Transylvania’s Hidden Treasures — Ceramics & Textiles from the von Bartha Collection

Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger | KBH.G
Until November 5

“Transylvania’s Hidden Treasures” will be the first major exhibition to present the highlights of Miklós von Bartha’s private collection of Transylvanian folk art, in an unprecedented collaboration with the fashion and interior designer JJ Martin, founder of La DoubleJ. The exhibition includes 186 of the most relevant objects from the 600-piece collection of Transylvanian folk art and design that von Bartha has built over the past 50 years. The rare collection of Hungarian and Saxon ceramics and textiles has been a particular inspiration to Martin, who conceived an entire room of the exhibition.

Transylvanian ceramics have made a fundamental contribution to European pottery. The region’s abundant clay deposits, its late industrialization, the influence of Eastern as well as Western culture, the area’s world of forms, and the long preservation of living traditions characterise Transylvania’s crafts. The starting point of the collection is a plate from the house of von Bartha’s grandparents, which fortunately survived the two world wars intact. Over the past five decades, von Bartha has continuously expanded his collection, which is unique in terms of its abundance and quality and offers the best overview of a folk art that is virtually unknown in this country. The ceramics and textiles were not decorative pieces but were intended for daily use in farmhouses. What makes this folk art so attractive is its design language and ornamentation. It illustrates that these simple people created utilitarian objects that went beyond functionality and were also intended to give visual pleasure. This “feast for the eyes” is also transmitted to today’s viewers and even to professionals like Martin.

Accompanying the exhibition is a catalog that presents the various pieces on display and places them within a historical, material, and social framework.

Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger | KBH.G
Spitalstrasse 18
4056 Basel