Wilhelm Gimmi | 1932
Oil on canvas | 46 x 38 cm
Parisian period (1908-1940)
Inventory 12-GIM-0021 | Wilhelm Gimmi Foundation
Photo: Julien Gremaud, Vevey


Artistic features


Carrier of daily burdens

Wilhelm Gimmi is not a news painter. His interests lead him to the subjects of everyday life, the daily gestures, which he strips of all anecdotal evidence to reveal them in a simplicity that is full of universality. The subject is of no importance in itself: it is only a pretext to let poetry express itself, the intimacy stemming from the depth of things.
Laurence Rippstein, Exhibition catalogue p. 53-54


Figure and background | Geometric reminders

Full centre and full height figure, superimposed on a background discreetly signifying the context of the character by a few indications of perspective and a repetition of the angular lines of his posture: the diagonals of the branches of the leafless tree, the vanishing line of the buildings. A solid construction that underlines the impression of both solitude and familiarity between this woman and this bare urban space.


Oil on canvas

From 1917 onwards, Gimmi, weary of doing things after Matisse or Picasso, nourished the ambition to set his work on a personal path that would escape fashions and manners. In his paintings, this intention is expressed in simple forms, without mannerism [...].
Laurence Rippstein, Exhibition catalogue p. 53-54


Dominant: 13217934

Two ranges of grey tones: violets and beiges in subtle complementarity, which unite in an organic whole the character and his context.



Parisian period (1908-1940)

During the four years of the war, he remains hidden with his palette and his models in the vast workshop with its bay windows, a room soaked with friendly light and placid philosophy. It is a real strategic corner from where he attends the walk of the bourgeois and gossips (he explains all this in a very beautiful painting: "Bridge of Mary").
Nesto Jacometti, Exhibition catalogue p. 76

Artistic current:

Personal Synthesis

I can see that everyone is Cézannian, that everyone does modernism (Salon d'Automne) better than Picasso, Matisse and Renoir, but I don't want to do like everyone else and I am certainly more modern by avoiding pastiches. The passage through Cézanne was necessary - I don't deny the influences, on the contrary, they are digested influences - but I never tried to create a clever and easy way for myself, on the contrary. You have to give up a lot of things if you want to create something lasting, because doing something more skilful than Matisse will be out of fashion in a few years. Let's wait. Believe me, I have seen a lot, observed a lot and I can say without pretension that I know modern painting in all its manifestations.
Wilhelm Gimmi, Letter to the Zurich gallery owner Tanner, 1918.

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W Gimmi: Pont-Marie HD