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Charles Wyrsch facts for kids

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Charles Wyrsch (5 July 1920 – 16 June 2019) was a Swiss artist and painter.

Early life

Wyrsch was born in Buochs, Nidwalden in July 1920. His mother died seven days after having given birth on puerperal fever. His father, Carl II Wyrsch, married a second time. From this marriage came eight children. Wyrsch grew up with his grandparents, Carl I and Maria in Buochs. From 1935 to 1938, he was trained as a painter at his father's place.

Like his great grand uncle Johann Melchior Wyrsch, he aspired to study in depth art in some of the most prestigious Swiss and French art schools.

Art studies

From 1939 to 1943 he attended the School of Applied Arts in Lucerne.

In the same year Wyrsch left for academic study at the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts" in Geneva. To top off his studies, he was awarded the Prize of the City of Geneva. This price included the use of a studio for a year, five hundred francs and ten days' journey to Paris with art students from all over Switzerland. Back in Switzerland, he took three months private lessons with Albert Pfister in Erlenbach and learned to know the Fauves and the Expressionists.

After this examination favored by Pfister on colors he followed another program at a school of applied arts, this time in Basel with Ernst Buchner and the sculptor Walter Bodmer, with whom he mainly dealt with matters of form. In 1949 he temporarily moved to Paris.

Personal life

In 1953, he married Edith Hug and settled to Lachen Schwyz. He got his first big orders and successes.

The municipality of Buochs ordered a fresco for the new school building. In the 1950s Wyrsch painted his first series of paintings of the "barons". The elongated faces with hat reminiscent of Modigliani and Utrillo, their paintings he learned during his time in Paris. The turning point in the creative process of Wyrsch took place towards the end of 1950.

Wyrsch died in June 2019 at the age of 98.


In 1961, he moved with his family to Lucerne. In the monograph by Markus Brischgi (1990), he says: "... The objectivity had driven me into a corner; I destroyed many works and painted with a palette knife in a true color turmoil new pictures ... ". Up to this point, he was committed to the real matter and traditional painting. The affinity for abstraction is a key moment in his life, acting on his later representational paintings.

During this time he also abstracted images of Christ. The Passion theme was deepened by the dramatic experience of the death of his three-year-old little daughter who died on a Good Friday. Under this impression he painted his most famous work, the "Stations of the Cross", 1966, for the Pius Church in Meggen.


In 1971, he moved with his family to Kriens where he bought an atelier house from a painter. In the 1970s, finds Wyrsch, through the stimulation of Bacon's art which represents a new vision of objectivity, to represent back to the people.

In the previously mentioned monography of 1990, he said: "... Bacon's new view of objectivity awakened in me the desire to return to figurative representation of the people, after I had designed color spaces under the influence of Mark Rothko."

He struggled for forms of expressions in a new and accurate representation of the people in our time. Art was for him the medium coverage.



Wyrsch's artistic career was based on the expressive of figurative paintings, which he gave up in favor of abstraction for about ten years, to return to the figurative.

His motives were selected by Wyrsch from the traditional genus species. He dealt with Velásquez and El Greco and was inspired by contemporaries. But his paintings remain independent and can be assigned to any style. He described himself as a man of the present and was open to everything new.


  • Krienser Kulturpreis 1995
  • Kunst- und Kulturpreis der Stadt Luzern, 1980
  • Johann-Melchior-Wyrsch-Preis 1977
  • Anerkennungspreis der Stadt Luzern, 1965
  • Eidgenössisches Kunststipendium, 1960
  • Eidgenössisches Kunststipendium, 1956
  • Eidgenössisches Kunststipendium, 1953


  • Edith by Charles Wyrsch, Edition Periferia, 2002 – 56 pages
  • Charles Wyrsch: Werke 1942–1990 by Markus Britschgi, Edition P. von Matt, 1990 – 167 pages
  • Charles Wyrsch Peinture by Hilar Stadler, Jean-Christophe Amman 2010 – 108 pages
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