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Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne | © Sandro Senn / WikiCommons
Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne | © Sandro Senn / WikiCommons

The Best Art Galleries in Switzerland

Picture of Sean Mowbray
Updated: 15 May 2017

No matter what form or artwork you are interested in, across Switzerland there are several world renowned art galleries to match your taste. From classic artworks to up and coming contemporary artists, discover what some of the best art galleries in the country have to offer.

Musée de l’Elysée

One of Europe’s first museums dedicated to the preservation of photographic art, the Musée de l’Elysée holds over one million photos by Swiss photographers and many others from around the world. The Museum’s collection starts in the 19th century and includes contemporary work, with the variety of work on show ranging from photojournalism to fashion photography and even pictures take by amateurs. A particular gem is a collection of photos spanning the entire career of Charlie Chaplin while the museum building, an 18th-century villa overlooking Lake Geneva, is definitely worth snapping a photo of.

Musée de l’Elysée, Avenue de l’Elysée 18, Lausanne, +41 21 316 99 11

Zentrum Paul Klee

Dedicated to Bern’s Paul Klee, who is regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, this museum holds 40 percent of the work he completed during his lifetime, which amounts to around 4000 paintings. Around 120-150 paintings are shown at any given time, with the paintings and the themes changing regularly. The undulating museum building is a curious work of art in itself and was built by Italian architect Renzo Piano to mimic the surrounding hilly terrain. The current exhibition, run jointly with the Kunstmuseum Bern, is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and how it impacted Russian art.

Zentrum Paul Klee, Monument im Fruchtland 3, Bern

Kunstmuseum Bern

The Kunstmuseum in Bern Switzerland’s oldest fine art museum with a permanent collection. It houses artwork from the Middle Ages to the present day and is home to pieces by Swiss artists from the 15th century onwards. Works by Botticelli, Manet, Picasso, van Gogh and Wassmer can be viewed alongside over 3,000 paintings and sculptures by other artists.

Kunstmuseum Bern, Hodlerstrasse 8, Bern, +44 031 328 09 44

Mamco, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain

Mamco is Switzerland’s largest contemporary art gallery and is located in an old factory. Tucked away behind the city’s Plainpalais square, where a number of smaller art galleries can be found, you’ll need to dedicate at least two or three hours to get the most out of this gallery, as it covers four floors. You can also take advantage of the guided tours (available in English). One of the most striking pieces you’ll see is a bomb timer ticking away on the main staircase, counting down the time until the sun pops off and takes us, or our descendants at least, along with it.

Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, 10, rue des Vieux-Grenadiers, Genève, +41 22 320 61 22

Art Basel

For three days every year, Basel hosts artwork from the best art galleries in the world, including work from emerging artists. This is an annual fair that brings with it the best contemporary artwork on show from 300 or so art galleries across the world. Around 90,000 art fans, gallery directors, curators and artists gather in Basel at what has been described as the ‘Mecca of the art world’, and the most beautiful temporary museum in the world. For more information, visit Art Basel.