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Cuno Amiet

Garden scenes

Lush green, bright red, and brilliant yellow draw the viewer into Amiet's abundant and paradise-like garden scenes. The way in which Amiet paints nature – fertile and full of live – reflects the artist’s urge for vitality and joie de vivre. In his paintings he captures a rich flora in full bloom – he rarely alludes to melancholy or sadness, which also might be connected to nature.

Cuno Amiet «Japanerin im Garten, (Dance d'été)», 1933, (Detail) Privatsammlung Schweiz, © D. Thalmann, Aarau

Amiet’s landscape paintings and garden scenes clearly outline the artist’s diverse artistic styles: Impressionist-like shimmering dots and pastose brush strokes contrast with leaves and flowers that are outlined with black borders and strongly remind of Henri Matisse’s Fauvism. 

Cuno Amiet «Bauerngarten», 1908, Öl auf Lw., (Detail) Privatsammlung Schweiz, © D. Thalmann, Aarau

In his painting Bauerngarten (cottage garden) from 1908, Amiet depicts an overwhelming and dominant flora in the style of divisionism with long and sometimes pastose brushstrokes. His tightly arranged brush strokes constitute a rich vegetation, flowers, fences and in the foreground a bowed figure. Here, Amiet refuses to depict any details – therefore, the forms and figures seem to merge with the painting’s pictorial structure. The canvas, which Amiet painted with mainly green shades, captivates through the dynamics of the brushwork. In contrast to the rather well-arranged brushwork in Bauerngarten, the artist choses a looser style for his painting Blühender Obstgarten (blooming fruit garden) that he painted 8 years later, in 1916. Because of the painting’s red, green and blue complementary colours, it evokes an intense flickering impression.

Cuno Amiet «Blühender Obstgarten», 1916, Öl auf Lw., (Detail) Privatsammlung Schweiz, © D. Thalmann, Aarau

Splendid colours can be equally spotted in Blumengarten (flower garden), painted in 1928. While the colourfulness correspond to the liveliness in Blühenden Obstgarten, this later canvas shows a more detailed representation. Flowers and leaves are sharply delineated from their environment. Amiet arranges the flower beds in parallel order and consequently creates a serene composition..  

Cuno Amiet «Blumengarten», 1928, WVZ-Nr.: 1928.12, Privatsammlung Schweiz, © D. Thalmann, Aarau

Whenever Amiet integrates figures to his garden compositions, he preferably depicts women. In any case, the artist masterly embeds his figures into his painting’s luminous colours, so that they become part of the whole composition. Regardless of the style  Amiet's depiction of nature and gardens are always impressive, powerful and full of fascination.