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The Artist’s Future Wife. Etching and aquatint on wove paper. 15.2 x 12 cm. 1895. Signed “C Amiet” in pencil at the bottom right. Mandach 6.
Cuno Amiet is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern painting in Switzerland, but also worked as an etcher, wood engraver and lithographer. From 1886 he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, after which he studied with his friend Giovanni Giacometti at the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1892 the young artist spent what was an extremely important year for him in Pont-Aven in Brittany, where he befriended students of Paul Gauguin such as Paul Sérusier, Émile Bernard and Roderic O’Conor and also came into contact with paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. Amiet’s works, which were now shown with increasing frequency at exhibitions, soon attracted the attention of Die Brücke, a group of Expressionist artists which came to regard him as one of their own and, at the request of Erich Heckel, made him a member.
Portraits enjoyed a special status in Amiet’s oeuvre at an early stage. The present sensitive and subtly observed portrait is one of the many Amiet took of his wife Anna Luder, the daughter of a publican from Hellsau, whom he married in 1898. The profile portrait radiates an affectionate reverence and is of great graphical delicacy. The young woman’s face is only slightly lighter than the dark, densely hatched background; a small, light ribbon on her hat provides a striking visual focus. A similar portrait of the young woman, which was probably inspired by the etching, can be found in Amiet’s painting The Green Hat (1897–98, Kunstmuseum Solothurn, inv. no. B I 39). Early prints by Amiet such as that on offer here are rare. Many of his early works, including prints and fifty paintings, were destroyed by a fire in the Munich Glaspalast in 1931.
A superb, inky and contrasting impression with wide margins around the distinct platemark. Minor ageing and traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.