Logo Kunstmuseum Winterthur

Kunstmuseum Winterthur:

The library

A room for books – and pictures!

Originally, this part of the building, which now houses the library, was connected to the original residential building via a corridor. When the newly married Hahnloser couple moved in, they set up the opthalmic clinic, run by Arthur Hahnloser, on this and the upper floor. The young Hedy Hahnloser, who was still training as a painter when she moved in, actively helped out in the clinic – even though she couldn't stand the sight of blood at first.
Bibliothek 2

The library with two large-format works by Félix Vallotton: Le repos des modèles (1905) and the portrait of Hans and Lisa Hahnloser (1912)

When the clinic was moved to the newly opened private hospital 'Am Lindberg' in 1907, it was a great relief for the Hahnlosers to have the exhausting work separated from their home. However, the room remained a place to work and create: Hedy set up a workshop here where she could realise her handicraft ideas. Together with her cousin, Richard Bühler, she developed a lively creative activity here, in which she explored the latest trends in arts and crafts, design and interior design.

After the Hahnlosers converted the former corridor into a salon in 1908, the two parts of the building were now comfortably connected. Other rooms were gradually remodeled, including this room, which is still called the library today. Perhaps you miss the open shelves typical of libraries? The Hahnlosers kept their books in cabinets.
Like most of the Villa Flora, the room was designed by her friend Robert Rittmeyer. Hedy Hahnloser created the designs for the wallpaper and the lamp in close collaboration with her cousin and friend Richard Bühler. The geometric shapes and right angles testify to a modern approach to design: no flourishes, no false opulence and playful imitation of older styles, as was still common in Switzerland at the time. Diagonals and squares, straight lines and simple shapes characterise the furniture, which enters into a beautiful dialogue with the patterns of the wallpaper.

Hedy Hahnloser posed here for the famous photographer Willy Maywald in the library

Foto: Willy Maywald

The Hahnloser couple owned an extensive collection of literature with a focus on art books. Hedy and Arthur enjoyed reading French novels, owned complete editions of Flaubert and Balzac and were subscribers to the magazines Das Werk and Revue blanche, which were among the leading authorities on contemporary design and post-impressionist art.


Hedy Hahnloser was an active writer herself. She wrote numerous articles on art and painting, which were published in magazines and daily newspapers. She gave lectures, published in specialist journals and wrote the catalogue raisonné of her good friend Félix Vallotton.