The Eccel Kreuzer Art Collection currently includes about 1,500 pieces from the period since 1900. They come from more than 300 artists. Pillars of the collection include the works of three painters whom the Eccel and Kreuzer families were friends with for decades: Hans Ebensperger, Karl Plattner, and Peter Fellin.
The collection was started by entrepreneur and art patron Friedrich Eccel and his wife Hilde Eccel Tapfer. They were deeply interested in contemporary art (painting, sculpture, and architecture) both inside and outside of South Tyrol and began collecting in the 1950s.
Josef Kreuzer, the couple’s son-in-law, described Friedrich Eccel’s support for the arts in an interview with Carl Kraus: “My father-in-law, the engineer Friedrich Eccel, was a special kind of art patron. He didn’t limit himself to simply buying works from artists, instead he housed some artists in his large villa on Quireiner Street for months or even years.”
Relationships between the Eccel Family and the artists were built on deep friendship and mutual respect. This was the foundation for creating an extensive and significant art collection of Tyrolean modernism with a focus on painting.
The couple’s daughter, Eva Eccel, shared her parents’ interests. She studied art history in Innsbruck and Vienna, wrote numerous publications about Tyrolean art in the 1980s and 1990s, and became an important art critic in South Tyrol. She and her husband, Judge Josef Kreuzer, expanded the art collection that her parents had started.
When the couple separated at the end of the 1990s, the arcaded house and most of the current collection went to Josef Kreuzer. Until his death in 2017, he considerably expanded the collection under the motto, “From Ala to Kufstein”. This resulted in comprehensive documentation of modern painting from the regions of Tyrol, South Tyrol, and Trentino.