Helvetia Insurance and Kunstmuseum Basel are starting a joint digitalization project. The aim is to make key items forming part of the Kupferstichkabinett available online as each one is digitalized. Digitalization will simplify the management of the works and their maintenance, as well as providing new exhibition and publication opportunities for Kunstmuseum Basel. The collections will thus become available to a wider public, researchers and future generations. "With this digitalization project, Helvetia is not only helping to make the works of renowned artists more accessible and available to all, but also making a contribution to Basel, a city to which our company feels deeply committed", says Philipp Gmür, CEO of Helvetia.
Digitalizing drawings from the Amerbach collection
The Kupferstichkabinett, containing some 300,000 drawings, watercolours, prints and photographs, is one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world. The holdings of the Amerbach collection form a key part of the Kupferstichkabinett. For the digitalization project, 3,000 drawings including works from the Amerbach collection and 15th to 17th century works by European Old Masters acquired from other sources have been chosen. Some of these works are already very well researched, but it has not been possible thus far to enter all the information into the database and the digital images, where available, vary significantly in terms of quality. Over a period of three years the works will now be re-catalogued and digitalized. "The drawings are extremely light-sensitive and can only be displayed for brief periods. Thanks to the support of Helvetia Insurance, in the future we will be able to make these artworks available to a wide audience and to researchers", says Anita Haldemann, Head of the Kupferstichkabinett at Kunstmuseum Basel.
A strong commitment to art
The digitalization project with Kunstmuseum Basel is the fourth project of this kind that Helvetia is involved in, alongside projects with the Kirchner Museum in Davos, Kunstmuseum Luzern and Kunstmuseum Bern. When all the projects have finished, they will have created a virtual exhibition of the digitalized works. The digitalization projects follow on from a number of restoration and conservation projects which Helvetia and prior to that Nationale Suisse have carried out, for example with the Fondation Beyeler and the Kunsthaus Zürich.
All of the above are aspects of Helvetia's wide-ranging commitment to art. Helvetia, itself an art insurer, has a collection of contemporary Swiss art which is considered to be among the most important corporate collections. The Helvetia Art Foyer in Basel, the company's own exhibition space which is open to the public, holds around four solo or themed exhibitions each year, also featuring works from its own collection. Finally, Helvetia awards the Art Prize each year which helps support young artists as they begin their careers.
Employees at Kunstmuseum Basel inspect works of the Kupferstichkabinett before they are digitalized. Photo: Julian Salinas
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