In the Monastery Church from 5.11.2011 to 22.4.2012

Ferdinand Gehr (1896-1996) was the leading church artist of Swiss modernism. Indeed, he was more than that, as his work hovered between spirituality and abstraction. His work is well known and admired in eastern Switzerland and is ideally suited to Schoenthal Monastery. His religious themes combine harmoniously with its Romanesque architecture and the flower watercolours with the monastery garden, his Rhine valley landscapes with the natural beauty of the Jura hills. Gehr, who died the year of his 100th birthday, produced a radiantly colourful oeuvre in an evident spirit of independence and freedom over the course of sixty years. That oeuvre holds a unique position in Swiss art. A trained textile designer, Gehr was confronted with the avant-garde in Paris at an early stage by André Lhote. Gehr particularly absorbed the messages of Matisse and Cézanne, as his church paintings, frescoes and stained-glass windows show. In addition, he was for decades a distinguished master of the colour woodcut.

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