The Im Obersteg Foundation
The Im Obersteg Foundation was founded on 26 August 1992 by Doris Im Obersteg-Lerch, the widow of Jürg Im Obersteg. The aim of the foundation is to preserve the Im Obersteg Collection intact and make it accessible to the public through exhibitions and publications. The foundation’s property – the art collection’s more than 200 important works on classical modernism assembled by Karl and Jürg Im Obersteg – had been exhibited during the summer months of 1995 to 2002 at the renovated Wichterheer-Gut in Oberhofen on the Lake of Thun. The choice of Oberhofen as a locality was linked to the fact that Boltigen im Simmental was the hometown of the Im Obersteg family in the Bernese Oberland. After seven years of summer exhibitions in Oberhofen, different reasons (climatic difficulties, lack of support from the surrounding communities, ever rising costs for the foundation) forced the board of directors to look elsewhere for a new residence for the collection.
At the beginning of June 2002, the foundation board chaired by Doris Im Obersteg-Lerch decided that the Im Obersteg collection would be housed at the Kunstmuseum Basel, a museum with which Karl and Jürg Im Obersteg had been amiably associated. In December 2002, representatives from the Im Obersteg Foundation board and the Kunstmuseum Basel signed an agreement setting up all the contractual terms of their future collaboration. In January 2004, the foundation moved its headquarters to Basel and gave over its collection to the Kunstmuseum Basel where, ever since, 45 major works have been integrated into the museum’s collection presentation and exhibited.
For the academic management of its collection, the foundation has financed a curator’s post. This ensures that the collection is accessible to the public through exhibitions and catalogues. Over the years, three complete exhibitions of the Im Obersteg Collection have been held at the Kunstmuseum Basel. The collection also travelled abroad, where it was showed at the Kunstforum Vienna (2003), at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia Madrid (2015) as well as at the Phillips Collection Washington (2015/16). Exhibitions have also been held in Switzerland.
The Foundation Board
Dr. Matthias Hagemann (president)
Dr. Ruth Ludwig-Hagemann (vice-president)
Dr. Hans Furer (secretary)
Dr. Josef Helfenstein
Henriette Mentha (curator)
Doris Im Obersteg-Lerch died at the age of 84 years.
Obituary by Matthias Hagemann