Steinenberg 7
4051 Basel

Kunsthalle Basel

Dynamic, experimental, rigorous, open-minded, and accessible, Kunsthalle Basel is a place for audacious art and exhibitions by emerging artists. Established in 1872 by the Basler Kunstverein (Basel Art Association), Kunsthalle Basel is world renowned for engaging with pioneering practices in contemporary art.

With its majestic, skylighted spaces, the Kunsthalle is a truly exceptional place to see art. It organizes about eight exhibitions per year, featuring international and Swiss artists. The shows often take innovative forms and involve newly commissioned works. Throughout the year the Kunsthalle also presents dynamic public programming—artists’ talks, lectures and readings—to contextualize the featured artists’ practices.

Kunsthalle Basel looks back with pride on a long history of exhibitions that nurtured the development of art and supported, early in their careers, emerging artists who would go on to become part of art history. In the early twentieth century it hosted major solo shows by Edvard Munch, Paul Gauguin, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Vincent van Gogh, and Piet Mondrian. In subsequent decades it featured Jackson Pollock, Alighiero Boetti, Joan Jonas, Jeff Koons, and Richard Serra. And more recently we have been proud to present solo shows by Moyra Davey, Anne Imhof, Mark Leckey, Superflex, Andra UrsuĹŁa, Danh Vo, Yan Xing, and Anicka Yi, to name only a few.

The foundation of the Basler Kunstverein in 1839 came at a time when great efforts were being made to promote the arts in Switzerland as a whole. Thus the Kunstverein’s statutes demanded that it should contribute to the “elevation of Swiss art” through art exhibitions and the “acquisition of art products”. The Kunstverein therefore launched the “Allgemein Schweizerische Kunstausstellung” (General Swiss Art Exhibition, 1840), a touring exhibition that subsequently became known simply as “Turnus”. The exhibition, held every two years in different Swiss cities, always began in Basel.

The inaugural show had to be staged in the Markgräflerhof building, which was shortly afterwards converted into a hospital. In 1841 the Kunstverein redeemed its pledge to show regional art with a retrospective of Basel art of the past three centuries, this time held in the Baslerische National-Museum. For its “permanent” shows, organized on an ad-hoc basis and designed to give local artists a showcase and sales platform for several months at a time, the Kunstverein had to resort to rooms in the Stadtcasino, the “Rotes Schulhaus” in Rittergasse and the premises of the Allgemeine Lesegesellschaft reading society.

It was not until 1864, following its merger with the Basler Künstlergesellschaft, that the Kunstverein’s desire for its own exhibition premises were for the first time brought within reach.

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