BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors


Nicola Erni Collection – Steinhausen, Switzerland

Installation view: Beatriz Milhazes, Gamboa I, 2013 (detail), copyright Pedrini Photography, Zurich
Installation view: Beatriz Milhazes, Gamboa I, 2013 (detail), copyright Pedrini Photography, Zurich

Nicola Erni has followed her passion and acquired photography and contemporary art that speaks to her heart. She has built one of the largest photography collections in private hands, with works dating from the 1930s to today, the core being fashion photography. Portraits, landscapes and still life add to the importance of this fascinating collection.
At the same time the contemporary collection grew vastly and includes major works by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Rashid Johnson.

What inspired you to start a collection?

There was never THAT moment when I decided to start a collection. First I have been looking for photography and contemporary art for our private homes, then I combined my passion for fashion and photography. As they say, when you have more works than walls to hang, you “can consider yourself a collector”.

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible and what are the benefits?

My collection grew constantly in the past 25 years. With the second museum building my desire to show people a different approach to art grew as well: an extended living room where art, architecture, interior design and accessories come together. To open the heart and eyes of people who are “scared” of art because they supposedly know little about it.
Our guests leave their iPhone in the wardrobe, are able to enjoy a guided tour in a small group, experience the art in a relaxed atmosphere and can leave the hectic behind. Showing them that one should live with art and create your own beautiful bubble at home.

Installation view: Rashid Johnson, Erni’s Cubes, 2020, copyright Pedrini Photography, Zurich
Installation view: Rashid Johnson, Erni’s Cubes, 2020, copyright Pedrini Photography, Zurich

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during this process?

To find the best setup for our guests and my team next to all other tasks we oversee in the collection, such as building and logistics management.
The goal is to offer our visitors a memorable experience while keeping logistics and security under control.

What has been the most challenging work of art in your collection, either for yourself or the public?

The monumental site-specific steel installations by Rashid Johnson in the entrance of the second building, that perfectly blends in the architecture, was the most challenging work of art. We were installing it during the pandemic when Rashid was not able to come from New York. So the art handlers from the gallery and my team had to install the piece with guidance by Rashid via FaceTime. I was constantly on the phone with him, and it was a bit frustrating for both of us, because we wanted to enjoy that moment together on site. But we succeeded and a year later our reunion in person at my space was very special for both of us.

What is your biggest hope for the future of art and collecting?

I hope that even more people will be visiting and get inspired by my philosophy how to enjoy art and interior design. A mix-and-match of beautiful things that touch your eye & heart so that you leave the collection with a big smile.

Collectors (77)

Narda van 't Veer

The Narda van 't Veer Collection – Monnickendam, Netherlands

Rashid Al Khalifa


Olivier Chow

The Olivier Chow Collection – Lausanne, Switzerland

Valeria Napoleone

Valeria and Gregorio Napoleone Collection – London, UK

Matteo Novarese

SOF:ART – Bologna, Italy

Martin Steppacher

Gallery Durchgang – Basel, Switzerland

Carmelo Graci

Graci Collection – Mantova, Italy

Dr. William Lim

Living Collection – Hong Kong

Lukas Jakob

Jakob Collection – Gundelfingen, Germany

Claus Busch Risvig

Bech Risvig Collection – Silkeborg, Denmark

Joseph Awuah-Darko

The Terra Collection Of African Contemporary Art – Accra, Ghana | London, UK


Ingrid and Thomas Jochheim Collection – Berlin, Germany

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Bernardo Paz

Instituto Inhotim – Centro de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico – Brumadinho, Brazil

Tony Salamé

Aïshti Foundation – Beirut, Lebanon

Nadia & Rajeeb Samdani

Samdani Art Foundation (SAF), Dhaka, Bangladesh

Lord David Cholmondeley

Houghton Hall – King's Lynn, Great Britain

Galila Barzilaï-Hollander

Galila's P.O.C., Brussels, Belgium

Martin Margulies

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse – Miami, United States of America

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

Qiao Zhibing

TANK Shanghai and Qiao Space - Shanghai, China

Christen Sveaas

Kistefos Museet, Jevnaker, Norway

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Rik Reinking

WAI - Woods Art Institute, Wentorf bei Hamburg, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Maurizio Morra Greco

Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany