HILTI ART FOUNDATION

 

WEBSITE: www.hiltiartfoundation.li
LOCATION: Feldkircher Strasse 100, 9494 Schaan, Liechtenstein
NEAREST AIRPORTS: St. Gallen–Altenrhein Airport and a 40 minutes drive, or Zurich Airport and 1 hour 30 minutes drive

 

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With a private foundation, and the true luxury of monopolising a collection, one can hone in on the personality of the owner, the sum of the works serving as a portrait of the collector. In Hilti’s case, the collection tells of sophistication and elegance. Liechtenstein might not be the most obvious holiday destination, but if you are there, make sure to visit this space.

Under the careful direction of the President, Michael Hilti, the collection has expanded since it first started in the 1970s to over 200 works of exceptionally good art by modern and contemporary artists. The focus is on works of art, in their various forms, from movements such as cubism, expressionism and futurism, with artists such as Picasso, Giacommetti, Scully, Klee, and Leger, all comfortably positioned side by side.

The collection is managed in part by Hilti’s neighbour, the Liechtenstein Art Museum. They share an entrance, but the buildings are clearly split. The Art Museum is incased in a black cube building while the Hilti is in a white cube designed by architects Meinrad Morger and Fortunat Dettli whose works can be a bit austere at times, but in this case, they bring a real sense of drama with sweeping curved staircases and impossibly high ceilings as you navigate the space.

Each 12 to 18 months, the collection is rehung into a new show that sometimes does include loans. They are usually thematic and really beautifully done, at time inviting living artists to relate to the collection through their work. When I visited, photographer Thomas Struth was asked to create connections between the pieces and his works, connection which, as it turned out, were poignantly visual and often playful.

The strength of the visit is the quality of the collection. Almost each work is a masterpiece. And this is a living collection which is still expanding so there is good reason to return, painful as it might be to spend an extended time in Vaduz (unless you happen to be an ‘outdoorsy’ type with a passion for beer and potatoes). It is a good place to see for a weekend, or if passing through.