"Meyer-Amden’s representation does not exhaust itself in the figure per se; rather, it is the expression of a particular experience, bringing forth a form that is simultaneously both objectified and constructed – for him, the one always presupposes the other."
Otto Meyer Amden (b. 1985, Bern, Switzerland) is noted for his idiosyncratic style and oeuvre. Initially training as a lithographer, before attending the School of Arts and Crafts, Zürich, briefly at the Academy of Arts, in Munich, and then joining the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart in 1907. There he would meet Willi Baumeister and Oskar Schlemmer, maintaining a close relationship with both artists until his death, with profound and lasting influence on many Swiss artists of their generation.
A departure from his period in education, in the Autumn of 1912 Meyer-Amden returned from Stuttgart to the Mountain Village of Amden in Switzerland where he lived in a precarious circumstance. The village of Amden had such profound significance to the artist that he would take its name as his own. Meyer-Amden lived in the village until 1928, moving to Zürich where he would spend the years up to his death in 1933 teaching at the School of Artis and Crafts.
Previously, Amden was the place where life-reforming “prophet” Josua Klein founded a utopian commune in 1903, acquiring multiple local farms aiming to develop the mountain village into a place of pilgrimage for seekers of God, spiritualists, and occultists. In Amden, Otto Meyer-Amden created an artist colony and Amden was a place of artistic expression where he would invite contemporaries including Oskar Schlemmer, Johannes Itten, Johannes Mohlzahn.
The mysticism and influence of abstraction filter into all of the work of Amden during this period. He created not only religious and mystical compositions but continuously produced landscapes, portraits of young boys as well as pencil and crayon drawings of everyday life in the village of Amden and the neighboring village Weseen.
Read more on the artist in an excerpt from an essay by Dieter Schwarz, 2019, here.
Otto Meyer-Amden: Works on paper
at OFFSITE: MARC JANCOU CHALET, 2019
In 2019, Marc Jancou Contemporary presented an exhibition of works on paper by Otto Meyer Amden in Rossinière, Switzerland as part of OFFSITE: MARC JANCOU CHALET. This exhibition brought together works that have never been shown together, concentrating on works on paper made during his later period when Meyer-Amden lived in an artist community in the mountain village Amden, which lies above the Walensee. The works presented focus on his use of the figure, particular the young male form and well as portraiture and observational drawing during this period
Learn more about the exhibition in our archive.