“Feminist figurative artist” to pull works from “Nazi”-tainted Zurich collection

Miriam Cahn, watercolor on paper, at Kunstmuseum, Bern

“I no longer want to be represented in ‘this’ art museum in Zurich,” says Miriam Cahn, a septuagenarian Jewish artist. “I wish to remove all my works from the Zurich Art Museum. I will buy them back at the original sale price.”

The tempest appears to have arisen after Kunsthaus Zurich built a new wing to display the Bührle Collection, a mainly Impressionist trove amassed by industrialist Emil Georg Bührle.

Allegedly Bührle made his fortune selling weapons to Nazi Germany and benefited from Nazi-supplied slave labor.

Sold Materiél to British and French

However, according to the website for the Bührle Collection, Emil Bührle was a German-born manufacturer and Swiss citizen who initially supplied war materiel to the British and French armies in the Second World War, only later providing armaments to the Germans at the behest of the Swiss Government.

Emil and Charlotte Bührle visiting America in 1947.

Diversified Production

After the war, Emil Bührle’s business expanded into a diversified corporation with holdings in companies in Germany, Italy, India, Liechtenstein, and Chile. Anti-aircraft systems manufactured in Italy and Sweden by a subsidiary were deployed by NATO member states. The Pilatus aircraft factory in Stans developed a series of training aircraft for the Swiss Army.

The business  also had success with the manufacture of civilian products. Among these were braking systems, office equipment, textile machines and plastics.

According to ArtNews:

A feminist figurative artist, Cahn’s paintings are held in collections all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, among others. This is not the first time Cahn has withdrawn works in protest. In 1982, Cahn pulled her paintings from Documenta 7 because she felt she had been mistreated by Documenta’s artistic director at the time, Rudi Fuchs.


Author: Cooper Ward. . . hails from Lake Plains, IL, which he describes as "the flattest place east of Nebraska." He enjoys watching cooking shows and listening to semi-classical music.
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