Fondation Toms Pauli
Collection of Ancient tapestries and modern textile creations
A new visibility
The state owns the collection of historical tapestries assembled by Reginald and Mary Toms, as well as the 20th-century collection consisting of works by artists of the heyday of the Lausanne Tapestry Biennals (1962–1995). A private foundation is responsible for managing this dual collection. Founded in Lausanne in 2000, the Fondation Toms Pauli has presented two temporary exhibitions at the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts: Flemish Tapestries from the 16th to the 18th Century in 2000 and Nomadic Tapestries: 20th-Century Collection in 2016. Various solutions have been sought to enable the Fondation Toms Pauli to conserve and showcase this heritage, and the collection’s integration into the new cultural platform opens up important new opportunities. The foundation will move into the building housing the Cantonal Museum of Fine Art, where it will be able to organise events revolving around textile art and present temporary exhibitions of its collections.
An international network
The Fondation is one of the few public institutions exclusively dedicated to textile art. There is an existing international network for these types of collections that encourages partnerships and exhibition projects. Since it did not have its own walls on which to present its heritage, and therefore had little visibility locally, the Fondation has been very active abroad in recent years, lending a number of works to renowned institutions in Switzerland, Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Lithuania) and the United States.
As prestigious objects and diplomatic gifts, tapestries were the glory of Europe’s royal courts for centuries. Reginald and Mary Toms assembled over one hundred of them in the 1960s to decorate the walls of their home in the castle of Coinsins (in the La Côte region). This remarkable collection, donated to the Etat de Vaud in 1993, illustrates the wide variety of subjects depicted and the incredible quality of the tapestries, made by the finest manufacturers in Flanders, France, Italy and England from the 16th to the 18th century.
The Fondation’s 20th-century collection — inherited from the Association Pierre Pauli and the Centre International de la Tapisserie Ancienne et Moderne (CITAM)—contains over 200 works by Swiss and foreign artists like Jean Lurçat, Sonia Delaunay, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Jagoda Bui´c, Olga de Amaral, Ritzi & Peter Jacobi, Elsi Giauque, Sheila Hicks, and Naomi Kobayashi. This collection illustrates the remarkable evolution of classical tapestry towards a new, free, inventive form of expression, in the second half of the 20th century.
Fondation Toms Pauli
Year founded: 2000
President: Eric Rochat
Director: Giselle Eberhard Cotton
Collections: Toms collection, historical tapestries from 16th to the 19th century, and a collection of 20th century textile art
Focus: Conservation, research, publications, exhibitions revolving around its collection.