In the middle of Europe’s densest museum landscape, the Department of Art History imparts an education that is emphatically close to art. In the broad spectrum of Basel’s collections, students can find diverse opportunities to orient themselves practically in the world of artworks and to test approaches. The art convention Art Basel, the experimental projects of the Kunsthalle Basel, and the rich exhibition activities of all the museums and galleries offer authentic contact with internationally renowned and influential works, artists, trends, and events. Regular long and short excursions to the centers of European art enrich students’ integration into the art world. The Department of Art History is located in an annex of the Kunstmuseums Basel and shares an art library with it. This discipline-specific library is the largest of its kind in Switzerland.
The important collections of the Kunstmuseums (the oldest public art collection in the world), of the Basel Historical Museum with its holdings from the Middle Ages and early modernity, of the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart , the Fondation Beyeler, the Museum Tinguely, the Antikenmuseum, the Swiss Architecture Museum, the photo collection of the Fondation Herzog, the Haus der elektronischen Künste, and many others offer a rich viewing terrain for training, education, and research.
The Department of Art History is particularly closely connected to the renowned Schaulager, which has developed an entirely new kind of collecting, exhibiting, and investigating contemporary and modern art. Two professorships (the Laurenz Professor of Contemporary Art and the Schaulager Professor of the Theory of Art), created by the Laurenz Foundation specifically for this purpose, build bridges and practice new forms of instruction that transform the experiential place of the museum into a place of teaching and learning.