in Europe.

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Kunsthalle Bern

After the baccalaureate in St. Gallen Arnold Rüdlinger studied from 1940 art history at the University of Bern . As early as 1944 he was responsible for setting up the exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Bern and was in charge of their management from 1946 to 1955. In the late 1940s he met Alexander Calder in Paris , whose work he showed in the Kunsthalle in 1947. In 1953 he became acquainted with Sam Francis , who recommended that he visit New York and its current art scene. In 1952 and 1953, Rüdlinger showed the new tendencies in European painting in two overview exhibitions under the title Tendances actuelles de l'Ecole de Paris . Rüdlinger also included American painting in the exhibition Tendances actuelles 3 , which was on view in the Kunsthalle in February 1955. In addition to the Europeans Georges Mathieu , Henri Michaux , Tancredi and Wols , he showed paintings by Sam Francis, Mark Tobey and Jackson Pollock . He called the common visual language of these artists " Tachisme ". His last exhibition, a double exhibition, was for Julio Gonzales and the international iron sculptors.

Kunsthalle Basel

In 1955 Rüdlinger moved to Basel and was appointed curator of the Kunsthalle Basel . His successor in Bern was Franz Meyer . In 1957 Rüdlinger traveled to New York with the art dealer Eberhard W. Kornfeld . He visited Clyfford Still and Barnett Newman in their studios and wanted to exhibit them in Basel with Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko . Although Rüdlinger's exhibition plan failed due to the high costs, Basel was able to take over a large exhibition entitled The New American Painting from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York in the spring of 1958 . With the help of the Nationale Suisse company , he acquired paintings by Franz Kline , Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still in New York in 1958 . The Basel Art Museum was the first museum in Europe to own paintings by the contemporary American generation of artists. With Day Before One (oil on canvas, 335 × 128 cm) by Barnett Newman, a work by this artist found its way into a museum collection for the first time. "... At that time there was nowhere else in Europe outside of Basel to see a comparable group of works of the new American painting." Rüdlinger is considered one of the pioneers of American art in Europe.

Rüdlinger was married to the painter and photographer Pia Rüdlinger, the sister of Jürg Federspiel . In 1967 he was a member of the documenta council in preparation for Documenta 4 in Kassel. Rüdlinger died at the age of 48.

The "Arnold Rüdlinger Fund" was founded in 1996 through a legacy of the Swiss biochemist and art collector Ernst Vischer (1917–1994) to support the Kunstmuseum Basel with acquisitions. In 1997 the monumental painting Nini's Painting by the American painter Cy Twombly was acquired.


  • Bettina von Meyenburg-Campell: Arnold Rüdlinger - vision and passion of an art mediator . Scheidegger & Spiess, Zurich 1999, ISBN 3-85881-117-3 .
  • Maurice Raynal , Arnold Rüdlinger and others: Matisse, Munch, Rouault. Fauvism and Expressionism . Skira, Geneva 1950.
  • Ilona Genoni: Contemporary American Painting in Switzerland: 1945–1960 . Zurich 2004. Lic. Phil. I Univ. Zurich, 2005.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Christian Geelhaar : Kunstmuseum Basel. Eidolon, Zurich / Basel, 1992, ISBN 3-7204-0073-5 . P. 258.
  2. Wilfried Raussert: Avant-garde in the USA: Between Mainstream and Critical Renewal 1940-1970. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-593-37273-8 .
  3. ^ The time from November 24, 1967 to the death of Arnold Rüdlinger