ORIGINS OF THE VILLA
The name "St. Charles" was established in 1895, when the estate served as a rest home for French clergymen. In 1921, the German-English couple Tonio and Marie-Harriet von Riedemann bought the villa, which has since been referred to as the "Villa St. Charles Hall". Tonio von Riedemann came from one of the richest entrepreneurial families in Hamburg.
The couple commissioned architect Alber Fröhlich to redesign the villa complex. Thus, the still existing, neo-baroque mansion emerged. As a passionate collector of art and antiques, Marie-Harriet von Riedemann designed the villa - from antique sculptures in the park to large-scale tapestries, valuable paintings to stylish furniture and porcelain.
After the death of his wife in 1933, who suffered from diabetes, Tonio von Riedemann lived rather withdrawn at the Villa St. Charles Hall, where he died in 1941 at the age of 68 years. After that, the villa was empty for six years, because neither the nieces nor the descendants had the intention to move into the villa.
In 1947, the St. Gallen couple Paul and Gertrud Fischbacher-Labhardt acquired the property (picture). Paul Fischbacher came from the dynasty of a St. Gallen linen manufacturer and rejected the leadership of the company. He invested his bailout in stocks and securities and had a securities portfolio of more than 16 million francs. Gertrud Fischbacher also had an articulated taste for art. She designed the rooms further and added paintings, pompous vases, other furniture and rugs to the collection.
In 1959, Paul Fischbacher died during a voyage in Asia. His ashes were buried in the in-house chapel at Villa St. Charles Hall. Even before his death, the childless couple had already considered the idea of making their property available to the public. In 1960, at the age of 77, Gertrud Fischbacher established a foundation under the name "St. Charles Hall Foundation Paul and Gertrud Fischbacher-Labhardt "with the purpose of "...for official receptions, artistic events, exhibitions and other occasions." For the maintenance and fulfilment of the Foundation's purpose In addition to the property, she left a sum of 1.5 million francs.
In 1962 Trudy Fischbacher-Labhardt died. The entire estate with property, fixed assets, gold, cash, jewelry, etc. amounted to about 20 million francs. In addition to the donation of the villa to the private foundation in 1962, she bequeathed a large part of the property to the children's hospital Lucerne. In the mid-1960s, the Board of Trustees began implementing the founder's will - with unique concerts, encounters between artists, statesmen and politicians, as well as events for companies and private individuals.
Hollywood stars, top musicians and heads of state: numerous personalities from culture, politics and society were guests at the Villa St. Charles Hall.
Especially as a venue for classical music, the villa has an excellent acoustic. Among the best-known musicians who have performed here include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir James Galway, Vanessa Mae and Anne-Sophie Mutter. The Music Conservatory Lucerne and the foundation for young music talents Meggen have been performing in the villa for years.
The Villa St. Charles Hall also served as a movie location. Richard Burton and Vanessa Redgrave shot part of the series about the life of Richard Wagner in the mansion. Also for many other film productions, the villa was used as location.
Other famous guests include Dalai Lama, Roman Herzog, German Federal President, Mauro Koivisto, Finnish President and numerous federal and state councillors.
ILLUSTRATED BOOK ST. CHARLES HALL
The origin of the Villa St. Charles Hall, the activity of the Foundation as well as reports on the arts, handicrafts and cultural events: The illustrated book "St. Charles Hall" tells stories and shows in numerous illustrations the unique collection and the prominent visitors who were guests at the Villa St. Charles Hall. The book was published in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of the death of Gertrud Fischbacher-Labhardt, founder of the foundation "Paul and Gertrud Fischbacher-Labhardt".
"St. Charles Hall "
Illustrated book ISBN 978-033-03663-5
Price CHF 50, -
Purchase via St. Charles Hall administration