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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Eva Aeppli


Die fünf Witwen (The Five Widows)

As an installation by Jean Tinguely, part of Lotus 25/33 R6
c. 1972

Material / technique: Fabric (silk, cotton), kapok filling
Size: H c. 120 cm
Inv.Number: 11231
Creditline: Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle

For years, this group of five grieving widows completely draped in black stood in Jean Tinguely’s bedroom alongside a Formula 1 Lotus. He probably created the arrangement in 1972, the year after his friend Jo Siffert, from whom he had purchased the race car, had died in a crash. Siffert himself never drove this car, but Jim Clark did, whose favourite Lotus in this series, the most successful in Formula 1 history, was the R6. For Jean Tinguely The Five Widows constituted a constant reminder of death, a much more serious problem for the racing world of the 1960s and 70s than it is today. Eva Aeppli made her five widows not only for Lotus; the allusion they make to death and mourning is much broader and more generalised. Indeed, her preoccupation with final days is a thread running through her entire oeuvre.