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Villa Abegg – The Founders’ Private Home is Now a Museum Season Opening 28 April 2019

When the Abegg-Stiftung was founded in 1961, Werner and Margaret Abegg already had plans to open their home to the public at some future date. In both period and theme, the Villa Abegg was intended to complement and augment the institute’s collections. Architecturally, the villa completed in the late 1960s follows the North Italian Baroque, as represented by the school of Filippo Juvara (1678 – 1736). The formal gardens and fountains belong to a similar tradition. The reception rooms on the ground floor are appointed with historical wall panelling, chandeliers and furniture, and decorated with paintings, sculpture and tableware. The Villa Abegg nevertheless retains the character of an inhabited home that visitors may visit, rather like invited guests, in small groups only. Every year, these guided tours of the villa single out a different work of art or group of objects for attention.

The whole world in little pictures Hunting scenes, chinoiseries, animals, pastoral idylls or naval battles adorn several sumptuous pieces of eighteenth-century furniture in the Villa Abegg. These picturesque decorations were made in lacca povera technique: cuttings from engravings of individual figures and scenes were coloured, glued to the furniture and finally varnished.

Rococo in Riggisberg This charming mirror cabinet gleams and sparkles beautifully. Not only are the walls clad with Rococo gilded wood panelling with inlaid mirrors, but the chandelier with its rock crystal drops makes for countless reflections of light.

A whiff of China – export art from the Far East The walls of the small dining room are papered with a painted wallpaper brought to Europe from China by one of the East India Companies in the eighteenth century. Also on show are various Chinese porcelain exports belonging to the villa’s own collection of tableware.