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Cuno Amiet

Solothurn, CH, 1886 — 1961

Cuno Amiet (1868, Solothurn – 1961, Oschwand) was the first Swiss artist to prioritize colour in composition and preceded the Modern art movement in Switzerland. After completing his first self-portrait at the age of 15, Amiet became Frank Buchser’s student in 1884. During the autumn of 1886, Amiet went to Munich and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1887 he met Giovanni Giacometti, who later became his lifelong friend, and the following year they travelled to Paris together where Amiet began further studies at the Académie Julian. However, following the year 1892 Amiet became increasingly dissatisfied with his academy classes and transferred to Pont-Aven where he discovered Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh and laid the foundations for his colourist painting.
In 1894, Amiet held an exhibition in the Kunsthalle Basel, where his use of overly saturated colours was largely rejected by art critics. Later, in 1898, he was commissioned to create a portrait of Ferdinand Hodler, the subsequent connection between the two artists led to Amiet’s increased interest in Art Nouveau.
In 1905, Amiet held an exhibition at the Galerie Richter in Dresden, where the artists’ group Die Brücke became aware of him. In 1906, Erich Heckel invited Amiet to become a member of the group giving him the opportunity to be part of the first Brücke exhibition, focused on the female nude, in Dresden.
In 1914, Amiet held a solo exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich with 124 works on display. In 1919, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern. Today Cuno Amiet is regarded as one of the most important pioneers of classical modernism in Switzerland.


Exhibitions (Selection)

2018 Cuno Amiet. Retrospektive zum 150. Geburtstag. Meisterwerke aus acht Jahrzehnten, Bromer Kunst, Roggwil.
2011/2012 Ferdinand Hodler und Cuno Amiet. Eine Künstlerfreundschaft zwischen Jugendstil und Moderne, Kunstmuseum Solothurn; Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg.
2011/2012 Amiet. «Freude meines Lebens». Sammlung Eduard Gerber. Kunstmuseum Bern.
1959 From Hodler to Klee: Swiss Art of the Twentieth Century. Tate Gallery, London.

Literature (Selection)

Cuno Amiet. Retrospektive zum 150. Geburtstag, exhib. cat. Bromer Kunst, Roggwil, 2018.
Cuno Amiet. Die Gemälde 1883–1919, Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Oeuvrekataloge Schweizer Künstler und Künstlerinnen 28, Zurich 2014.
Cuno Amiet. Von Pont-Aven zur «Brücke», exhib. cat. Kunstmuseum Bern, 1999/2000; Musée Rath, Geneva, 2000/2001, Milano 1999.