Britta Gelpke (25. Januar 1927 – 28. Juli 2019) was born in Saas but her family moved to the lowlands around Zurich, where she spend the majority of her childhood. Through her father, who was a doctor and painter, she became interested in the arts and decided to pursue this interest as a career. To ensure financial stability she completed an apprenticeship as a framemaker and gilder, before she dedicated herself to painting completely. In 1948 she became a pupil of Cuno Amiet took residence in Oschwand, the contact was probably established through her father. The friendship between Cuno Amiet and Britta Gelpke endured many years afterwards, in a postcard he also thanked her for making him some frames.
Britta worked and lived in Basel, where she had some exhibitions and was able to sell a few of her works, but the big success failed to happen, so she continued to work as a frame maker and gilder.
Her time as Amiets student left an impression throughout her life and work. In a commentary about her work she wrote: „Ich liebe die einfachen Farben Grün, Blau, Lila, Rot, Gelb. Und ich versuche mit einfachem Farbklang eine ganze Landschaft, eine Figur, eine Stimmung herzustellen...“ (=I love the simple colors, green, blue, purple, red and yellow. I always try to paint with a simple color scheme and create great landscapes, figures and atmospheres.“) An artistic position that she shared with Amiet.
In 1962 she met her husband and started a family, while still pursuing her art career. But in the 1980ies she gave in to exhaustion and frustration about the success that never came and the appreciation that stayed absent and she stopped painting altogether. One year after her death in August 2018 we wanted to give Britta Gelpke a stage and appreciation to her life, her work and to her relationship with Cuno Amiet. Art history is not only history of success, but also about the many not so successful stories.