Membership: History of the Kunstverein


With its Kunsthalle in the heart of the city, Basel Art Association (Basler Kunstverein) opens a door to both local and international artistic activities. Its foundation in the year 1839 marked the beginning of an ongoing commitment to the fine arts as well as professional mediation between artists and the public. It is not without pride that Basel Art Association looks back on its wide range of exhibitions which not only provided stimuli for the development of art in the 19th and 20th centuries but can, in retrospect, undoubtedly be seen as pioneering events. Solo exhibitions dedicated to the works of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edvard Munch, Vincent Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Emil Nolde and Piet Mondrian are among the more illustrious examples testifying to the early and open-minded reception given to these artists in Basel. Being the first institution to introduce the European public to ‘The New American Painting’ by organising a comprehensive presentation in 1958, Kunsthalle Basel led the way to a broadened perspective on art which was soon to be emulated by numerous public art collections.

Basler Kunstverein is the privately owned governing body behind Kunsthalle Basel. Its function is to mediate between artists and art lovers by offering an attractive programme. As an institution which runs a popular restaurant on its own premises, the Association aims to create a vibrant venue with an atmosphere of hospitality for both artists and art lovers. Since Basel Art Association has evolved over many generations, the institution now forms an integral part of the city’s cultural life.