The exhibition focuses primarily on nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, with significant incursions into the previous centuries, documenting the production of some of Switzerland's greatest artists. The exhibition begins with Giovanni Serodine's La Vergine dei Mercedari (The Virgin of the Mercedari, 1620-1625, Pinacoteca Cantonale Giovanni Züst), continuing with important eighteenth-century works by Liotard, Petrini, Wolf, Füssli and Sablet and nineteenth-century works by Calame, Zünd, Koller, Anker and Buchser. Arnold Böcklin is represented by his masterpiece, Die Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead, 1880, Kunstmuseum Basel), a famous example of the painter’s evocative work. Ferdinand Hodler is represented primarily by his monumental Der Auserwählte (The Chosen One, 1893-94, Kunstmuseum Bern), in which the artist pursues his characteristic compositional principle based on symmetry. On this truly extraordinary occasion, Giovanni Segantini’s majestic triptych La Natura, La Vita, La Morte (Life, Nature and Death, 1896-1899, Segantini Museum), preserved in St. Moritz, is exhibited south of the Alps for the first time since 1899. Finally, the exhibition enters the twentieth century with Meyer-Amden and Auberjonois – among the first contemporary artists to be included in the Gottfried Keller collection – Amiet, Vallotton, Itten, Giovanni and Alberto Giacometti. The sculptor’s magnificent Busto di Annette (Bust of Annette, 1964, Musée d’art et d'histoire de Genève) is displayed in the exhibition.
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