1871 . morges . switzerland

1942 . ballaigues nursing home . france


Multi-gifted (he studied engineering, violin, architecture and painting), Louis Soutter married a young American with whom he moved in 1897 to the United States and became director of the department Fine Arts at Colorado College. Despite this apparent professional success, he returned in 1902 to Switzerland, where, ill and depressed, he resumed his musical career. Twenty years later, his mental health deteriorated, he was prematurely placed in a hospice for the elderly, in the canton of Vaud, where he spent the rest of his life.

He developed a body of work very different from his previous production, which, starting in 1927, caught the eye and support of his cousin Le Corbusier. An important work too, which evolved considerably over the years, testifying to a progressive form of “unlearning” and liberation from training and conventions, moving towards radical sobriety. The tormented, entangled figures from the so-called “mannerist” period (1930-1935) disappear in his “finger” paintings (1937-1945) in favor of pure figures, reduced to a single trace of extreme intensity, representing often Christ on the Cross.