The collection compiled by Oskar Reinhart (1885-1965) at his villa ‘Am Römerholz’ in Winterthur centers on French nineteenth-century art, but the whole is rounded out by reverential nods towards the Old Masters. Reinhart’s collection was motivated not by historical interests, but by aesthetic preferences. The presentation of the collection inevitably still reflects his views on art. Thus, the permanent exhibition offers a harmonious selection of European masterpieces gathered together according to purely aesthetic criteria. Among the outstanding works of the collection are various examples of northern Renaissance painting such as works by Gerard David, Quentin Massys and Pieter Huys, which occupy a significant place in the history of art. That is particularly true of The Adoration of the Kings in the Snow from 1563 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the first panel painting depicting falling snowflakes in European art history. Some 70 years earlier, a follower of Geertgen tot Sint Jans who also painted The Adoration of the Kings set his subject in everyday surroundings full of detail. Aert van der Neer followed Bruegel’s footsteps by presenting an atmospheric winter scenery in his Winter Landscape with Skaters and Kolf-players from 1651, while Philips Koninck’s Landscape with River and Hillside Town, dated the same year, truly represents the culmination of the Dutch tradition of broad, grand landscapes. Works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens, and Arent de Gelder round out the exceptional collection of Northern European masterpieces.
Katja Baumhoff, Vice-director (June 2020)