Museum History


Museum Bellerive History

The Museum Bellerive was established in 1968 in order to preserve and conserve the object collection of the Applied Arts Museum of the City of Zürich, whilst expanding it and making it accessible to the public. The name “Museum Bellerive” is derived from the magnificent location on the lakeside. Out of the collection of examples of commercial production founded in 1875, there soon developed a collection of models for instruction at the vocational school. This later became the School of Applied Arts, where materials, techniques and historical styles were studied. Since the turn of the twentieth century, a period of time during which art handicrafts displayed a unique blossoming in Art Nouveau, special emphasis was placed upon the new acquisition of contemporary works for the collection. Since no building of its own was available, the Applied Arts Museum, as it was still called at that time, was housed in the Swiss National Museum until the beginning of the 1930s. Both the School of Applied Art and the Museum acquired a new building on Ausstellungsstrasse 60 in 1933. The predomination of current special exhibitions in the new building and the constant expansion of the collection resulted in the Museum’s objects being put into storage again. A temporary solution to the space problem was then found in a former villa on the lakeside promenade.

This building, designed by the architect Erhard Gull in 1931, was built as the residence of Julius Bloch, the textile manufacturer. With its generously large rooms on the ground floor and large, round-arched windows opening onto the lake, the house is ideally suited to the presentation of objects of art handicraft. The collection of the Applied Arts Museum was then divided, with graphic art and posters remaining on Ausstellungsstrasse, whilst the glass, ceramic, wood, metal and textile objects were moved to the villa, now renamed “Museum Bellerive.” In this collection – the largest one of international art handicrafts in Switzerland – the main point of emphasis is placed upon the periods from Art Nouveau to the present day.

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