Share this Collection
1 Citation in this Annotation:
Lukas Nussbaumer on Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest
15 January, 2024
From accepted and unaccepted donations
Opposite the Kunsthaus on Heimplatz is the Schauspielhaus Zurich: Pfauen. During the National Socialist era, it was the only free theatre stage in the German-speaking world. This made it a centre for German and Austrian actors who emigrated from their home countries, and thus it was also a centre of resistance against National Socialist ideology. Emil Bührle, who made a fortune selling weapons to the Third Reich and whose art collection is once again the focus of critical debate today, wanted to donate a considerable sum of money to this very theatre in the midst of the Second World War.
Why did he want to do this? Was he aware of his guilt and wanted to redeem himself with this donation? Or was he simply an art lover interested in supporting this art centre, just as he did with other institutions such as the Kunsthaus? We will probably never know. What we do know, however, is that the donation was rejected by the Schauspielhaus and never materialized. This is in stark contrast to the Kunsthaus, whose first extension (Moser-Bau) was financed entirely by Emil Bührle and whose art collection is still on display in the Kunsthaus today.