von Bartha, Basel
Tuesday to Friday 2-6pm
or by appointment
von Bartha, S-chanf
Miklos von Bartha
Margareta von Bartha
Stefan von Bartha
The most recent house of von Bartha was opened in 2008. Most of the gallery’s activities take place here. The gallery was built into a former car repair shop. Over 700 sqm of exhibition space accommodate up to five contemporary exhibitions a year. In addition, the gallery hosts eight to ten events for selected projects a year. It can be visited during opening hours or on request.
Von Bartha, S-chanf is located in the barn of an old patrician house in S-chanf. Opened in 2006, the White Cube in the midst of the Engadine Alps is a space at the disposal of the selected artists. Two to three times a year, an artist gets the opportunity to intervene there. The entire exhibition is organized by the artist. On request, the neighboring patrician house can be visited to see the exhibition of works from the gallery’s past program.
Founded in 1970 by Margareta and Miklos von Bartha, the gallery has specialised in Constructivist and Concrete art from the beginning. Margareta and Miklos both graduated from the class of eminent graphic designer Armin Hofmann at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, instilling a fervent interest and passion for abstract art.
In the gallery’s early years, Margareta and Miklos von Bartha staged solo exhibitions of young artists as well as important thematic exhibitions, including Ungarische Avantgarde in 1976 – a seminal exhibition which eventually led to the artists’ international breakthrough. Prior to this show, László Moholy-Nagy was the only Hungarian artist recognized on an international level. Neither Lajos Kassák – then central figure of the avant-garde in Budapest and publisher of the magazine MA – nor his companion, Sándor Bortnyik were known to Western art audiences. Similarly, László Peri, who invented the idea of the “shaped canvas” 40 years before Frank Stella, János Mattis-Teutsch, Joseph Csáky and Lajos d’ Ebneth, were also unheard of. However, this was soon to change.
Von Bartha placed two of the Hungarian avant-garde’s most significant portfolios into the ‘Cabinet des Estampes’ in Geneva; these were Bortnyik’s ‘MA’ folder from 1921 and Peris Sturm’s folder from 1922-23. The gallery also sold work to internationally renowned museums, including the Dallas Art Museum and the Musée de Grenoble.
In the following years, thematic exhibitions took place including Horizontal-Vertikal (1977) and Diagonale und Kreis (1979), amongst others. The gallery particularly focused on artists from the Op Art and Kinetic art movements, including Gerhard von Graevenitz, Victor Vasarely, Pol Bury, Jesús Rafael Soto and François Morellet.
In the early 80s, von Bartha organised multiple exhibitions with the Swedish Constructivists, such as Olle Baertling and Eric H. Olson.
From 1987-89, Margareta and Miklos von Bartha acquired over 150 works of Argentinian artists from the Arte Concreto and Madí movements in Buenos Aires. They published a catalogue, which is still considered the standard reference work for this art movement. Today, these paintings, sculptures and works on paper are in major private collections and museums, such as eight of the works donated by Patricia Phelps de Cisneros to MoMA, New York in 2017, including those by Alfredo Hlito, Raúl Lozza, Tomás Maldonado, Juan Melé, Gregorio Vardanega and Virgillo Villalba.
Over the decades, von Bartha has earned an international reputation of presenting important German constructivists, including Walter Dexel, Erich Buchholz or Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart; artists of the De Stijl movement, including Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg; and those working in Concrete art, including Georges Vantongerloo, Max Bill, Verena Loewensberg, Richard Paul Lohse and in particular Camille Graeser, whose foundation – as well as Adolf Luther’s – von Bartha represents exclusively.
For many years, the gallery has exhibited in art fairs across the globe. As a former employee of Art Basel’s co-founder Carl Laszlo, Miklos von Bartha has witnessed the establishment and growth of this global art fair. The gallery has been taking part as an exhibitor since 1978.
From 2008, von Bartha has been under the second generation-direction of Stefan von Bartha. The formerly two-man business – located on Schützenmattstrasse in Basel – has developed into a company of three family members and six employees.
The gallery’s relocation and expansion to a converted garage at Kannenfeldplatz has allowed for large-scale installations, performances and retrospectives. In 2006 von Bartha opened a second space, located in S-chanf in the Engadin Alps; the white cube space, on the site of the former barn of an old patrician house, is used for focused projects and site-specific installations.
To date, von Bartha continues to support the careers of influential artists, such as Camille Graeser and Olle Baertling. Building on its foundation, the gallery has established a contemporary program and represents an international roster of artists, working across a diverse range of media: Imi Knoebel, Superflex, Terry Haggerty, John Wood & Paul Harrison, Felipe Mujica, Sarah Oppenheimer and Landon Metz. Whilst nurturing new generations of artists, the gallery supports the continually evolving practice of their established artists.