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The museum instigated and built by citizens of St. Moritz, friends and devotees of Segantini’s art was aimed at providing a permanent place in which to exhibit the master’s works. However, after its opening, the museum initially had to be content with only exhibiting loaned works. The first endeavours to purchase paintings of its own were undertaken in 1911, when the necessary funds to purchase the two side pictures of the Alpine Triptych were raised by means of a public subscription. Subsequently, the museum also succeeded in acquiring the middle picture from a private owner in Paris, thus finally reuniting the three original panels of this monumental painting. This achievement required considerable effort, and it was only thanks to the support and assistance of the Comitato per il Museo Segantini, the municipality and tourist office of St. Moritz, and above all the Gottfried Keller Foundation that Segantini’s main work was finally secured for the museum. Since then, the magnificent triptych, La vita – La natura – La morte (Life – Nature – Death) has been the Museum's main attraction.



The Alpine Triptych, La Vita – La Natura – La Morte (Life – Nature – Death), in the domed room of the Segantini Museum
The Alpine Triptych, La Vita – La Natura – La Morte (Life – Nature – Death), in the domed room of the Segantini Museum

Over the following years, the museum continued to purchase significant works, either on its own initiative or with the assistance of the Gottfried Keller Foundation, the Swiss Confederation, the municipality of St. Moritz or private collectors. Other paintings were acquired as gifts or loans. The collection, which in the meantime has grown to a respectable size of more than 20 paintings, is supplemented by an impressive inventory of over 18 drawings, which is unequalled in terms of both concentration and quality. 

In 2001, the portfolio of works was augmented in an exceptional and unparalleled way; the nine magnificent paintings and three drawings owned by the Otto Fischbacher/Giovanni Segantini Foundation came to St. Moritz as a permanent loan. With this outstanding ensemble of major works, including the famous Ave Maria Crossing the Lake and Midday in the Alps, the Segantini Museum is home to the most comprehensive and significant collection of works by this great master of Alpine painting in the world.