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Gerhard Richter, Eight Student Nurses, 1966, Kunsthaus Zürich, 2021 © Gerhard Richter

From abstract expressionism to expressive awakening

With selected works of the collection from 1945 onwards, the expressive aura of modernism has reached the extension building. In an exciting arrangement, the contrasts between abstract expressionism (Newman, Pollock, Rothko, Sekula) and pop art (Warhol, Wool) are being visualised. The spectacular paintings and rare original sculptures by Cy Twombly also form a focal point of this phase in a separate exhibition area. The post-modern spectrum is represented above all by the works of the expressive awakening from 1980 onwards (Baselitz, Genzken, Polke) and a special accent is set by 'Eight Student Nurses', a newly added major work by Gerhard Richter from 1966.

Lungiswa Gqunta, Lawn, 2017, Kunsthaus Zürich, Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde, Gruppe Junge Kunst, 2019

Both a warning and a reminder of the fragile present

The extension now also offers prominent space for contemporary art. Maximum associative works such as those by the South African Lungiswa Gqunta or the Mexican Teresa Margolles focus on existential themes of humanity such as social injustice, expulsion and exclusion. Gqunta's bottle installation 'Lawn' (2017), for example, symbolises the fragility of the South African present in the context of racism and violence. And Margolles's radical works'Pesquisas' (2016) or 'Máscara de Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi sumergida en cemento' (2015) literally placard and cement the disregard for women's and human rights.

Behind the scenes @kunsthauszuerich


The first artworks in the lobby, bar and garden

A number of works have spent months undergoing restoration to prepare them for presentation in their new permanent home. Alexander Calder’s mobile ‘Cinq blancs, un rouge’ (1972) in the lobby feels almost close enough to reach out and touch. Max Ernst’s mural ‘Pétales et jardin de la nymphe Ancholie’, which was painted in 1934 for the Corso Bar at Bellevue, is now the artistic centrepiece of the Chipperfield Bar. Robert Delauney’s ‘Formes cirulaires’ (1930) draws the eye towards the second floor, while ‘Grundstein’ (2014), donated by Urs Fischer, lies casually between the spaces.

In the latest episode 'Art and Space' of the extension film series, our curators report on the context of the selected permanent collection works.

Watch film on YouTube

Urs Fischer, Grundstein, 2014, Kunsthaus Zürich, Donated by the artist, 2016

The Kunsthaus Collection in the new extension

Half of the rooms in the existing building have been reorganized. Now Munch meets Baselitz, while the Egyptian artist Anna Boghiguian shares the domed room (previously formerly home to Böcklin) with Kader Attia. Between now and the opening, the Collection, most of it post-1960, will move into the extension. Dada gains its own exhibition space, as does Cy Twombly, while Hodler and Segantini as well as Monet’s water lilies will be heading across Heimplatz. Many more will follow to complement the private collections.

Kunsthaus collection


Private collections: Bührle, Merzbacher and Looser

The collection of Emil Bührle, with its world-famous French paintings, is moving into the Kunsthaus. The artistic concept envisages displaying the more than 180 paintings and sculptures alongside works of Classical Modernism, thereby presenting visitors with an unbroken chronological sequence of artistic epochs. Werner Merzbacher shares his passion for art with the public in a feast of colour, the fruit of a long-term cooperation featuring key figures of Impressionism, the ‘Fauves’, ‘Brücke’ and ‘Blauer Reiter’, Futurists and Constructivists as well as more recent positions from Lohse to Rist. Last but not least, 70 selected works of Minimal Art, Arte Povera and Abstract Expressionism from the Looser Collection are a spectacular addition to the Kunsthaus’s holdings.

Private collections

Your #KunsthausExtension

A museum for art and the public

Together with the existing Kunsthaus, which is linked to the Chipperfield building by a passage running beneath Heimplatz, the new ensemble is the largest art museum in Switzerland. The area available for presenting art increases to a total of 11,500 m2. The enlarged Kunsthaus offers more the double the amount of public space. The central lobby, which is open to all, and the multi-purpose workshops provide space for interaction between art and the public and will enhance the scope for sharing and exchange. The shop and bar, ballroom and garden, all of which will be accessible outside museum hours, open the new Kunsthaus up to the city at large.

Vision, planning and construction

Extension film series

6 Videos

6 Min


Art and space

3 Min



5 Min


Art and construction

3 Min



3 Min



3 Min


Light concept


In our private architecture tour of the building you’ll learn all about the extension and its star architect’s vision.