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


Hippopotamus

1991

Material / technique: Tar barrel on wheels, scrap iron, motorcycle parts, hoses, hippopotamus skull
Size: 200 x 310 x 200 cm
Inv.Number: 11391
Catalog: Bischofberger 1003

Tinguely built one of his last sculptures in 1991, using a tar barrel as base. He called it “Hippopotamus” because of the skull that dominates the work, at once a memento mori and a comical touch. Through the placement of the skull, the vehicle becomes a representation of the animal, which in identical repeated movements opens and closes its jaws. The absurdity of the strange and gigantic hood ornament is also a symbol of helplessness and perplexity at the apparition of death.