Adolf Dietrich

Switzerland / 1877 - 1957 / wikipedia
Adolf Dietrich (Nov. 9, 1877-June 4, 1957) was a Swiss laborer and, as one of the most renowned naïve artists, one of the leading Swiss painters of the 20th century.

Born to poor farmers in the canton of Thurgau, the youngest of 7 children. Upon discovering his exceptional graphical talents, his schoolteacher suggested that he become a lithographer. His parents, however, refused: their youngest son was needed as a farmhand.

Dietrich would remain in the house of his parents, as a bachelor, for the rest of his life. Because the small farm provided little income, he had to work as a home worker and as a day laborer in a local textile mill as well as in the woods. Only on Sundays was he free to engage in drawing and painting. His first sketchbook dates to 1896, his first paintings to 1900. He created his works without any training or examples; but he did heed the advice of passing landscape painters to trust in his powers of observation.

For years, Dietrich tried without success to have his works shown in public. After his work was first shown in Konstanz in 1913, he received some recognition in Germany, where he was associated with the Neue Sachlichkeit movement and called the "German Rousseau".

...He created all of his works at home in his room, using pencil sketches, self-made photographs, stuffed animals and books as models. Drawing on his powers of observation, Dietrich imbued his still lifes and animal paintings with a strong sense of materiality and executed them with what was for an untrained painter an exceptional precision. His images of people and scenes of the imagination, on the other hand, appear comparatively plain or even awkward.

The artistic merits of Dietrich's works are found in his strong intuitive sense of color, which intensifies the impact of his brightly coloued works, and in his outstanding power of observation, which allowed him to combine precision with great attentiveness of his subjects. (
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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