From the museum website, 4 November 2013
Success in collecting art depends on both the vagaries of the art market and the financial situation of the collector. But an even more important contributing factor in collecting art is the art of collecting, which is a question of talent and taste. One collector capable of combining the favourable opportunities of the market with a keen eye for talent was Robert Landolt (1913-2008), who worked as a paediatrician in Chur and spent much of his scarce free time studying and acquiring drawings. To mark the centenary of his birth, the Graphische Sammlung ETH is holding an exhibition of 80 works from his collection of drawings, now in private hands.
Robert Landolt built up his important collection from 1945 onwards, with a keen eye for quality. Today, these outstanding works provide an insight into the intimate world of the sketches and designs of the Old Masters. The rocky landscape penned by the hand of the Florentine monk Fra Bartolommeo, for example, appears remarkably modern some 500 years after it was created by this contemporary of Raphael.
From Bolognese artists such as Domenichino and Agostino Carracci to Lombard artists such as Morazzone and Tanzio da Varallo – each and every one of these works shows the crucial role of hand drawing in the process of artistic composition.
Robert Landolt‘s interests as a collector were wide-ranging, both geographically and across the epochs. Northern European schools are also prominently represented – notably by Hendrick Van Cleve‘s Roman ruins, the mythological world of Hendrick Goltzius and the landscapes of Adriaen van Ostade and Jan van Goyen. A technique especially associated with Switzerland, on the other hand, is the Scheibenriss – designs for stained glass windows in public or private buildings – of which the exhibition includes some fine sixteenth century examples. Specialists in the craft of the Scheibenriss included Hans Funk, who was born in Zurich and worked for many years in Berne, and Daniel Lindtmayer of Schaffhausen.
A collection built up with such devotion is truly a feast for the eyes. The exhibition at the Graphische Sammlung ETH offers visitors a chance to look over the Old Masters‘ shoulders, as it were, in the process of composing their works.
Zwiegespräch mit Zeichnungen. Werke des 15. Bis 18. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Robert Landolt
Edited by Michael Matile (with contributions by Simone Marco Bolzoni, Thomas Ketelsen, Peter Schatborn and others)
Petersberg (Michael Imhof Verlag) 2013
208 pp. and numerous b/w and color photographs