Oskar Reinhart was an heir to Volkart Brothers, a Winterthur-based trading company focused on importing goods, specifically cotton, from India. The entire Reinhart family were great lovers and collectors of art, but Oskar took it to another level. In his lifetime, he collected more than 800 paintings by many of Europe's great masters.
The best pieces in the collection, about 200 in all, are housed in the Villa Am Römerholz. The estate was built between 1915 and 1918 for another Winterthur industrialist (Henry Jacob Ziegler Sulzer) by architect Maurice Turrettini. It's located just outside town on a forested hill. Oskar Reinhart bought the mansion in 1924 in order to convert it to an art gallery. Substantial renovations occurred in 1997 and 2009, bringing the museum up to modern standards.
The collection spans Europe from the fourteenth century through the twentieth. It gives an excellent overview of the European masters. Some of the strongest works are from the northern Renaissance, including Pieter Breughel's Adoration of the Magi in the Snow. The Impressionist and post-Impressionist collections are also particularly strong. Highlights include Manet's Au Cafe and Van Gogh's The Courtyard of the Hospital in Arles. These are just a small portion of the treasures on display though.
The museum is about a twenty minute walk from Winterthur's main train station, though you can also take a bus. Guided tours are available at specific times daily. If you're in Winterthur you won't want to miss the Villa Am Römerholz. This is one of the world's great private art collections. To save some money, a museum pass is available for CHF20 that gives you entry into each of Winterthur's museums, sans the Technorama.
Location: Haldenstrasse 95, Winterthur
Telephone: +41 052 269 2740
Open 10:00-17:00 Tuesday through Sunday (until 20:00 Wednesday)