Otto Meyer-Amden

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Otto Meyer-Amden, landscape, 1913

Otto Meyer-Amden (20 February 1885 as Otto Meyer in Berne - 15. January 1933 in Zurich) was a Swiss painter and graphic artist.

1885-1912: youth and education[edit]

Otto Meyer came after the early death of his mother in 1888 to foster parents and spent his childhood and youth 1892-1900 at a boarding school for Bernburg (Bernese patrician) in Bern. He graduated from 1901 to 1903 in Bern and from 1903 to 1906 in Zurich training as a lithographer. He painted at this time symbolist watercolors. Parallel, he attended evening classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich.

In the years 1906 to 1907 Meyer studied at the Art Academy in Munich, he lived there with his brother Ernst. In the years 1907 to 1908, he moved to the Stuttgart Art Academy, where he was from 1909 master student of Adolf Hölzel. In Stuttgart, he became friends with Oskar Schlemmer, Willi Baumeister and other artists. Meyer dealt, among others, intensively reading of Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray. In 1907 he went on study trips to Strasbourg and Paris, where he settled mainly by the art of Paul Cézanne impress.

1912-1928: Amden[edit]

In 1912 he received an invitation to Amden in the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland by the artists Willi Baumeister and Hermann Huber, who had settled there in an artists' colony. Once they were both gone, Meyer remained until 1928 in Amden. He lived there withdrawn and humble in an old farmhouse. He wrote extensively diary, especially between 1913 and 1915 and dealt with the Bible. He had contact with the free religious, communitarian and cooperative Siedlungsgemeinschaft Grappenhof in Amden.

In the years 1915 to 1918 Meyer drew dark tones graphite drawings. He used a technique as described by Georges Seurat is known. In 1923 he designed a round glass image for preaching space of Zwingli house in Zurich Wiedikon. In 1922 he met in Zurich Ernst Ludwig Kirchner know and befriended him. 1925 Meyer was with eight works at the "Greater Swiss Art Exhibition" in Karlsruhe involved.

1928-1933: Zurich[edit]

1929 Meyer participated with twelve works at the exhibition "Abstract and Surrealist painting and sculpture" in the Kunsthaus Zurich. From 1928 until shortly before his death - his last years were marked by a serious illness - 1933 Otto Meyer-Amden was a teacher for devices drawing at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich.

Otto Meyer, who called himself in connection to the place, which was so important to him, "Meyer-Amden", has left only about 500 paintings and drawings. There are many abstract figure paintings with lyrical mood expression and religious and symbolic representations, numerous boarding scenes, youth acts, street scenes from Zurich and watercolors with symbolic linear geometric signs that distinguish his work. He is considered one of the most important early abstract painters in Switzerland.

Works by Otto Meyer-Amden were on the 1 documenta (1955) and the documenta III (1964) in Kassel shown.


  • 2010: Otto Meyer-Amden: nuances. Ernst Barlach House, Hamburg
  • 2012: 100 years Otto Meyer-Amden, 1912 - 2012. Museum Amden


  • Wolfgang Kermer (ed.): From Willi Baumeister's diaries: Memories of Otto Meyer-Amden, Adolf Hölzel, Paul Klee, Karl Konrad Düssel and Oskar Schlemmer. With supplementary writings and letters of Willi Baumeister. Cantz, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1996. ( Contributions to the History of the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart, 8) ISBN 3-89322-421-1.
  • Andreas Meier: Meyer-Amden, Otto. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 17, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-428-00198-2, S. 378 f. ( Digital copy ).
  • Andreas Meier: Otto Meyer-Amden. Encounters with Oskar Schlemmer, Willi Baumeister, Hermann Huber and other artists. Kunstmuseum Bern, 1985-1986
  • Karsten Müller (eds.): Otto Meyer-Amden: Nuances, exhibition catalog. Kerber, Bielefeld 2010. ISBN 978-3-86678-376-8.
  • Harald Szeemann : Visionary Switzerland at the Kunsthaus Zurich, 1991
  • Beat Wismer, Paul-André Jaccard: 20th Century - From Cuno Amiet today Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau., 1983

External links[edit]

Media related to Otto Meyer-Amden at Wikimedia Commons


  • This article was initially translated from the German Wikipedia.