Logo Kunstmuseum Winterthur

Kunstmuseum Winterthur:

The gallery

Oberlichtsaal Farbig

The gallery in a photograph from 2014

Foto: S. Heeb, Schweizer Heimatschutz

The skylight room was the last major extension to the Villa Flora under the Hahnloser couple. The room is located above the salon, which once connected the villa and its neoclassical extension as a simple corridor. At that time, there was no room in this location, but a terrace, which was later covered over. Old plans and drawings show that the Hahnlosers had long fancied the idea of an extension at this location, including a library. Concrete plans were drawn up from 1924 on. As with the other renovations, it was the architect Robert Rittmeyer whose office was in charge of the construction management and, as usual, it was Hedy Hahnloser who took care of the interior design. The wallpaper is still the original one from that time. It has been restored carefully and, together with the built-in furniture and the glass ceiling, it creates an authentic impression.

Oberlichtsaal 2

The skylight room in a historical photograph with works primarily by Félix Vallotton

The Hahnloser couple and Rittmeyer decided to build a spacious hall with a skylight, i.e. with natural light coming in from above. This type of lighting is particularly suitable for the presentation of works of art. For this reason, this type of roof structure is normally found only in museums and not in private homes. Rittmeyer was able to draw on the experience he had gained from building the art museum in Winterthur a few years earlier, as he had also built such skylights there. Hedy and Arthur Hahnloser therefore designed this room entirely around their works of art. It is basically a small museum room in a residential building.


Hedy Hahnloser looking at graphic works. Paintings by Bonnard in the background

Photo: Willy Maywald

This makes the gallery the culmination of the architectural embodiment of Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser's passion for collecting. Over the years, their love and passion for art grew, taking up more and more space in their lives and their home. While the couple had initially bought, and sometimes ordered, individual pictures for specific walls, this changed over time: the works of art now demanded suitable exhibition spaces, and they built one for them with this room. Everything here serves the presentation of art, not only the lighting, but also the walls – there is not a single window – and also the furniture, which was intended to hold as many print portfolios as possible and provide space on which to place small sculptures and fresh flowers, as well as the walls behind them on which the paintings were hung.

With the skylight hall in the centre, the villa grew together to form a whole and was given its final destination. Its transformation from a residential building with room art to a collector's home with art rooms was complete.