Mission Statement

Comics, graphic novels, comics reports, cartoons, satirical drawings or animated movies have one thing in common : They are all drawings that tell us a story. The Cartoonmuseum Basel is the only museum and centre of excellence in Switzerland devoted exclusively to the art of narrative drawing. Its mission is to collect individual works, curate exhibitions and share knowledge about the genre. The museum contributes to the debate about the art of narrative drawing and about the social and political issues it addresses.

The museum grew out of its substantial collection of over 6000 original drawings by renowned national and international artists. Today, the museum’s focus lies on carefully curated exhibitions displaying the works of a single artist or illustrating a specific theme.

Every exhibition is curated professionally and geared towards an international audience. The Cartoonmuseum Basel documents, promotes, teaches and challenges the art of narrative drawing. Our exhibitions focus on the artistic aspects of drawing, and on the creative process leading to a picture or a story. Visitors can explore different styles, traditions and artistic positions. All works are embedded in their historical or social context. The exhibitions cover a broad range of topics: from classical to contemporary works, from thematic exhibitions to monographic retrospectives. Related genres such as free drawing, illustration or animation are also within the scope of the museum. These contemporary genres attract younger artists and audiences.

The Cartoonmuseum Basel is actively liaising with other international museums, institutions and individuals working with the art of narrative drawing. Every exhibition is accompanied by a series of events such as lectures, talks and workshops. These events focus on a specific theme or the cultural and historical background of the current exhibition.


Annual report

Director/Curator

Anette Gehrig
a.gehrig@cartoonmuseum.ch

Assistant to the Museum Director

Alena Kress 
a.kress@cartoonmuseum.ch

Head of Shop/Reception

Samantha Bersano
s.bersano@cartoonmuseum.ch

Assistant Marketing

Melanie Uhlmann
m.uhlmann@cartoonmuseum.ch

Team Art Education (Freelance)

Alessia Conidi
Gabriela Giallombardo
Martina Gmür
Judith Schifferle

Team Reception (Temporary)

Monica Kilchherr (Volunteer)
Nina Burger
Gabriela Giallombardo
Oliver Eberli
Bettina Koechlin
Melanie Uhlmann
Christine Weber
empfang@cartoonmuseum.ch

The Board of Trustees

Lilli Strassmann (President)
Dr. Gabriela Christen
Angela Heimberg
Nathalie Unternährer
Roland Wetzel

History

The founder and donor of the Cartoonmuseum Basel was Dieter Burckhardt (1914–1991), an important patron from a well-to-do Basel family, who wanted to make his private collection of caricatures and cartoons accessible to a wider audience. In 1979 he founded the “Stiftung Sammlung Karikaturen & Cartoons”, which has been managed by the larger Christoph Merian Foundation since the beginning. Both the collection and the museum have never received any public funding. In 1980, the first exhibition opened at St. Alban-Vorstadt 9.

In 1991, the foundation bought a house on St. Alban-Vorstadt 28, which was subsequently restored and expanded by Herzog & de Meuron Architects. The new building offered significantly larger exhibition space as well as more room for the library and the museum shop. In May 1996, the new Karikatur & Cartoon Museum Basel was opened to the public.

In 2009, the museum was renamed “Cartoonmuseum Basel”. It was a significant step towards a clearer identity and communication on all levels, including the website www.cartoonmuseum.ch, which had been relaunched earlier. With a new name, a new mission statement and a new corporate design, the Cartoonmuseum Basel stands out as the only museum in Switzerland dedicated exclusively to the art of narrative drawing.

Atrium with walkways.
View into the newly built rear building.

Shop

Our shop’s hallmark is its huge selection of postcards. In addition, we have an exquisite range of books, as well as postcards and catalogues to accompany our current exhibition. Besides the books, our vouchers for admission to the museum are the perfect gift.

All publications can be purchased in our online shop or at the Cartoonmuseum.


Library

In our library, you will find everything related to caricatures, cartoons and comics: the great classics and illustrators, discoveries, peculiarities, and reference materials. The collection was donated in large part by Dieter Burckhardt and is added to by the Cartoonmuseum on an ongoing basis.

The library is accessible during the museum’s opening hours.

Architecture

The Cartoonmuseum Basel consists of both a late Gothic building on a historical stretch of street and an unexpected hidden new construction at the same location. Visitors enter the three-storey museum through the old, front-facing building, which houses the foyer with the museum shop, exhibition rooms, the library and the office, refurbished by the Basel architects Herzog & de Meuron. By way of a bright atrium with glass-walled service bridges, they reach the rear building, a new construction designed by Herzog & de Meuron which has three more exhibition rooms. The two buildings cover a total area of ca. 350 square metres, of which about 300 square metres are exhibition space.

Due to the historical fabric of the old building, only the ground floor of the museum is accessible for wheelchairs.