Otto Wyler 1887-1965


The first retrospective exhibition of the Swiss artist Otto Wyler (1887-1965) opens this week at the Museum of Art, Ein Harod. The 40 paintings on view convey the breadth of the artist’s remarkable oeuvre.

Self-portrait with Jura Mountains, 1936, oil on pavatex
Collection of Mr. Carlo Mettauer

Otto Wyler a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris studying under Fernand Cormon, was a true student of all the great European artists of the time. He experimented with the stylisitic innovations of the key avant garde figures, Matisse and Picasso and was influenced by Impressionism, Cubism, Fauvism and Expressionism. Wyler deliberately held no allegiance to one particular style; it was the art of painting itself that intrigued and energized him. He painted the landscapes which he found inspiring; among his favorites were views of the rugged Swiss Alps as they passed through the seasons of the year. Whenever Wyler traveled he painted scenes of his new surroundings.

He produced portraits of all his family members and familiar personalities of Aarau, the town he lived most of his life (the Swiss town of Aarau is the capitol of the Northern Swiss canton of Aargau, situated west of Zurich) Otto’s nudes and floral still lives echo the various periods of modern art history, and his many paintings of Aarau give us a real sense of that city. Before long, Otto Wyler became Aarau’s “town painter” and today one can find his works in almost every local public building. Wyler is simply part of the city’s DNA. His works captured the mood of the city as it passed through the year’s seasons and local festivals.

Otto Wyler was a product of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), and never confronted the feelings of “otherness” and foreignness so typical of much Jewish art. His story reflects the craving of 20th century Jews to assimilate into the broader community.

Otto Wyler

Otto Wyler 1887-1965

Curator: Dvora Liss

January-May 2013

Skip to content