Museum Will Introduce an Important Collection to an American Audience
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the only museum dedicated to the exhibition of mid 20th-century European modern art in the southeast, will open to the public Saturday, January 2, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Construction of the museum’s distinct four-story, 36,500 square foot building in downtown Charlotte is nearing completion. Museum staff is slated to move into the facility this summer and the collection is scheduled to arrive in the fall. The building, designed by world renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta, is destined to become an iconic structure with its boldly cantilevered fourth floor exhibition gallery, soaring glass and steel atrium and terra cotta exterior.
The museum is named after the family of Andreas Bechtler, a Charlotte resident and native of Switzerland who assembled and inherited a collection of more than 1,400 artworks created by major figures of 20th-century modernism and donated it to the public trust. The Bechtler collection reflects most of the important art movements and schools from the 20th century with a deep holding of the School of Paris after World War II.
The collection is comprised of artworks by seminal figures such as Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, Jean Tinguely, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol, Le Corbusier, Sol Lewitt, Edgar Degas, Nicolas de Stael, Barbara Hepworth and Picasso. In many instances the holdings by a particular artist are across various media (painting, sculpture, drawing, prints and decorative arts). Some works in the collection are also accompanied by books, photographs and letters illustrating personal connections to the Bechtler family.
Only a handful of the artworks in the Bechtler collection have been on public view in the United States. Until now, the collection was privately held by the Bechtler family and has since been committed to the city of Charlotte.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern is part of a public-private partnership that is creating new and enhanced cultural facilities along Charlotte’s South Tryon Street corridor. Joining the Bechtler on the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus are the Mint Museum of Art, the Knight Theater and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture.
To introduce the museum and the collection to the public, an interim website has been launched at www.bechtler.org. Created by MODE, a Charlotte-based branding and interactive agency, the site highlights artists in the collection, provides architectural information, describes museum offerings and gives visitors the opportunity to sign up for e-mail updates regarding programs, exhibitions, membership, facilities rental, volunteering and educational opportunities. The website will continue to expand in the months ahead.