Swiss painter and sculptor; one of the leading pioneers of Post-Impressionism in Switzerland. Born in Solothurn. Received his first lessons in painting from Buchser, then studied 1886-8 at the Munich Academy. Met Giovanni Giacometti and went with him to Paris to study at the Académie Julian 1888-91; influenced by Manet. In Paris again 1892 was influenced by the work of Hodler, then spent a year at Pont-Aven in Brittany in contact with Bernard, Sérusier, O'Conor and other members of Gauguin's circle; began to simplify his drawing and use pure colours. Returned to Switzerland in 1893, living first at Basle, then Solothurn. First one-man exhibition with Hodler and Giovanni Giacometti at the Kunstlerhaus, Zurich, 1898. Settled in 1898 at Oschwand in the Bernese countryside, drawing much of his inspiration thenceforth from the surrounding orchards, fields and mountains. Also made some sculptures (portrait heads) from 1918 and executed a small number of mural paintings, including several in fresco. Fifty of his most important paintings were destroyed in a fire in the Munich Glaspalast in 1931. Died in Oschwand.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.8