organisation

Museum Bellerive

Country

Switzerland

Swiss museum established in 1968. Located on the shores of Lake Zurich, it is housed in a villa built in 1931 that had once belonged to Julius Bloch, the silk manufacturer. Eva Afhus is the director of the Museum Bellerive and Peter Strohler its scientific consultant. At its inception, the Museum received a collection of applied arts and design pieces from the Kunstgewerbemuseum (established in 1875) that included fifteen thousand objects dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. The art works came from all over Europe, the United States and Japan; amongst them were textiles, costumes, and objects in glass and metal, ceramics, furniture, musical instruments and puppets. The section reserved for Jugendstil, the art nouveau movement, is well known. In the beginning the collection had aimed at giving students of the Kunstgewerbeschule Institution, established in 1878, a practical introduction to the various aspects of the applied arts.

The collection includes all the string puppets of the Schweizerisches Marionettentheater (Swiss Puppet Theatre, 1918-1935), and the Zürcher Marionettentheater (Zurich Puppet Theatre, 1942-1963). Amongst these are the abstract or stylized puppets of Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Otto Morach, Paul Bodmer, Pierre Gauchat and the creations of Fred Schneckenburger from the Puppencabaret produced between 1948 and 1966. Some pieces from the collection appear frequently in special theme exhibitions. The Museum Bellerive also organizes three exhibitions every year that are dedicated to arts and crafts, fashion and contemporary design.

In 1981, the Bellerive organized an important exhibition, Marionnettes, Une Expression Artistique (Puppets, An Artistic Expression), in collaboration with the Lausanne Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Decorative Arts Museum). The works exhibited included the most important pieces from the collection of the Kunstgewerbemuseum, puppets made by Paul Klee (1915-1925), and those made by the Russian avant-garde artist, Alexandra Exter, for a film produced in 1926. Exhibited also were puppets created by Pierre Gauchat in 1944 and by Fred Schneckenburger. The Bread and Puppet Theater of New York had sent a giant puppet (1979), and several works had been loaned by well-known puppeteers such as Massimo Schuster, Hanspeter and Ursula Bleisch of Puppentheater Bleisch. Another important puppetry exhibition, Fils Magiques: Marionnettes à l’Époque du Numérique (Magic Strings: Puppets in the Digital Era) was held in 2004. It focused on the theme of control and distance manipulation between the puppet arts, technology and psychology.  

(See Switzerland.)

Bibliography

  • Kotte, Andreas, Simone Gojan, Joël Aguet, and Pierre Lepori, eds. Theaterlexikon der Schweiz/Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse/Dizionario teatrale svizzero/Lexicon da teater svizzer. Berne: Chronos, 2005. (In German, French, Italian, Romansh)