Rietberg Museum

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The Wesendonck Villa, the main building of the Rietberg Museum

The Rietberg Museum is a museum in Zürich, Switzerland, displaying Asian, African, American and Oceanian art. It is the only art museum of non-European cultures in Switzerland, the third-largest museum in Zürich, and the largest to be run by the city itself. In 2007 it received approximately 157,000 visitors.

Location and buildings[edit]

The Rietberg Museum is situated in the 17-acre (69,000 m2) Rieterpark in central Zürich, and consists of several historic buildings: the Wesendonck Villa, the Remise (or "Depot"), the Rieter Park-Villa, and the Schönberg Villa. In 2007 a new building designed by Alfred Grazioli and Adolf Krischanitz was opened – the addition of this largely subterranean building, known as "Smaragd", more than doubled the museum's exhibition space.[1][2][3]

The Rieterpark is located near Zürich Enge railway station, and can also be reached by tram line #7 and bus line #33.


In the early 1940s the city of Zürich purchased the Rieterpark and the Wesendonck Villa. In 1949 the Wesendonck Villa was selected, by referendum, to be rebuilt into a museum for the Baron Eduard von der Heydt's art collection, which he had donated to the city in 1945.[3] This was carried out in 1951-52 under the architect Alfred Gradmann. The Rietberg Museum was opened on 24 May 1952. Until 1956 the director was Johannes Itten, the Swiss expressionist painter.

In 1976 the city acquired the Schönberg Villa, which had been threatened with demolition, and opened it in 1978 as an extension of the museum. Today the Villa is also home to an extensive non-lending library administrated by the museum.

Organisation and funding[edit]

The Rietberg Museum is operated by the presidential department of the city of Zürich. In 2007 it employed around 100 people. About half of the funding comes from the city, while the other half is raised through revenue, sponsoring[4] and charity. Additions to the collection come mostly from donations.

Publishing activities[edit]

The museum established an in-house press shortly after its founding in 1952. Initially it published catalogues of the museum's Asian and African artworks, as well as occasional short monographs. The museum's publishing activity has increased since 1985, in connection with the large special exhibitions that it has organised since then, and it now publishes four to six new titles per year.[5][6]
Since 1991, the museum also publishes Artibus Asiae, a biannual scholarly journal on the arts and archaeology of Asia.



  1. ^ Museum Rietberg. Die Erweiterung Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. City of Zürich. (in German)
  2. ^ Erweiterung Museum Rietberg in Zürich/CH BauNetz. (in German)
  3. ^ a b Museum Rietberg in Zürich Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine. Hubertus Adam, Bauwelt 17, 2007. (in German)
  4. ^ Sponsoring[permanent dead link] City of Zürich. (in German)
  5. ^ Verlag Museum Rietberg[permanent dead link] City of Zürich. (in German)
  6. ^ List of publications by the Rietberg Museum's press Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek. (in German)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°21′32″N 8°31′49″E / 47.3589°N 8.5304°E / 47.3589; 8.5304