The Foundation’s provenance research
Kunsthaus Zürich 2010
The Foundation has been progressively researching the provenance of all the works in the collection since 2002, building on preparatory work dating back as far as 1948, when Emil Bührle appointed the first private secretary for his collection and tasked him with documenting all the obtainable information on the works he purchased. This information was made public for the first time in the exhibition catalogue of the collection published by the Kunsthaus in 1958 when the gallery endowed by Bührle was inaugurated.

The Foundation owes an extensive archive to the diligence of the curators working for Emil Bührle. This archive was retrieved and catalogued to form the basis for subsequent research. Work to compare the available information with more recent research has been under way since 2002; with the assistance of internationally renowned provenance researcher Laurie A. Stein (Chicago/Berlin) it has been transferred to a system that not only records every known change of a work’s ownership but also discloses the source of the information concerned. The results of this research were revealed to the public in 2010, when an exhibition of the Bührle Collection at the Kunsthaus Zürich examined issues of provenance using original documents from the Foundation’s archive.

Since then, the provenances of all the works held by the Foundation have been available for consultation at all times on the Foundation’s website. The information is updated regularly, especially when the Foundation obtains access to documents from other archives that add new detail to the provenance history. The archive documents that form the basis for the provenance reports published on the Foundation’s website have now been digitised and are to be made available to researchers in the reading room of the Kunsthaus library.