Miriam Cahn plans to remove works from the Zurich Art Museum on the Bührle collection


Miriam Cahn’s comments come after a museum and Bührle Foundation press conference last week to address some of the criticism over the decision to exhibit the controversial collection. Keystone / Christian Charisius

Internationally renowned Swiss artist Miriam Cahn has said she wants to remove all of her works on display at the Zurich Art Museum in response to outcry over the Bührle collection. The paintings in the collection are believed to be linked to art looted by the Nazis.

This content was published on December 22, 2021 – 11:46

Keystone-SDA / jdp

“I don’t want to be represented in ‘this’ art museum in Zurich anymore,” Cahn said in a letter to the Jewish weekly Tachles.External link, published Wednesday and obtained by the media agency Keystone-SDA. “I want to remove all my works from the Zurich Art Museum. I will buy them back at the original retail price,” said the 72-year-old artist, who is Jewish.

She denounced the museum for its “historical blindness” and criticized the “opaque mixture” between the museum, the city and various other parties which she said led to the “stupid loan contract” of the Bührle collection.

The inclusion of around 200 works from the Bührle CollectionExternal link in the museum’s new extension, which opened this fall, has sparked controversy over its origins. Wealthy industrialist Emil Georg Bührle, who died in 1956, earned much of his fortune from selling arms to Germany during and after World War II. His fortune allowed him to build an art collection which he bequeathed to the foundation.

The Bührle Foundation claims that none of the works on display were looted from Jews, but the museum’s decision to display works from the foundation is still seen as an affront to the victims of the Holocaust. Following calls from local officials, the museum announced that it would set up an independent commission to investigate the provenance of the works.

Born in Basel, Cahn’s paintings can be found in many museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Museum in London.


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