Hunziker, Max - by John Kohan
Max Hunziker (1907-1976)
by John Kohan
Switzerland can claim two internationally-renowned names in modern art: Sculptor Alberto Giacometti and Painter Paul Klee. Giacometti’s haunting stick figures evoke universal spiritual themes, and Klee created a whole series of angel images in the year before his death in 1940. To find a contemporary Swiss artist, who consistently turned to the Judeo-Christian tradition for inspiration, we must look to Max Hunziker. Better known in the German-speaking world, this multi-faceted creator of paintings, prints, book illustrations, and stained glass explored biblical themes in contemporary, at times, enigmatic ways throughout his career.
Der Psalter, 1966
The son of a milkman, Hunziker was born, lived, worked, and died in Zurich. As the youngest of twelve children, he was given the chance to receive a formal education and studied to be a school teacher, before deciding to take up art. In 1920, Hunziker traveled to Florence and spent five years in Italy, absorbing its rich legacy of sacred imagery. With support from Swiss Art Collector and Philanthropist Georg Reinhart, he continued his art education in Paris and Southern France from 1926 until 1939. Hunziker was especially drawn to the stained glass windows of the cathedrals in Paris, Chartres, Bourges, and Le Mans. He considered two modern French masters to be his mentors: Paul Cezanne and George Rouault.