Constantin Brancusi, Salvador Dalí, Walter de Maria, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Sam Francis, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Kasimir Malevitj, Claes Oldenburg, Francis Picabia, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Andy Warhol…
Pontus Hultén is one of the world’s most brilliant museum personalities of our time. He has lived his life in art and has now decided to donate his impressive collection, built up over many years, to Moderna Museet.
Pontus Hultén recently decided to donate approximately 700 works, virtually his entire private collection, to Moderna Museet. One of the wishes behind his donation, which the Museum and the Swedish Government have gladly accepted, is that any works not shown in the permanent hanging exhibition be made available to the public in a user-friendly warehouse – very much a ‘Hulténesque’ solution that gives the viewer the freedom to browse among the masterpieces in a kind of art library. The architect for this exhibition warehouse will be Pontus Hultén’s friend and former business partner Renzo Piano (whose works include the Centre Pompidou in Paris and The Menil in Houston).
In the near future, as soon as the works have arrived in Stockholm and undergone inspection and care, a number of pivotal works will be shown in the permanent exhibition, and the public warehouse at the Museum is expected to be finished in the next 2-3 years.
Pontus Hultén practically founded the Moderna Museet when he became Director in 1960. An amazed Swedish audience could soon enjoy ground-breaking exhibitions like Movement in Art, including Jean Tinguely and PO Ultvedt’s innovative sculptures and 4 Americans (1962), which revealed American pop art by Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and others to a Swedish public almost before America itself. This was followed by a string of historic exhibitions: Jackson Pollock (1963) and The Museum of our Wishes, when Hultén managed to persuade the Swedish Government to grant SEK 5 million to acquire a number of works for the collection – works that today form the nucleus of the Museum’s collection and cannot be valued in monetary terms.
The Museum was once again in the global limelight with the exhibition entitled SHE – a Cathedral, which consisted of a gigantic plump women lying down; the public could walk into her womb and enter a world of experiences. The sculptor was Niki de Saint Phalle, the year 1966. When Andy Warhol was shown at Moderna Museet in 1968 it was his first ever retrospective.
In 1974 Hultén was asked to help create a new house of culture in the heart of Paris: the Centre Pompidou. He was the successful Director there until 1981. From there he went on to start MoCA in California, the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and the Museum Jean Tinguely in Basle, for example.
Moderna Museet was reinaugurated in Stockholm in 2004 after closing for a two-year renovation. The Museum’s current Director, Lars Nittve, chose to begin this new era with a manifestation of Pontus Hultén’s collection in a major exhibition of the same name. In connection with this, a richly illustrated book on Pontus Hultén’s life in art and the artists in his collection was produced.
Lars Nittve, Director:
“To me, Pontus Hultén’s importance in the history of the Museum is absolutely pivotal. His ability to make the most of the historical moment and to be ahead of his time. The parts of the collection that came to the Museum during Hultén’s directorship are some of its central features today. Pontus Hultén’s donation entails another upgrade of the Museum’s collection, consolidating its position as one of the most prominent collections in the world. We are extremely pleased.”