The Swiss Art Trading Association was founded in 1922. The founding members, on the one hand, were Galerie Tanner in Zurich and Galerie Paul Vallotton in Lausanne, working closely with Paris galleries, handling French 19th century art, while on the other hand the firms Gutekunst and Klipstein (now: Galerie Kornfeld) in Bern and Art Ancien in Zurich were specialising in Old Masters. Gottfried Tanner was the first president. He led the Association for thirty years (1923-1953). Willi Raeber from Basel was the next one for six years (1953-1959) before Eberhard Kornfeld took over, presiding, with Peter Nathan as Vice-president, for 37 years (1959-1996). From 1997 until 2007 Walter Feilchenfeldt was president. He brought the Association into CINOA in 1982, where he represented the Swiss organization for over twenty years. In 2008 Claudius Ochsner became president.
Our members deal in paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture and rare books, mainly of the 20th century. We are especially proud of our members Dr. h.c. Angela Rosengart, Dr. h.c. Eberhard W. Kornfeld, Walter Feilchenfeldt and the late Dr. h.c. Ernst Beyeler who have contributed far more to Swiss cultural life than running successful art businesses.
Our Association, from the very start, made a point of introducing basic ethical rules which today are fully endorsed by all members of CINOA. An office for expertise, where information on authenticity could be obtained, located at the Nathan Gallery, was in function for many years and only closed when the auction houses introduced the system of the "world experts" on specific artists.
Our main function today is to investigate for our members the national and international rules, endeavouring to make known our wishes to the authorities. With the many possibilities of gaining information today, the art market has become so transparent that the international associations have become more important than the national ones. However, it is essential, that we can be approached as the voice of our members and that we are accessible through our association's office.