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Artists Biography

Fritz Zuber-Buhler

Swiss 1822 - 1896
Fritz Zuber-Buhler was born in 1822 in Le Locle, Switzerland, but moved to Paris at the age of sixteen to begin his training with Louis Grosclaude before officially entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the atelier of Francois-Edouard Picot. It was Picot who had created an entire artistic lineage of painters schooled in the academic style and tradition, as he himself was an academic painter originally trained under Jacques Louis David. The teacher of not only Zuber-Buhler, but also Zuber-Buhler’s contemporaries such as Bouguereau, Alexandre Cabanel, Léon Perrault, among many others, Picot continued the principles of the academic tradition by passing them on to his many students, who equally became academic-style painters.

Supplementing their basic, but rigorous, training at the École in Paris, many students continued to make pilgrimages to Italy, which remained a source of inspiration to many artists, whether for the possibility to view paintings from the old master’s or to learn an elevated form of landscape painting. Zuber-Buhler was a prominent student at the Berlin Academy between 1843 and 1844. Zuber-Buhler may have spent time in Italy prior to undertaking further study in Germany, enriching his work with experiences both in and out of the studio setting.

After traveling and studying in Paris, Italy, and perhaps Berlin, Zuber-Buhler returned to Paris to establish his name as a leading artist. He began exhibiting at the annual Paris Salon, debuting in 1850 with L’Enfance de Bacchus (The Childhood of Bacchus), La Madone et l’Enfant Jesus (The Madonna and the Child Jesus), Portrait de Mme la marquise de F… (Portrait of Madame Marquise), and with La Poussière Retourne à la Poussière et l’Esprit Remonte à Dieu Qui l’a Donné (Dust Returns to Dust and the Spirit Rises up to the God who Gave it). Zuber-Buhler exhibited prolifically throughout his career, often entering several works in the Paris Salon simultaneously. He began also to exhibit drawings, pastels, and watercolours into his oeuvre and equally submitted those to the Salons. In 1867 he exhibited in the United States at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts showing The Pet Kitten, he was also was part of the 1877 exhibition for which he received an accolade.

It is clear that the style Zuber-Buhler was bowing to the popular genre called for by patrons and academies alike, this was perfectly illustrated by the sheer number of paintings shown at his debut in 1850. Zuber-Buhler entries also suggest his interest in varying themes, but nevertheless focused on them all with a great eye for universal appeal. He was interested in executing works with mythological and religious themes, as well as completing portraits commissions. Both mythological and religiously inspired themes were of the highest order at the annual public exhibitions and were looked upon with the utmost admiration. Zuber-Buhler continued to show at the Paris Salon until 1891.

Zuber-Buhler died November 23rd, 1896 in Paris. Throughout his career, Zuber-Buhler advanced the tenets of the academic style established in his early days of the ecole des Beaux-Arts. He became part of a long and well-established academic tradition, which, by the latter years of his career, had entered a period of decline, not in terms of popularity with patrons, but in relation to the modernists who began challenging this academic perspective. Despite any rivalries between opposing artistic factions, Zuber-Buhler’s art would certainly have found popularity with both Second Empire and Third Republic audiences in France and would echo the growing prosperity of these eras.

His works are to be found in the museums in Bern, Le Locle, Neuchatel, Switzerland and in Montpellier, France

Works by this artist…

  • Beaute etendue avec son Chat
    Beaute etendue avec son Chat
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