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Architecture

The enormous admiration and appreciation that Giovanni Segantini and his art enjoyed in many parts of Europe manifested itself among other things in the construction of a museum in his name. The Segantini Museum was opened in St. Moritz in 1908, nine years after the artist’s death. The driving force behind the idea was St. Moritz physician, Oscar Bernhard, a friend and patron of Segantini.

The imposing central part of the building positioned on the steep mountainside overlooking Lake St. Moritz points eastwards towards the Schafberg, where Segantini died. The architectural design by the architect, Nicolaus Hartmann (1880–1956), was based on the monumental pavilion that Segantini had designed to house his Engadin Panorama at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. The building with its mighty dome looks like a mausoleum, an impressive, accessible memorial. 

 

In 1947, Hartmann drew up various projects to extend the Museum, which however were not realised. It was not until 1981 that the museum was further extended, when a narrow, semi-circular exhibition room was built at the rear of the building.

Museum is extended in 1999

To mark the centenary of Segantini’s death, in 1998/99 the Museum was completely renovated and further extended by the architect, Hans-Jörg Ruch. Besides installing state-of-the-art technical building, air-conditioning and security systems, further modifications were made to meet the needs of a modern-day museum, including securing wheelchair access, adding a lift, creating storerooms, and extending the foyer on the first floor. In the domed room, the pictures making up the Alpine Tryptich were not only rehung, but presented in front of a wall covered with umbra-coloured jute fabric, emulating the original colour. The completely redesigned, semi-circular exhibition room at the rear of the building was equipped with overhead lighting throughout, thus providing optimal conditions for presenting the works of art.