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Cuno Amiet – Stillleben mit Fayence und Äpfeln, 1893


Cuno Amiet »Stillleben mit Fayence und Äpfeln«, 1893, Inv.-Nr.6-71

Cuno AmietStillleben mit Fayence und Äpfeln, 1893
Oil on canvas
49 x 28.6 cm

"I have been painting nothing but still lifes for weeks. And in doing so, I find the purest joy of painting. [...] An apple is not meant to be depicted in a way that one is tempted to take a bite. It is supposed to be painted in harmony with all the other parts of the picture: This is its task. [...] Every shape and every colour should contribute to forming a harmonic whole.“ – Cuno Amiet, 1954

Amiet's quotation can be interpreted as a kind of manifesto in which the artist states that rather than creating an illusion of reality, a painter should combine form and colour in a harmonic synthesis on the canvas. According to Amiet, he seems to have found in still life a genre that enables him to compose a harmony of forms and colours that come together in artful arrangements.

About artist
Cuno Amiet
Solothurn, CH, 1886 — 1961

Cuno Amiet (28.3.1868, Solothurn - 6.7.1961, Oschwand) painted his first self-portrait at the age of 15. In 1884 he met the painter Frank Buchser, who became his teacher for the following two years. In the autumn of 1886, Amiet went to Munich and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1887 he met Giovanni Giacometti, who became his lifelong friend. The following year they travelled to Paris together and Amiet began his studies at the Académie Julian. From 1892, however, Amiet became increasingly dissatisfied with the academy classes and went to Pont-Aven, where he discovered Gauguin and van Gogh and laid the foundations for his colourism.
In 1894 he exhibited at the Kunsthalle Basel, but his use of pure colours was largely rejected by the art critics. In 1898 he was commissioned to make a portrait of Ferdinand Hodler, whereby an intense contact between these artists was created and Amiet began to be interested in Art Nouveau.
In 1905 Amiet had an exhibition at the Galerie Richter in Dresden, where the Brücke artists became aware of him. In 1906, Erich Heckel invited Amiet to become a member, and in the same year he took part in the first Brücke exhibition in Dresden.
In 1914 Amiet received a solo exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich with a display of 124 works. In 1919 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern. Today Cuno Amiet counts as one of the most important pioneers of classical modernism in Switzerland.