Marc Gonthier archive

Marc Gonthier worked extensively with various relief and intaglio printing techniques. The diversity of his archive is characterised by views of Lake Geneva and the nearby mountains, toiling farmers, Christian motifs and scenes from circuses and fairs. Gonthier’s personal living environment is also depicted.

Gonthier Coulisses de cirque
Sketch, printing plate, artist's proof, and signed copy of the work «Coulisses de cirque, singe et mandoline» (photo: NB, Simon Schmid)

Printmaker Marc Gonthier (1895–1954) graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva and was a student of Cuno Amiet from 1917 to 1919, after which he took multiple trips to Italy and France. In 1928, he moved into his studio in Quartier Mon-Repos in Lausanne, where he worked until the end of his life. From 1930 on, Gonthier turned increasingly to printmaking and regularly held exhibitions throughout Switzerland as a member of the Société des peintres, sculpteurs et architectes Suisses (SPSAS, known today as Visarte), the “Graphischer Kreis” and the “Tailles et Morsures”. 

His works reflect his life on Lake Geneva. While his woodcuts and engravings with scenes of villages and churches have an almost documentary character, his numerous etchings of sailing and motorboats on Lake Geneva serve as a testament to the lively bustle of activity near the shore. Two portfolios containing scenes from circuses and fairs are a highlight in the National Library’s holdings, and a book with eight wood engravings demonstrates Gonthier’s skill as an illustrator. His drawings on tracing paper, sketches and printing plates also deserve special notice, as they illustrate Gonthier’s careful approach to his work and his mastery of wood engraving, etching and drypoint printing techniques.

The National Library houses what is probably the largest collection of Gonthier’s work, including preliminary sketches and printing plates. It contains his main oeuvre of prints as well as drawings, preliminary sketches, letters that he received, and printing plates in wood and copper. The original structure of the collection categorises his work by topic and divides it into relief and intaglio prints. The National Library maintains this structure while taking into account the institution’s access policies and the need for preservation measures.

Content and scope

  • 527 prints (320 relief prints, 207 intaglio prints)
  • 203 sketches, drawings and studies (122 for relief prints, 81 for intaglio prints)
  • 289 printing plates (168 relief plates, 121 copper plates)
  • 47 written documents (45 letters from Cuno Amiet to Marc Gonthier, 1 letter from Edmond-Henri Crisinel to Gonthier, 1 letter from René Auberjonois to Gonthier)

Research and access

  • The archive of Marc Gonthier is described and catalogued in the HelveticArchives database
  • Further information on the Marc Gonthier archive available on request
  • Consultation of originals: on site and by appointment

Last modification 06.06.2024

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