Bechtler Modern Art Collection Makes its Home in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC—There are two creative markers in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art—a sign declaring the block the “Levine Avenue of the Arts” and a giant, joyful sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle. The Bechtler was established at the behest of Andreas Bechtler, a Swiss-born entrepreneur, artist and collector who resides in Charlotte. His parents began collecting mid-century art during his childhood and when he acquired a portion of their works, he continued to expand the collection. A public/private partnership, the relatively new museum opened in 2010 to house the Bechtler collection. Accumulated over 70 years, the collection includes portraits of the Bechtler family by Andy Warhol, that hang in the elevator lobby.

All photos © Arts Observer

Above, “L’oiseau de feu sur l’arche (The Firebird),” 1991 (7,500 mirror mosaics over polyester on steel armature) by Niki de Sainte Phalle. Top of page, Detail of “The Firebird” in front of the Bechtler museum.

The museum building’s contemporary structure was designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta and is covered in terra cotta tiles.

Rear installation view of “The Firebird” by Niki de Saint Phalle. The Bechtler is within eyeshot of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture (in distant background).

Detail of rear view of “The Firebird” which stands more than 17 feet tall.

The Bechtler museum sits on the Levine Avenue of the Arts, which includes the Mint Museum and the Knight Theater. The Gantt center is also considered a part of the arts complex.

The collection of the Bechtler museum includes more than 1,400 works of art.

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