Schweizer Kleinmeister

The rise of tourism in the 18th and 19th centuries led to a boom in landscape and genre painting in Switzerland. The country's natural attractions were seen as especially picturesque, its landscapes exhilarating and rich in contrasts. Increasing tourist demand for pictures fuelled the success of a group of artists who are known today as the Schweizer Kleinmeister, or Swiss masters.

Now, a selection of these works are available as high-resolution images on the website - Souvenirs suisses, with a zoom viewer serving as a digital magnifying glass.

Schweizer Kleinmeister at the Swiss National Library

The Swiss National Library's holdings of Schweizer Kleinmeister provide an overview of their wide-ranging production. They document all the cantons of Switzerland and the work of numerous draughtsmen, painters, etchers, engravers and publishers.

The holdings grew throughout the 20th century, thanks to progressive acquisitions and generous donations. They now comprise several thousand prints, hundreds of watercolours and gouaches, albums, series of plates, portfolios, panoramas and a small number of oil paintings. These offer a rich insight into the history, landscape and culture of Switzerland at the time and remain a valuable resource for researchers in art, cultural and natural history.

The Gugelmann Collection

In 1982 Annemarie Gugelmann transferred to the Swiss National Library the collection of Schweizer Kleinmeister that she and her brother Rudolf had accumulated over four decades. As well as acquiring originals, the duo had sought out immaculately preserved prints, high-quality series of plates, portfolios and albums containing original graphic works. The Gugelmann Collection is continually expanded with major new acquisitions.

Like the rest of the NL's Kleinmeister holdings, the Collection is catalogued in the HelveticArchives database. The digitised images are all in the public domain and have been uploaded with a free license to Wikimedia Commons and

Further information

Opening hours

Access to the collections on appointment; an advanced reservation is required.

Guided tours

Introductions to the print and drawing collections for schools or groups on appointment.

Collection Gugelmann on Wikimedia Commons:

Last modification 26.01.2015

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Swiss National Library
Prints and Drawings Department
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
Phone +41 58 462 89 71

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