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Cuno Amiet

Solothurn, CH, 1886 — 1961

As the first Swiss painter to give precedence to colour in composition, Cuno Amiet (*28.3.1868 Solothurn, 6.7.1961 Oschwand) was a pioneer of modern art in Switzerland.

At the age of 15, he painted his first self portrait. After studies with the painter Frank Buchser, 1886–88 Amiet attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he befriended Giovanni Giacometti. In 1888-92 Amiet continued his studies in Paris at the Académie Julian. After this, he joined the Pont-Aven School in 1892, where he learned from Gauguin and Van Gogh, and he came to prefer the use of pure colour to tonal painting. After his return to Switzerland people would reject this innovation. Ferdinand Hodler’s work exerted a great influence on Amiet and lead him to the art nouveau movement. Between 1906 and 1913 he was a consistent member of the expressionist group „Die Brücke“ . Once again he experimented with pure colours. Amiet’s distinct and vast artistic oeuvre focuses particularly on four thematic issues: Garden, harvest and winter scenes as well as portraits.

In 1898 Amiet moved to Oschwand, where his house became a meeting place for artists and writers.

(Photo left: Urs Zaugg, Cuno Amiet in fotografischen Dokumenten, Herzogenbuchsee: Scheibli + Co., 1985)