The Riviera, which has to be crossed to reach Italy, is a favourite stop along the Grand Tour and the painters know how to successfully reply to the tourists’ interests.
The “Swiss under-masters” were the originals. During the first half of the 19th century in particular, Aberli, the father and son of the Lory family and Weibel dedicated themselves to the art of engraving. Others such as Ernest Biéler, René Auberjonois and Rodolphe-Théophile Bosshard followed who painted an evolving Lavaux landscape and people on canvas.
Joseph Mallord, William Turner, François Bocion, Gustave Courbet and Ferdinand Hodler were also among those who would wander along the lake-front capturing the light from the water and the sky with their brushes demonstrating their attachment to this wonderful region.
Charms of Lavaux
Artists from 20th Century fell in love with the Riviera. Oskar Kokoschka is by far the most loyal and devoted of all. While he was completing his first views of Lake Geneva in the 1920s, other artists were also working in the area: Le Corbusier, through building a house dedicated to his parents, his mentor Adolf Loos and the musician and sculptor Louis Soutter, gave Lavaux the first example of modern Swiss architecture.
The charms of Lavaux did not stop there. The region inspired many more artists including Marcel Duchamp and the sketcher Hugo Pratt. Lavaux would also persuade the Swedish Théodor couple (pronounced “Teto”) and Ulla Ahrenberg to receive fellow artists at their “du Rocher” property. This allowed almost 500 artists including Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint-Phalle et Christo who stayed between 1960 and 1975 to experience this valuable experimental laboratory near Chexbres.
Source : LEPDOR, Catherine, « Peinture », in Lavaux, Vignoble en terrasses face au lac et aux Alpes, Lavaux World Heritage Site Application File for UNESCO, Cully, January 2006, pp. 18-22. See also JULLIARD ENCKELL, Julie, « Peinture au XXe siècle », in Lavaux, Vignoble en terrasses, Lausanne, Editions Favre, August 2007, pp. 57-61.