The new Unterlinden Museum, redesigned by Swiss architects Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog, now features a modern building, connected to the convent by an underground gallery, which encompasses the former municipal baths, dating from 1906. This new wing exhibits collections of modern art by artists such as Soulages, Dubuffet, Poliakoff and others, formerly kept intermittently in the museum’s storage space. In particular, the new wing displays an impressive tapestry, almost seven metres long, made in 1976 and based on Picasso’s iconic Guernica painting. Only two other copies exist in the world, including one that embellishes the wall of the UN Security Council in New York. At the centre of the former convent’s Chapel stands a magnificent, monumental polyptych sculpted by Nikolaus
Hagenauer and painted by Matthias Grünewald between 1512 and 1516, for which the Museum is renowned: the famous Isenheim Altarpiece. It shows scenes of extraordinarily compelling dramatic intensity, absolutely exceptional for its time. The Herzog & de Meuron firm has completed a fine architectural project,
magnificently redesigning the museum and incorporating it beautifully into the urban fabric. The guiding principle was to respect the history of the medieval convent while adding on an adjoining contemporary building behind the former municipal baths. The redesign of the museum’s exhibition spaces aimed to bring consistency to the collections, by showing earlier artworks in the convent and modern art in the new wing, while managing to double the Museum’s surface area. A souvenir shop, café and events venue round out the museum nicely.
Official website – www.musee-unterlinden.com
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