ALFRED BAUR (1865-1951)

Pioneer and collector

5 March 2015 - 28 June 2015


To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Baur (1865–1951), the Baur Foundation, Museum of Far Eastern Art, pays tribute to its founder with an exhibition that celebrates his work as a pioneer in Ceylon and his activities as a collector of Asian arts in Geneva. Reflecting aspects of both progressiveness and unchanging convention, the history of Alfred Baur mirrors the triumphant epoch of a generation of Swiss pioneers who left for the four corners of the world in search of adventure and fortune. A selection of the furnishings in his home, books from his library and objects from his collection taken for the occasion from the museum reserves and archives together invite visitors on a journey through time and to enter into the private life of this exceptional individual and his wife Eugénie. The first part of the exhibition is dedicated to the pioneer who left for Colombo in 1884 at the age of nineteen. Books recall ancient Ceylon while photographs, plans and maps tell the story of the coconut plantation and fertilizer factory created by the young entrepreneur at the end of the nineteenth century. The second room introduces the public to the Baurs’ family room where the collector’s “chinoiseries” are displayed. Visitors are then welcomed by Eugénie Baur into her personal cabinet, before rediscovering Alfred Baur, this time as businessman and connoisseur, in the last gallery where his tea plantations, “Japoneries” and art books are presented. As a corollary of the exhibition, a number of photographs on the first floor show Ceylon as it was, the coconut plantation in Palugaswewa and the factory and offices of A. Baur & Co. Ltd. in Colombo.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an art book available in French or English and, in a limited edition, the same book presented in a lacquer box.