Cuno Amiet (Swiss, 1868–1961) was a painter, illustrator, sculptor, and graphic artist, and pioneer of Modern Art in Switzerland. Born in Solothurn, Amiet apprenticed with painter Frank Buchser, before attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he formed a lifelong friendship with Giovanni Giacometti. Both artists transferred to the Académie Julian in Paris, but Amiet, unsatisfied with the training he received there, transferred again to Pont Aven in Brittany.

Amiet spent 13 months in Brittany, where he was exposed to the works of Post-Impressionist painters such as Paul Gaugin, Émile Bernard, and Paul Sérusier. Inspired by these works, Amiet returned to Switzerland in 1893, where he set up his own studio.

Gradually developing his own style, the artist had his first solo exhibition in 1905, at the Künstlerhaus in Zurich, and caught the attention of German Expressionists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, all of whom were members of the group Die Brücke. Cuno remained a part of Die Brücke until its dissolution in 1913.

Amiet painted more than 4,000 paintings during his lifetime, including 1,000 portraits, and became known for his brightly colored palette and expressionistic brushstrokes. Though primarily known as a painter of landscapes and winter themes, later in his career, his work became increasingly abstract, focusing on studies of space and light. He also began experimenting with sculpture in the 1920s, producing several bronze and marble busts.

Today, his works can be found in major institutions around the world, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, and the Kunstmuseum Basel in Switzerland.

Timeline

1868
Born in Solothurn, Switzerland
1961
Died in Oschwand, Switzerland