Hans Aeschbacher

1906 (Zurich) - 1980 (Zurich)

Aeschbacher was a painter, graphic artist and sculptor. At first he learnt the trade of a printer, but already in 1926, after getting familiar with the works of master painters in Rome, he started drawing and painting himself. The artist taught himself painting and painted landscapes and portraits until the 1930s. The female torso is in the core of his graphic art. In 1936, he turned to sculpture. At the beginning, he experimented with plaster and terracotta, later he discovered stone and bronze. His first portraits, figures and torsi followed the Greek and Egyptian sculpture.

In 1952/53, he made a step to a more abstract formal vocabulary creating high steles of geometric, prismatic, broken shape, characterized by a reduced base, becoming larger with height. Other works consisting of individual cubic parts protrude horizontally into their environment. From the end of the 1960s, some of his works featured open bow shapes. The material is of special importance in Aeschbacher's work, insofar as it has considerable influence on how the sculpture takes shape. Besides marble, concrete and extrusive rocks, the artist also used acrylic glass from 1972. He was a master in trimming and cutting these materials, playing with the stress field between dynamics and statics.

Besides a series of personal exhibitions, Aeschbacher’s works were also shown at the Venice Biennale in 1958 and 1968, as well as at the Kassel documenta in 1959 and 1964. Aeschbacher worked until shortly before his death in January 1980. His pictorial œuvre comprises 190 works. In 1947, he was awarded the Conrad-Ferdinand-Meyer Prize, in 1966, the Hans-Arp-Prize. In 1973, Hans Aeschbacher received the Prize of honor of the Canton of Zurich, in 1977 the Art award of the City of Zurich.