Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Fretz, Philippe

Philippe Fretz


Philippe Fretz (1969) is a Swiss painter presently living and working in Geneva. His artistic training in Geneva (1988-92) was supported by a “Stravinsky Prize” and other fellowships while studying at the ‘Atelier du Grütli’. Fretz’s work has been exhibited in many solo and group shows in Switzerland, France and the USA, including the Galerie Athanor and the Galerie du Tableau, Marseille; Ancienne Abbatiale, Bellelay; Galerie ESF, Lausanne; Konsumbäckerei, Solothurn; Barrington Center for the Arts at Gordon College, MA, USA; Galerie Aparté, Lausanne; Halle nord, Genève.


Fretz is also editor of and contributor to publishing house art&fiction with various limited edition artist books which integrate text and image, often combined with exhibitions, lectures, concerts, and conferences. He teaches « Narrative painting » at Gordon College in Orvieto, Italy. He publishes an artist periodical and pursues an image classification project both intitled « In medias res », which can be viewed on his website. 

About my work

I usually work with oil on canvas, the historical technique. My work comes from the artworks I have seen as a child in museums and books. It opens a conversation with the history of images, which I consider a window to the world and to humanity. 

With my work I try to connect daily life and common elements of reality with spirituality. These things can seem only functional to us and repetitive or full of contradictions, yet they are the core of spiritualitty, the body of eternity. We use a lot of effort and imagination to escape reality, because we see it as meaningless suffering. But I believe that it is at reality’s heart that we can find joy. So for me painting is a way to find meaning. A way, under Christ’s light, of compassion and joy. A way to discover Christ’s face in all of mankind. 

The works here presented are all different approaches to the mysteries of the world, human relationships in society and family or the intimacy with God. At prayer, at work, at rest the figures are always situated in places linked with the ones we find in art history.


1. Kugler 360°, angle south-west, 2010, 110 x 180 cm, oil on linnen. Kugler 3600 is a series of 8 paintings about the former Kugler factory in Geneva where I have my studio. Each piece shows a side or an angle of the building and one of its 120 artist’s studios. The city of Geneva and its topograpy where the Rhône and the Arve are joining are simplified and highlighted. Shown are scenes of my daily life that revolve around the mystery of human encounters and interactions.



2. SJCFDDAPDMP X, 2007, 125 x 130 cm, oil on linnen. SJCFDDAPDMP, which stands for ‘Seigneur Jésus-Christ, fils de dieu aie pitié de moi, pécheur,’ is the orthodox prayer of the heart. It is part of a series of 20 paintings constituting a meditation on Christ’s life and passion based on breathing. The figures are of my family’s life as they participate in the incessant prayer recommended by Paul. 


3. Petite Jonction, Bus, 40 x 70 cm, oil on linnen. Petite Jonction, Bus is one of four small paintings about the jonction of the Rhône and the Arve in Geneva. It tells of the relation between man and his surroundings, between solitude and being together. 


4. BS Painting, 13, 2008, 30 x 30 cm, oil on cotton. BS Painting, 13 is one of 20 portraits of idiocy. Idiocy a state of mind when the balance precarious.


5. Kugler, 8, 2010, 60 x 80 cm, ink and gouache on paper. Kugler 8 is one of many daily drawings exploring here and now sensations in relation to both geographical and spiritual orientation questions. 


On the internet