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Sammeln im Wandel der Zeit. Das Museum Faesch im Kupferstichkabinett, Kunstmuseum Basel 10. Juni – 19. Nov. 2023


Kunstmuseum Basel: Collecting through the ages. The Faesch Museum in the Kupferstichkabinett

10. Juni – 19. Nov. 2023

At least once a year, during Art Basel, residents of the city on the banks of the Rhine are inevitably confronted with the question of why rich people actually collect art. Is it a genuine interest in beautiful things? Is it the exclusivity of artefacts whose seemingly immeasurable prices others cannot afford? Or is it an ostentatious presentation of one's own culture: Look, I know what is beautiful, good (the ancient Kalokagathia beckons around the corner) and valuable in its spiritual and material essence?

Parts of the extensive collection of prints and drawings from the self-named "Museum Faesch", which became part of the city's public art collection in 1823 under turbulent circumstances to say the least, are currently on display in the Kunstmuseum Basel's Print Room. Among them is a sheet that was attributed to Hans Holbein, at least in earlier centuries. It shows the Lais of Corinth, Holbein's famous painting from 1526 and formerly part of the Amerbach Cabinet, which can now be seen in the Holbein Room alongside world-famous masterpieces such as the Dead Christ in the Tomb. However, the work on paper, which today is no longer considered a genuine Holbein, was not just a copy of the oil painting, at least for Johann Rudolf Faesch, no, the last custodian of the Faesch collection still considered it to be the "sketch" (quote) of it around 1810. What a coup that would have been! For the art enthusiasts of modern times did not begin with the word - no, in the beginning there was the drawing, the disegno, the first step that constitutes every decent work of art, especially in the Renaissance, which puts the mental image on paper. It is true that Faesch's collectors were unable to buy the painted Lais, which was already in the possession of the Amerbach family and had achieved considerable fame. But having the sketch of it, the basic genesis of it, would actually be more symbolically valuable. The supposed role models of the Amerbach family would thus have become emulators. What a triumph! It's a pity that things don't always work out as hoped - the Kupferstichkabinett is now convinced that the drawing is a later copy after the painting. But today, as in the past, art has the value that is attributed to it....

Q.U.I.C.H.E. sind Semi-Monatliche Gedanken über Kulturmomente in Basel und Umgebung. Formuliert von einem lose organisierten Kollektiv von queeren Menschen, die im Dunstkreis der Basler Kulturszene tanzen.