Monte Verità

Monte Verità

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1869–1874


1869–1874

The Russian anarchist Michail Bakunin settles in Locarno. He lives from 1873 to 1874 at the "Baronata" in Minusio. His concept of Utopia is a society in which no one rules is over anyone else.

1885–1928


1885–1928

Antoinette de Saint-Léger, a Russian Baroness of German descent, is the owner of the Islands of Brissago. The botanical garden on the island is her earthly paradise.

1889


1889

Alfredo Pioda, a member of the Swiss Parliament and theosophist from Locarno, plans the foundation of a theosophical cloister called "Fraternitas" on Monescia, which is what Monte Verità was called at that time, together with Franz Hartmann and Countess Constance Wachtmeister.

1900—1920


1900—1920

The champions of an alternative to Capitalism and Communism propose a new way of life and found a cooperative based initially on primitive socialism and subsequently on individualistic vegetarian principles, with a third phase of development marked by the construction of a sun-bathing establishment and the Monte Verità Sanatorium. The founders are the pianist and feminist leader Ida Hofmann, Henri Oedenkoven, the son of an industrialist, and the brothers Karl and Arthur (Gusto) Graser.

1904


1904

The anarchist medical doctor Raphael Friedeberg settles in Ascona. Thanks to him, many anarchists come to Ascona: Prince Peter Kropotkin, the doctor of the poor, Fritz Brupbacher from Zurich, Ernst Frick, Max Nettlau and also ex-members of the Social Democratic Party, Karl Kautsky, August Bebel and Otto Braun.

1905


1905

The German anarchist Erich Mühsam would like to see Ascona as "the republic of the homeless, the exiled and the destitute".

1906–1911


1906–1911

The psychoanalyst from Graz, Otto Gross, plans a university in Ascona for the emancipation of mankind, which will lead to a return to the communist paradise.

1909


1909

The queen of Bohemian life in Munich, the "cosmic" Countess and writer Franziska zu Reventlow, leaves Schwabing to go to live in Ascona and Locarno.

1913–1918


1913–1918

Rudolf von Laban establishes his "School for Art" on Monte Verità, which is associated with the individualistic cooperative, and has the educational goal of introducing the students to all the means of expression employed by human inventiveness. The "New Dance" is born, and Mary Wigman, Katja Wulff and Suzanne Perrottet become students of Laban. Isidora Duncan visits Monte Verità.

1914–1918


1914–1918

Ascona becomes a haven for intellectual émigrés along with Zurich and Bern. The artists in particular begin commuting between the city (Zurich) and nature in the south (Ascona).

1917


1917

Theodor Reuss, Master of the Order of the Templars of the Orient, organizes a congress on various themes at Monte Verità: societies with no national distinctions, cooperatives, modern education, women's rights in the society of the future, mystic freemansonry, new social structures and, lastly, dancing as art, ritual and religion. The culminating event of the congress is the performance of the ritual dance "Song to the Sun", executed by the Laban School of Dance; they dance from sunset to sunrise.

1918


1918

Artists flock to Ascona in great numbers: Marianne von Werefkin, Alexej von Jawlensky, Arthur Segal, the Dadaists Hugo Ball, Hans Arp and Hans Richter. Ascona becomes a village of artists.

1919–1964


1919–1964

The former Secretary of the Federation of Swiss Labour Unions, Margarethe Faas-Hardegger, a Follower of the socialist ideas of Gustav Landauer, establishes an anarchist-communist agricultural community in Minusio.

1920


1920

The founders of Monte Verità emigrate to Spain and then to Brazil.

1923–1926


1923–1926

Monte Verità becomes a hotel business run by a trio of artists (Werner Ackermann, Max Bethke and Hugo Wilkens), backed financially by William Werner.

1924


1924

Walter Helbig, Ernst Frick, Albert Kohler, Gordon McCouch, Otto Niemeyer, Otto van Rees and Marianne von Werefkin form the artists' group "The Great Bear". El Lissitzky stays in Locarno, Ascona and Ambrì for health reasons.

1924–1938


1924–1938

Fritz Jordi establishes the agricultural community "Fontana Martina" in Ronco sopra Ascona.

1926


1926

Monte Verità is acquired by Baron Eduard von der Heydt, banker of the former German Kaiser William II and one of the greatest collectors of contemporary, oriental and primitive art.

1927


1927

The artists of the "Bauhaus" school (Albers, Bayer, Breuer, Gropius, Schawinsky and Schlemmer) discover Ascona as a holiday resort and a world apart from the "Bauhaus". The Monte Verità Hotel is built by Emil Fahrenkamp in "Bauhaus" style, and in Minusio the Sanctuarium Artis Elisarion is built as the repository for the painted dualistic philosophy of the world of confusion and the world of clarity (Klarismus) of the Baltic nobleman Elisar von Kupffer.

1927–1928


1927–1928

The San Materno Theatre is built for the Gothic-Egyptian dancer, Charlotte Bara, by the architect Carl Weidemeyer.

1928–1956


1928–1956

Ernst Frick carries out research on the Gallo-Celtic fortress of Balla drum and develops a "global" system.

about 1930


about 1930

The Swiss expressionist painters Ignaz Epper, Fritz Pauli and Robert Schurch settle in Ascona and the area nearby. Heinrich Vogeler, coming from Worpswede, a famous colony of artists near Bremen, collaborates with the experiment of "Fontana Martina". Carl Meffert (Pseudony'm Clement Moreau), is the illustrator for the publication of the "Fontana Martina" community. Their tylographs criticise the socio-economic conditions of the indigenous population of the Ticino for the first time.

1933


1933

Stefan George dies in Minusio. The first emigrants from Germany arrive (Albert Ehrenstein, Else Lasker-Schuler and Erich Maria Remarque). The first Eranos meeting takes place in Ascona-Moscia.

1934


1934

Publication of Ascona Bau-Buch (typography by Max Bill) advocating a harmonious fusion of modern and local traditional architecture in the landscape.

1937–1961


1937–1961

Jakob Flach founds the Marionette Theatre of Ascona artists (with Mischa Epper, Fritz Pauli and Werner J. Muller).

1939–1945


1939–1945

The Second World War. The wealthy people who had taken up residence in Ascona leave for the United States.

1945


1945

"The Peace of Ascona" between the Allies and the German High Command in Italy. The expressionist poet Georg Kaiser dies on Monte Verità.

since 1950


since 1950

Ascona becomes a centre of attraction for wealthy tourists as a result of the economic recovery in Germany: for the frequenters of the earlier artists' colony, it becomes a retirement village and the place where they die. Outsiders and the newly arrived pull back to the valleys. Armand Schulthess creates his "Encyclopaedia" in the forest near Auressio.

1960


1960

Dimitri, the "Clown of Ascona", gives his first solo performance.

1964


1964

After the death of Baron Eduard von der Heydt, Monte Verità becomes the property of the Republic and Canton Ticino. According to his will, Monte Verità should become a site where cultural events of major importance take place.

1978


1978

The exhibition entitled "Monte Verità. The Breasts of Truth" by Harald Szeemann was set up in Ascona, on the Brissago Islands and in Casa Anatta. A "total work of art", it followed the structural model of the manybreasted goddess. 

1978–1980


1978–1980

The Monte Verità exhibition was on display at the museums of Zurich, Berlin, Vienna and Munich. 

1981


1981

Opening of the Casa Anatta Museum charting the history of Monte Verità as well as of the renovated Municipal Museum of Ascona and the Cultural Centre in Minusio, housing a permanent exhibition in honour of the memory of the founder of the Elisarion, Elisar von Kupffer. 

1983


1983

Opening of Casa Selma (built in 1901) as a second museum relating the history of Monte Verità.

1987


1987

Opening of the third museum on Monte Verità, housing the circular painting Il chiaro mondo dei beati (The Clear World of the Blessed) by Elisar von Kupffer, called Elisarion.

1989


1989

The Canton of Ticino entrusted the property to the Monte Verità Foundation, creating a seminar centre with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) of Zurich. The Foundation runs the hotel, the restaurant, the conference centre and the grounds and organises an annual programme of cultural events and conferences open to the public.

2008


2008

The entire Monte Verità museum complex was closed for major restoration work.



Restoration and opening of Casa Selma, a characteristic "air-light" hut of the vegetarians, housing a new exhibition showcasing the original living quarters and featuring a documentary on the history of Monte Verità.

2014–2015


2014–2015

Restoration and opening of Casa dei Russi as an exhibition space for art installations and exhibitions.

2017


2017

After a conservative restoration, reopening of the Casa Anatta Museum housing the historical exhibition by Harald Szeemann entitled "Monte Verità. The Breasts of Truth". Opening of the exhibition "The Truths of a Mountain", curated by Andreas Schwab. Both exhibitions are permanent.