Basel – Cultural entertainment five minutes from Baselworld
By James Clatford
BASEL , March 29, 2009 – Visitors who wanted to take a few hours off Baselworld, could jump on a tram in the direction of the railway station and get off at the Fine Arts and Antiquities Museums for some cultural diversion.
After a five-minute ride from Baselworld, the green tram crosses the bridge with splendid long-range views over the Rhine and stops at the Kunstmuseum, or Fine Arts Museum. The Kunstmuseum underscores Basel’s role as the cultural capital of Switzerland. Basel has some 40 museums.
The Kunstmuseum Basel (adult entry charge 12 Swiss francs) has the world’s largest collection of works by the Holbein family. The Renaissance collection includes major works by Witz, Cranach the Elder, Grünewald and others.
Paintings by Böcklin, van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne feature strongly in the 19th-century exhibits. The Impressionists are among the strongest features of the museum.
The focal points of 20th-century art on display are Cubism (Picasso, Braque, Léger), German Expressionism and American art since 1950.
During Baselworld 2009, visitors had the opportunity to break away for a few hours to see a temporary exhibition of Pablo Picasso prints at the Kunstmuseum.
Picasso applied himself with great intensity to the techniques of printmaking.
From engravings and etchings to lithographs and linoleum cuts, he employed every printing method with stupendous ease and mastery.
The Pablo Picasso Prints exhibition runs until May 24, 2009.
Just across the road from the Kunstmuseum stands the Antiquities Museum (adult entry charge 12 Swiss francs), celebrated for its ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek artifacts.
Visitors to Baselworld 2009 could see the Egyptian collection of Achille Groppi (1890-1949) who ran a famous café in Cairo in the first half of the 20th Century, known as “J. Groppi”, a magnet for local high society. This exhibition runs until May 3, 2009.
Visitors to the Antiquities Museum can also admire a small collection of ancient Etruscan gold jewellery.