Collection
Museum Tinguely

Collection of Museum Tinguely

Works and work groups belonging to all phases of Jean Tinguely’s career are to be found in the museum's collection. Along with selected temporary loans, they afford the visitor an extensive view of the artist’s career. Apart from sculptures, the collection furthermore comprises a large number of drawings and letter-drawings, documents, exhibition posters, catalogues and documentation such as photographs. In the measure of the possible all the exhibits are accessible to the public and regularly shown, be it in the permanent collection or as loans to exhibitions worldwide.

The museum’s collections are the result of a generous donation by the artist’s widow, Niki de Saint Phalle, made on the occasion of its foundation, a donation of works from the Roche collection, as well as several other gifts and acquisitions.

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Jean Tinguely


Heureka

1964

Material / technique: Pencil and black felt-tip pen on slightly faded paper (left margin perforated)
Size: 32.2 x 39.7 cm
Inv.Number: 3979
Creditline: Museum Tinguely, Basel, Schenkung Galerie Ziegler, Zürich

After his happenings with self-destructing constructions such as “Homage to New York“ (1960), “End of the World No 1“ (1961) and “No 2“ (1962), as well as the “Balubas” (1961–63), which shake in chaotic and convulsive movements and have an extremely fragile look, Jean Tinguely created a more durable and stable large sculpture in 1963/64 that he dubbed “Heureka”. Created especially for the Expo 64 Swiss National Exhibition in Lausanne, the sculpture was painted all over in a matte black colour. From then on, Tinguely paid particular attention to the durability of his machines: he now used electric welding torches and ball bearings, along with machine parts that could be replaced if needed. “I have to work very hard to insist on their uselessness … That is exactly what they must be, irrelevant, useless, utterly pointless. I have to work almost to the same standard as the guys who make machine tools – from the technical standpoint. My mechanics, my ball bearings must be good.” (Jean Tinguely in an interview with Alain Jouffroy, 1966)