A World-class Collection
COLOUR IN ART offered a rare chance to experience one of the world's finest, private collections of modern art. The works by Matisse, Van Gogh, Nolde and Kandinsky that were on view at Louisiana – along with some of the museum's own works – belong to the Merzbacher Collection which until a decade ago was a well-kept secret.
‘The best collections come from within you’, says the Swiss businessman Werner Merzbacher. In the four decades during which he and his wife Gabrielle Merzbacher have built their impressive collection, he has earned the reputation of rarely letting anything stand in his way when it came to acquiring a work that appealed to him. ‘Sometimes he would see a work and tell us he couldn’t sleep, he just kept thinking about it’, a friend of his recalls.
Werner Merzbacher was born in Germany in 1928. His father was a doctor, and after Kristallnacht (1938) the Jewish family sent their son with a children’s transport to Switzerland. There, unlike the parents, he survived the war.
As a collector, Merzbacher is especially attracted by the energy and dynamics of colour, and he started by acquiring works by the Impressionists and later by the Fauves, principally Matisse, and Die Brücke artists.