Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Cuno Amiet

Die Wäsche, ca 1905
oil on canvas
38.5 x 46.0 cm
The theme of wash frequently surfaces in Cuno Amiet’s work in the years 1904 and 1905. Several preparatory drawings and a series of paintings done over those two years enable him to compose a final version entitled Die Wäsche (The Wash), since destroyed.

Like certain impressionists captivated by the study of light on dazzling white, Amiet discovers his own fascination with the repetition of this motif from daily life. His paintings depicting wash adopt a range of compositions (sometimes viewed straight on, sometimes at an angle, at varying distances from the subject) and styles (using flat areas of colour or little pointillist daubs of paint), and occasionally feature a woman.

The version of Die Wäsche conserved in the Collection Pictet focuses on the whiteness of the cloth hanging in a landscape that is done up in the colours of Indian Summer. The sheets, lifted and filled by the wind, make this nearly monochrome group a dancing abstract mass. Like the snow painted again and again by Claude Monet, the colour white here is not in fact confined to white but rather runs through a range of subtle variations of yellow or blue. The background of the picture is alive with small touches of paint that conjure up a setting of foliage swept by the light and wind. The simplicity of the subject is treated with a concentration of force in rapid gestures that leave a trace in the thick, colourful pigment. The mark that is visible on the upper middle of the canvas makes clear this oil painting is indeed an easel study that was done outdoors.
Cuno Amiet, Die Wäsche, Le Linge, ca 1905