Famous Swiss Artists & Painters

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Find out more about the greatest Swiss Painters, including Le Corbusier, H. R. Giger, Hermann Hesse, René Auberjonois and Paul Klee.
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 1 
Paul Klee
(Swiss-born German Artist Whose Work Exhibited Shades of 'Expressionism', 'Cubism', and 'Surrealism')
Paul Klee
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Birthdate: December 18, 1879
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland
Died: May 29, 1940
The father of abstract art, Paul Klee’s works contained elements of surrealism, cubism, and expressionism, but they were not part of any specific school. He was also a skilled violinist and an avid reader. He also taught at the Bauhaus and experimented with various media, such as oil, watercolor, and ink.
 2 
H. R. Giger
(Painter)
H. R. Giger
4
Birthdate: February 5, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chur
Died: May 12, 2014

H. R. Giger was a Swiss artist remembered for his airbrushed images of machines and humans intertwined in cold biomechanical relationships. He is also remembered for his work as part of the special effects team that worked in Ridley Scott's 1979 science fiction horror film Alien, for which the team won an Academy Award

 3 
Alberto Giacometti
(Sculptor, Painter)
Alberto Giacometti
5
Birthdate: October 10, 1901
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Borgonovo, Bregaglia, Switzerland
Died: January 11, 1966

Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss painter, sculptor, printmaker, and draftsman. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most important sculptors, Giacometti's career and his friendship with American writer James Lord inspired the 2017 British-American drama film Final Portrait, in which Alberto Giacometti is portrayed by Australian actor Geoffrey Roy Rush.

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 4 
Henry Fuseli
(Swiss Painter Whose Paintings are Among the Most Dramatic, Original, and Sensual Works of His Time)
Henry Fuseli
3
Birthdate: February 7, 1741
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: April 17, 1825

Swiss artist Henry Fuseli is remembered for the drama and sensuality showcased in his paintings. Though born to a landscape and portrait painter, he was initially taught theology. After leaving the country due to political risks, he made it to Britain and Italy. He later contributed to the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery.

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 5 
Sophie Taeuber-Arp
(Swiss Artist, Textile Designer, and Sculptor Whose Multimedia Works Bridged the Gap Between Fine and Applied Arts)
Sophie Taeuber-Arp
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Birthdate: January 19, 1889
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Davos, Switzerland
Died: January 13, 1943

Swiss-French artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp initially studied textile design and later began creating multimedia art called Duo-Collages, along with her husband, German-French abstract artist Jean Arp. Apart from teaching at an art and craft school, the Dadaist had also used dance, painting, and sculpture to showcase her artistic talent.

 6 
Milo Moire
(Performance artist)
Milo Moire
5
Birthdate: May 7, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Switzerland

Though a qualified psychologist, Milo Moire is more popular as a porn actor and a performance artist who uses the female form for her art pieces. From creating abstract art by throwing out paint-filled eggs from her vagina, to walking around cities, asking passers-by to touch her breasts, she has done it all.

 7 
Angelica Kauffman
(Swiss Neoclassical Painter and One of 18th-Century Europe’s Most Famous Portraitists)
Angelica Kauffman
3
Birthdate: October 30, 1741
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chur, Switzerland
Died: November 5, 1807

One of the two women founder members of London’s Royal Academy, Angelica Kauffman was born to a painter father in Switzerland and was quite a prodigy, who mastered several languages and the arts of music and painting quite quickly. The history painter is best remembered for her landscapes and portraits.

 8 
Arnold Böcklin
(Symbolist painter)
Arnold Böcklin
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1827
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: January 16, 1901

Though born to a silk trader, Arnold Böcklin ditched his family business and deviated toward art instead. Initially part of the Düsseldorf school of painting, the Symbolist painter later found inspiration in Rome and infused mythological elements in his art. Isle of the Dead and Pan in the Bulrushes remain his best-known works.

 9 
Johannes Itten
(Swiss Expressionist Painter & Designer Known for His Work 'Farbkreis')
Johannes Itten
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Südern-Linden, Switzerland
Died: March 25, 1967

Swiss expressionist painter Johannes Itten developed his own color theories. Before joining the German art school Bauhaus, he had received elementary school teachers’ training. He often skipped correcting his students’ mistakes, fearing it might spoil their creative impulse. He followed the neo-Zoroastrian fire cult Mazdaznan and practiced meditation and vegetarianism.

 10 
Félix Vallotton
(Former artist and painter known for his paintings of nudes and interiors and in particular for his distinctive woodcuts)
Félix Vallotton
3
Birthdate: December 28, 1865
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: December 29, 1925

Born in Switzerland, Félix Vallotton later moved to Paris to study art and grew to be one of the prominent members of the Les Nabis. Renowned for his woodcuts, he mostly focused on nudes and interiors. Politically conscious, he often infused political themes in his art, such as The Demonstration.

 11 
Méret Oppenheim
(Surrealist artist and photographer)
Méret Oppenheim
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 15, 1985
Méret Oppenheim is best remembered for her surrealist art such as Object: Breakfast in Fur. She also modeled for artists. Throughout her career, she had created furniture, jewelry, and even poetry. In her performance piece Spring Feast, she laid out a banquet on top of a nude woman.
 12 
Adolf Wölfli
(Swiss Artist Who was One of the First Artists to Be Associated with the Art Brut)
Adolf Wölfli
3
Birthdate: February 29, 1864
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bern, Switzerland
Died: November 6, 1930

A pioneering figure of outside art, or Art Brut, Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli had a traumatic childhood after being abandoned by his father. Following his mother’s death, he grew up in foster homes. Arrested for an attempted assault and riddled with schizophrenia, he penned a memoir that contained his art, music, and poetry.

 13 
Jean Tinguely
(Swiss Sculptor Best Known for His Kinetic Art Sculptural Machines (Métamatics))
Jean Tinguely
3
Birthdate: May 22, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fribourg, Switzerland
Died: August 30, 1991

Part of the Nouveau Réalisme art movement, Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely developed a form of kinetic art known as metamatics, which consisted of self-destructing sculptures. Homage to New York, installed at the Museum of Modern Art was one of his best-known works. He ridiculed man’s dependence on technology through his works.

 14 
Max Bill
(Architect, Painter, Sculptor, Graphic designer, Artist, University teacher)
Max Bill
3
Birthdate: December 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Winterthur
Died: December 9, 1994

Known for his advertisement designs and abstract art, Swiss graphic designer and artist Max Bill was initially trained as a silversmith. He later also taught art in Switzerland and Germany. He not only established the Ulm School of Design, but also designed its building and its academic programs.

 15 
Pipilotti Rist
(Swiss Visual Artist Best Known for Her Video Art and Installation Art)
Pipilotti Rist
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Grabs, Switzerland

Pipilotti Rist is a Swiss visual artist renowned for producing experimental installation art and video art. Categorized as feminist art, Rist's artwork is also described as abstract art, intimate, and surreal. Over the years, Pipilotti Rist's work has earned her prestigious awards like the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, Joan Miró Prize, and Best Architects '11 Award.

 16 
Ferdinand Hodler
(One of the Best-Known Swiss Painters of the Nineteenth Century)
Ferdinand Hodler
4
Birthdate: March 14, 1853
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bern, Switzerland
Died: May 19, 1918

Orphaned at 12, Ferdinand Hodler moved to Thurn to assist a well-known local painter, and at 18, he began his artistic career in Geneva. Remembered for his iconic pieces such as Die Nacht, he specialized in portraits and landscapes. His signature style included linear symmetry.

 17 
Urs Fischer
(Sculptor, Painter)
Urs Fischer
3
Birthdate: May 2, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Switzerland

Swiss conceptual artist Urs Fischer uses sculptures and installations to explore themes traditionally associated with painting, such as nudes and still lifes. His artworks, such as What if the Phone Rings, are often self-destructing. He had initially worked as a bouncer in clubs to support his photography lessons.

 18 
Christian Marclay
(American-Swiss Visual Artist and Composer)
Christian Marclay
3
Birthdate: January 11, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Rafael, California, United States

American-Swiss artist Christian Marclay has revolutionized art by inventing turntablism, a method of manipulating sounds. He is also known for his unusual art installations, such as the video The Clock, a compilation of film scenes featuring clocks, which eventually won him the Golden Lion at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

 19 
Jean-Étienne Liotard
3
Birthdate: December 22, 1702
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: June 12, 1789

Swiss-born French-origin painter is best remembered for his pastel portraits. Having spent a considerable part of his career in Constantinople, he adopted Turkish costumes and sported a beard, thus earning the nickname the Turkish painter when he traveled to Vienna. His portraits include those of Empress Maria Theresa and the Princess of Wales.

 20 
Gunta Stölzl
(Textile artist)
Gunta Stölzl
2
Birthdate: March 5, 1897
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: April 22, 1983

Gunta Stölzl created history when she became the first female master at the Bauhaus. While she initially studied applied arts, such as glass and mural paintings and ceramics, she also volunteered as a Red Cross nurse during World War I. She later focused on hand-woven tapestries and also owned a weaving mill.

 21 
Princess Fadia of Egypt
(Princess, Artists)
Princess Fadia of Egypt
2
Birthdate: December 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Died: December 28, 2002

The youngest daughter of the Egyptian king Farouk I, Princess Fadia escaped to Italy and then to Switzerland after his father was deposed in the 1952 Egyptian Revolution. She later established herself as a talented painter and an equestrian. Well-versed in multiple languages, she also worked as a translator.

 22 
Karl Bodmer
(Swiss Artist Best Known for His Participation in Prince Maximilian Zu Wied-Neuwied’s Missouri River Expedition)
Karl Bodmer
2
Birthdate: February 11, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zurich, Switzerland
Died: October 30, 1893

Best known for his expedition to North America, accompanying explorer Prince Maximilian, artist Karl Bodmer created realistic illustrations of various North American natives for Maximilian’s book. Initially trained in art by his engraver uncle, he later became a major figure of the French Barbizon School of art.

 23 
Anton Graff
(Artist)
Anton Graff
2
Birthdate: November 18, 1736
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winterthur, Switzerland
Died: June 22, 1813

Swiss artist Anton Graff is remembered for his state portraits of various Saxon rulers. A self-portrait that he sent to Dresden earned him the positions of the court painter of Saxony and the portrait painting teacher at the Dresden Art Academy. He was a major figure of the Neoclassical movement in art.

 24 
Marianne von Werefkin
2
Birthdate: September 10, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tula, Russia
Died: February 6, 1938

Known for her tempera paintings, Russian artist Marianne von Werefkin had started drawing at 14. She later lived and worked in cities such as Munich and Zurich. Specializing in landscapes and portraits, she also contributed to the Blauer Reiter group and later established the Großer Bär group.

 25 
Matthäus Merian
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1593
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: June 19, 1650

Though born in Switzerland, engraver Matthäus Merian mostly worked in Germany. Best remembered for his topographical works, he also worked for the publishing house of J. T. de Bry and later married his daughter, taking over the business. His work took him to places such as Paris, Basle, and Nancy.

 26 
Albert Anker
(Swiss Painter and Illustrator Known for His Popular Depictions of Village Life)
Albert Anker
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1831
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ins, Switzerland
Died: July 16, 1910

Best remembered for his still lifes, Swiss painter Albert Anker is regarded as Switzerland’s national painter. While he initially studied theology, he later deviated toward art. Sleeping Girl in Walde and Still Life: Tea Set remain 2 of his best-known works. He also became a knight of the Légion d'honneur.

 27 
René Auberjonois
(Swiss Post-impressionist Painter and One of the Leading Swiss Artists of the 20th Century)
René Auberjonois
2
Birthdate: August 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montagny-près-Yverdon, Switzerland
Died: October 11, 1957

One of the most prominent Swiss artists of the 20th century, René Auberjonois was part of the post-impressionist era. Born to affluent parents, he experimented with music and caricature, before choosing painting as his vocation. He was also the grandfather of American actor René Auberjonois, known as Odo from Star Trek.

Eugène Grasset
2

Swiss Art Nouveau designer and artist Eugène Grasset was the son of a carpenter and sculptor. While he initially studied architecture, he was later inspired by the artworks of Japan and Egypt and worked as a painter, sculptor, and decorative artist in Paris. He also designed posters, postcards, and stamps.

 29 
Harald Szeemann
(Artist, art historian)
Harald Szeemann
2
Birthdate: June 11, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bern, Switzerland
Died: February 18, 2005
 30 
Daniel Spoerri
(Painter, Choreographer, University teacher)
Daniel Spoerri
2
Birthdate: March 27, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Galați

Romanian-born Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri is best known for creating snare-pictures, which consist of object bits, usually tableware, attached to a board and put up on the wall. Interestingly, he had initially studied classical dance and had even been the State Opera of Bern’s lead dancer. He is associated with the Fluxus movement.

 31 
Rodolphe Topffer
(Author, Painter)
Rodolphe Topffer
2
Birthdate: January 31, 1799
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: June 8, 1846

Swiss cartoonist Rodolphe Topffer is remembered as the pioneer of comic strips. The son of a caricaturist, he initially taught at and ran a boarding school, where he first began drawing caricatures to attract his students’ attention. He also taught literature at the University of Geneva.

 32 
Cuno Amiet
(Former Artist known for Painting, graphic arts, illustration, sculpture)
Cuno Amiet
1
Birthdate: March 28, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Solothurn, Switzerland
Died: July 6, 1961

Painter Cuno Amiet is largely credited with bringing in modern art to Switzerland. Known for his signature use of color dots and pastel shades, he created more then 1,000 self-portraits and countless landscapes. Associated with the expressionist movement, he later became part of Swiss Federal Art Commission.

 33 
Moina Mathers
0
Birthdate: February 28, 1865
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: July 25, 1928

An occultist who led the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Moina Mathers was the sister of Nobel Prize-winning philosopher Henri Bergson. Apart from serving as a priestess and performing rituals for her husband’s magical order, she also devoted herself to art. She later launched the Alpha et Omega Lodge.

 34 
Dimitri
(Clown and mime artist)
Dimitri
1
Birthdate: September 18, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ascona, Switzerland
Died: July 19, 2016
 35 
Urs Graf
(Painter)
Urs Graf
1
Birthdate: 1485 AD
Birthplace: Solothurn, Switzerland
Died: 1529 AD

Born to a goldsmith, Urs Graf was initially trained by his father. He later created countless artworks, mostly engravings, etchings, woodcuts, and drawings. A mercenary, he often included military themes in his creations. Woman Bathing Her Feet, his etching from 1513, was one of his best-known works.

 36 
Jost Amman
(Artist)
Jost Amman
1
Birthdate: June 13, 1539
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: March 17, 1591

One of the greatest 16th-century illustrators, Swiss-born artist Jost Amman later moved to Germany, where he created most of his artworks. He had also initially designed glass paintings. His engravings and woodcuts include scenes from history, hunting, and warfare. Das Ständebuch was one of his best-known works.

 37 
Hans Erni
(Swiss artist)
Hans Erni
1
Birthdate: February 21, 1909
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lucerne, Switzerland
Died: March 21, 2015

Swiss artist Hans Erni is best remembered for his commissioned artworks. He designed posters, Olympic medals, and postage stamps and drew several murals for renowned organizations such as the UN and the Red Cross. It is rumored, several bank notes designed by him were not printed due to his Communist propaganda.

 38 
Florence Henri
1
Birthdate: June 28, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: July 24, 1982

Though born in the US, Florence Henri traveled to various places, such as Silesia, Rome, and London, following her parents’ death. Initially well-versed in the piano, she later focused on painting. At age 34, she was introduced to photography at the Bauhaus and later explored techniques such as the photomontage and negative photography.

 39 
Franz Anton Bustelli
1
Birthdate: April 12, 1723
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Locarno, Switzerland
Died: April 18, 1763

Not much is known about artist Franz Anton Bustelli’s early life, except that he worked at a porcelain factory. One of the greatest figures of the Rococo style of art, he created porcelain figures of gods, street vendors, and even Oriental characters. His signature style included the use of rich colors.

 40 
Alice Boner
(Painter, Sculptor)
Alice Boner
0
Birthdate: July 22, 1889
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Legnano, Italy
Died: April 13, 1981
 41 
Jill Mulleady
1
Birthdate: 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguayan-born artist Jill Mulleady received her art education in London and now lives and works in LA. Known for her symbolically rich paintings, she depicts known locations and people, such as authors and artists, in dreamy scenarios. She also designs the galleries where her paintings are exhibited.

 42 
Salomon Gessner
(Swiss Painter and Poet)
Salomon Gessner
1
Birthdate: April 1, 1730
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: March 2, 1788

Born to a publisher and bookseller, Salomon Gessner initially focused on landscape painting and etching and later devoted himself to poetry and pastoral prose. He co-founded the Helvetic Society and also served as a town councillor. Idyllen and Der Tod Abels remain his most significant written works.

 43 
Jacques Chessex
(Swiss Poet, Painter and Essayist)
Jacques Chessex
1
Birthdate: March 1, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Payerne, Switzerland
Died: October 9, 2009

One of the most significant Swiss-born French authors, Jacques Chessex scripted history as the first Swiss author to win the French prize Prix Goncourt, for his novel L'Ogre. He had a heart attack and collapsed while discussing a play at a public event and died shortly after.

 44 
Max Haufler
(Film actor)
Max Haufler
0
Birthdate: June 4, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: June 25, 1965

Remembered as the first Swiss actor to make it big in Hollywood, Max Haufler was initially trained as a painter. Known for his iconic roles such as those of Barbarossa in Hinter den sieben Gleisen, he also turned to direction. Failing to raise money for an ambitious project, he eventually hung himself.

Niklaus Manuel Deutsch
0
Birthdate: 1484 AD
Birthplace: Bern, Switzerland
Died: April 28, 1530

Niklaus Manuel Deutsch was not just a soldier and a statesman from Switzerland, but also a talented painter. A major figure of Swiss Renaissance art, he was initially inspired by Italian painters and later included mythological and spiritual themes in his works such as Pyramus and Thisbe.

 46 
Jean Petitot
(Painter)
Jean Petitot
0
Birthdate: July 12, 1607
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: April 3, 1691

The son of a renowned sculptor and architect, Jean Petitot grew up to be a pioneering enamel miniature portratist. He was patronized by Charles I of England and Louis XIV of France. Following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he had also been imprisoned for a while.

 47 
Hans Aeschbacher
0
Birthdate: January 18, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: January 27, 1980

Initially trained as a printer, Hans Aeschbacher later learned drawing, painting, and sculpting by himself. Using terra-cotta, plaster, and stone, he crested abstract masterpieces such as Abstract Faces. He later also used porous lava rock and sculpted giant artworks, some of which were almost 15 feet high.

 48 
Hans Conrad Escher von der Linth
(Swiss Scientist and Politician Who Was President of the Great Council of the Helvetic Republic)
Hans Conrad Escher von der Linth
0
Birthdate: August 24, 1767
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: March 9, 1823

Swiss scientist and politician Hans Conrad Escher von der Linth was also a talented artist. He led the Great Council of the Helvetic Republic as its president and co-launched the reformist journal Schweizer Republikaner. His best-known projects remain the survey of the Swiss Alps and his plan to tame the Linth river.