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Louis Vonlanthen

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Self-portrait by Louis Vonlanthen (around 1916)

Louis Vonlanthen (* 13 August 1889 in Epagny; † 13 May 1937 in Romont), native of Fribourg and Düdingen, was a Swiss draughtsman and painter.

Life

Louis Vonlanthen: “Gruyères”, 1927, oil on canvas mounted on wall, 13 m², station hall Fribourg/Freiburg

Louis Vonlanthen, son of Claude Vonlanthen, roofer and shingle maker, and Marie-Françoise Pauchard, grew up with two siblings. In search of work and income, the family moved to Neuchâtel, which was developing industrially and where the father found employment with the Compagnie de Tramway in 1891. The integration of the Catholic Vonlanthens in Calvinist Neuchâtel was arduous. Louis attended the Catholic primary school. Soon his talent for drawing was discovered. With the priest’s support, Louis found an apprenticeship as a draftsman with a local architect. In 1909 he took a trip to Florence where he attended the Academy of Art as a visiting student. Here he became acquainted with Tuscany and Umbria and was impressed by the painting of the Italian Quattrocento. Subsequently he occupied himself with sacred art. From 1910 to 1911 he was a pupil of Charles L’Eplattenierr (1874-1946) at the art school in La Chaux-de-Fonds. From 1912 he exhibited regularly and in 1913 became a member of the Société des peintres, sculpteurs et architectes suisse (SPSAS), which gave him access to the cantonal and national salons. A post at the Neuchâtel building office, where he had to read plans, produce architectural drawings and keep track of entries in the land register, provided him with the income he needed to live.

In addition to this activity, he spent two months each summer in his native Fribourg and in Ticino, where he found his preferred subjects: landscapes in the Gruyère region and views of the city of Fribourg or of picturesque Gandria and Lake Neuchâtel and Murten landscapes. From his first exhibitions, the local press recognised him as a remarkable landscape painter. In 1916 he created his monumental work “Neuchâtel” for the station buffet in Lausanne. For the newly built agricultural school in Grangeneuve he was commissioned to paint two compositions: “L’Armailli” and “Le Faucheur”. In 1924 he received a commission from the canton of Fribourg for two oil paintings, which were donated to the ETH Zurich. This resulted in “Le pont de Zaehringen” and “Le pont de Grandfey”.

In 1924 Louis Vonlanthen married Reine Handrick. They lived in Freiburg, where he taught at the city’s girls’ school.

In 1927, the Compagnie des chemins de fer de la Gruyère commissioned him to execute a pictorial composition “Gruyères et les Vanils Noirs” to decorate the entrance hall of the newly built railway station in Fribourg. On the occasion of the Federal Shooting Festival of 1934 in Fribourg, Vonlanthen decorated the entrance hall of the Hotel de Fribourg with a 12-metre-long Fribourg panorama. This hotel was demolished in 1976 due to the construction of the new headquarters of the Fribourg State Bank on this site.[1]

He died in a car accident at the age of 48.[2][3]

Exhibitions

  • 1912: Participation in the salon national in Neuchâtel
  • 1913: Participation in the national exhibition of the SPSAS in Zurich
  • 1914: Participation in the salon national in Bern
  • 1916: wins the SBB competition for the decoration of the new Lausanne station buffet with his oil painting “Neuchâtel
  • 1917: Participation in the salon national in Zurich
  • 1917: Buchs, Donzé, Loup, Schmidt and Vonlanthen exhibition at the Galerie Léopold Robert in Neuchâtel [4]

Literature

  • Caroline Challes and Mellie Jeannet: De la photo à la peinture, la technique de Louis Vonlanthen (1889-1937). In: Société d’histoire du canton de Fribourg (ed.): Annales fribourgeoises. Vol. 81. Fribourg 2019, pp. 87-92 (French ).
  • Patrick Rudaz: Louis Vonlanthen (1889-1937). Architecture du paysage. In: Édité à l’occasion de l’exposition “Architecture de paysage, Louis Vonlanthen (1889-1937)” au Musée gruérien de Bulle du 19 juin au 25 septembre 2005 (= Pro Fribourg [ed.]: Pro Fribourg. No. 147). Fribourg 2005 (French).
  • Béatrice Berset: Un artiste commente une œuvre. In: La Liberté. Fribourg 22 January 1990, p. 33( French).

Web links

Commons: Louis Vonlanthen– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Yvonne Lehnherr: Biographical notes. In: Sensler Heimatmuseum (ed.): Retrospektiv-Ausstellung Louis Vonlanthen (1889-1937). Tafers.
  2. Patrick Rudaz: Louis Vonlanthen (1889-1937). Architecture du paysage (= Pro Fribourg [ed.]: Pro Fribourg. No. 147). Fribourg 2005, p. 11 ( French).
  3. Yvonne Lehnherr: Biographical notes. In: Sensler Heimatmuseum (ed.): Retrospektiv-Ausstellung Louis Vonlanthen (1889-1937). Tafers.
  4. Patrick Rudaz: Louis Vonlanthen (1889-1937). Architecture du paysage (= Pro Fribourg [ed.]: Pro Fribourg. No. 147). Fribourg, pp. 13 + 17 (French).