The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art would not exist without the extraordinary generosity of arts patron Andreas Bechtler. Learn how the Bechtler family made their private collection come to life. 

Hans and Bessie Bechtler by UnknownBechtler Museum of Modern Art

The origin of the Bechtler collection began with a love for the arts among one particular Swiss family. Anna Bechtler, mother of Hans and Walter, painted passionately in her free time, and instilled in her sons a deep respect and interest in the visual arts. When the two brothers went into business together after World War II, it was part of their company’s philosophy that the atmosphere of the work environment should be as pleasant as possible to ensure that workers were happy and motivated. This philosophy extended to the inclusion of art in the workplace. Pictured here is a photo of Hans Bechtler with his wife Bessie Bechtler.

Hans Bechtler and Alberto Giacometti by UnknownBechtler Museum of Modern Art

In the 1950s, the Bechtler family began to form deep and lasting relationships with artists in Europe and Hans became the chairman of the board of the Kunsthaus Zurich for many years. After acquiring property in Ancona, the Italian region of Switzerland, the Bechtler family came in contact with an artistic colony that included the artists Ben Nicholson, Julius Bisser, Italo Valenti, Emilio Stanzani, Gianfredo Camesi, Marino Marini, Jean ARP, Raffael Benazzi, and Remo Rossi. These personal contacts, in addition to the ones made in Zurich with artists such as Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, provided opportunities for the family to acquire work directly from artists and thus the Bechtler collection was born. Pictured here is Hans Bechtler (left) with Swiss Artist, Alberto Giacometti (right) in Stampa, Switzerland.

In 1965, Hans Bechtler became the first president of the Alberto Giacometti Foundation, a position he held until 1991.

Hans Bechtler and Alberto Giacometti Relationship (2020) by AVO InsightsBechtler Museum of Modern Art

Andreas Bechtler (2010) by Gary O'BrienBechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art would not exist without the extraordinary generosity of arts patron Andreas Bechtler. Inspired by his parents, Andreas Bechtler decided to make his extraordinary collection available for all to engage – whether for solace and reflection, inspiration and surprise or for challenge and self-discovery. Having grown up around artists, Andreas eventually became an artist himself in addition to being a businessman and entrepreneur.

Andreas Bechtler (2010) by Nancy PierceBechtler Museum of Modern Art

When business holdings brought Andreas to Charlotte, North Carolina he chose to make the city his permanent home and raise his family there. After inheriting a portion of his parent’s extensive collection of modern art, Andreas began to augment the collection with his own acquisitions. In 2006 he made the decision to commit the entire collection to the City of Charlotte and build the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art to house it. On January 2, 2010 the museum opened to the public.

On the experience Andreas stated, “What an incredible journey this has been. I never thought I would have an art collection for which a museum would be built, but here we are.”

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