the foundation

the nufnuf-art foundation is a charitable foundation within the meaning of articles 80 et seq. of the swiss civil code.

not-for-profit, headquartered in semsales (fr).

incorporated on June 21, 2013 before a notary, it has been entered in the commercial register of the canton of fribourg since July 2, 2013.

as intended by the founders, hans franz thommen (*1957) and françois diserens (1950 – 2012), the aims of the nufnuf-art foundation are primarily concerned with showcasing a collection of artworks comprising some 1,500 pieces (paintings, sculptures, graphic works) and comic strips (5,000 volumes and 150 original plates) by almost 400 different artists.

To this end, the regulations of the nufnuf-art fondation provide for the loan of these works of art and comic strips to museums, foundations and other public institutions for exhibitions.

The public presentation of the nufnuf-art foundation ‘s collection is also planned – even desired for schools and social institutions.

Finally, meetings with artists are encouraged, as are contacts with museums and art galleries.

Within the scope of its objectives, the Foundation operates throughout Switzerland, and exceptionally abroad in the case of exhibitions.

Donations can be made to the Postfinance account:
12-109964-6 / IBAN CH73 0900 000 1210 9964 6 / BIC POFICHBEXXX

conseil de fondation

hans franz thommen
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

emmanuelle neukomm
curator of fine arts
musée jenisch vevey
vice-president of the foundation

didier de montmollin

jean-pierre diserens

jef gianadda
artist and journalist
member (spokesperson)

étienne krähenbühl

nicolas noverraz


extract from the newspaper la liberté
Saturday, October 5, 2013, page 17, “sud-broye-lac”

The foundation, chaired by Hans Thommen, plans to present its impressive collection to the public. Vincent Murith/La Liberté

The nufnuf, those art bulimics

SEMSALES – In their 23 years together, Hans Thommen and the late François Diserens amassed 1500 works of art and 5000 comics. The nufnuf-art foundation now protects their collection.

They used to call each other “Schnüffeli”, then “nufnuf”, to evoke their nosiness and flair for discovery. And indeed, Semsal architect Hans Thommen and his late life partner François Diserens, an anaesthetist, did a fair bit of snooping. Scouring the galleries and art exhibitions of Switzerland and Europe, the couple have accumulated nearly 1,500 works of art, 5,000 volumes of comics and 150 original plates in their twenty-three years together. A booty recently preserved thanks to the creation of a foundation, based in Semsales: the nufnuf-art fondation.

“We never thought of making a collection,” says Hans Thommen from the outset. “It was done without our knowledge. We simply bought what we liked, exclusively works by living artists. No desire to be exhaustive, no speculative intent. Just what we fell in love with. We lived quite simply, on two comfortable salaries. But we lived our love of art intensely, and sometimes visited several galleries on the same day, only to flash, without consulting each other, on the same work. Things quickly took off…”

To say the least. There’s not a wall at the Foundation’s headquarters in Semsales that isn’t covered with paintings. The picture rails even invade the building’s common staircase. “We had to extend the site,” smiles Hans Thommen. “But we still ended up storing some of the works in three locations, in Geneva and Biel.”

“There’s practically every style and every technique,” continues the master of the house, pointing to a Miró painting here and a work by Diakonoff, Dali, Tinguely, Martinez, Giger or Huxley there. Or a sculpture by Basler, Fontaine or Delanoë. Four hundred artists in all. There’s no common thread, just a wind of freedom and a marked refusal to be bland.


Protecting and transmitting

Hans Thommen lives in this wonderful studio every day: “These works speak to me, and I keep discovering new things. Each one has the energy, the emotion that the artist has put into it, and that carries me along. Without it, I’d feel like a prisoner. I always say that this collection is worth 1 franc on the balance sheet, but it’s priceless in terms of emotions.”

Behind most of the works is a story: that of a purchase, a commission or a friendship. The “nufnuf”, with their simple, even atypical gallery look, soon decided to “hold salon” once a year, inviting artists – “these loners” – gallery owners and museum directors to their homes. “It’s not the atmosphere of a vernissage, but of art friends getting together,” confides Hans Thommen. A kind of digital patron, since 2002 he has also maintained a website dedicated to his duly catalogued collection, and since then has offered artists their own personal pages.

Why set up a charitable foundation? “So that this collection is not dispersed and remains in Semsales,” explains Hans Thommen, who lost his partner last year. The Foundation may also lend pieces from the collection to museums or other public institutions for exhibitions. “I’d also like to organize visits for schools and social institutions,” stresses Hans Thommen. “Museums sometimes have a serious, grave side that can be off-putting. Here, the setting is different. We can transmit a taste for art in a relaxed atmosphere.”

bio express

François Diserens

Born in Riehen (BS). Died in 2012, aged 62.

Anaesthetist. Has worked at the Châtel-Saint-Denis hospital, LACLINIC in Montreux-Territet and Dr André Etienne’s practice in La Tour-de-Peilz.

Played viola with the Orchestre symphonique et universitaire de Lausanne.

Hans Franz Thommen

Born in 1957 in Biel/Bienne.

Early-retired architect. Worked in various offices in Biel, Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne, then in the property management department of a bank, for which he also handled art purchases for a time.

we're all born crazy about art, and some of us stay that way...! it elected you, keep going...

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