Giovanni Segantini. La Vita – La Natura – La Morte

Landmarks of Swiss Art

A new study of Segantini’s Alpine triptych

 

Title Information

Juerg Albrecht. Edited by Angelika Affentranger-Kirchrath

1st edition

, 2022

Texts English and German

Hardback

160 pages, 54 color illustrations and 5 b/w illustrations

21.5 x 25 cm

ISBN 978-3-03942-072-8

Content

Giovanni Segantini’s (1858–99) three paintings La Vita—La Natura—La Morte (Becoming—Being—Passing) of 1898–99 at first glance reveal nothing about their equally complex and interesting background. Segantini originally planned them for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle as a multimedia walk-through “Engadine Panorama” 722 feet long and sixty-feet feet high. He was forced to downscale the undertaking to three purely pictorial main paintings, which eventually remained unfinished due to the artist’s premature death.

In this richly illustrated book, Swiss art historian and Segantini-expert Juerg Albrecht offers a fresh perspective on one of the last major Symbolist works of the fin de siècle. Drawing on previously untapped sources, Albrecht also traces the eventful genesis of this landmark work and places it in the context of Alpine painting and the mass-medium of the panorama. Moreover, he sheds light on Segantini’s highly personal pantheism, which is rooted in the ideas of German Romanticism, as represented by Caspar David Friedrich and Philipp Otto Runge, but can also be related to programmatic paintings by Segantini’s contemporaries Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Edvard Munch, and which finds idiosyncratic echoes in contemporary art, for example in the oeuvres of Joseph Beuys and the Swiss painter Franz Wanner.

 

Juerg Albrecht, born 1952, is a scholar of art history. He served as head of art research at the Swiss Institute for Art Research SIK-ISEA 1991–2015.

 

Also available in the series Landmarks of Swiss Art:

Paul Klee—Ad Parnassum

Sophie Taeuber-Arp—Equilibre

Franz Gertsch—Rüschegg

Authors & Editors
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Cover

Giovanni Segantini – Life, 1896-1899. Oil on canvas, 192.5 × 321.5 cm. Segantini Museum, St. Moritz, on permanent loan from the Gottfried Keller-Stiftung

Giovanni Segantini – Nature, 1898-1899. Oil on canvas, 236 × 402.5 cm. Segantini Museum, St. Moritz, on permanent loan from the Gottfried Keller-Stiftung

Giovanni Segantini – Death, 1898-1899. Oil on canvas, 192.5 × 321.5 cm. Segantini Museum, St. Moritz, on permanent loan from the Gottfried Keller-Stiftung

Giovanni Segantini – Presentation drawings for Life – Nature – Death, 1898. Charcoal and Conté crayon on paper, 137 × 108 cm, 137 × 127 cm, 137 × 108 cm. Segantini Museum, St. Moritz, on permanent loan from the Stiftung für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte, Winterthur

Giovanni Segantini – Pavillion for the Engadine Panorama, 1897. Charcoal, black chalk and Conté crayon on paper, mounted on cardboard, 52.7 × 53.2 cm. Segantini Museum, St. Moritz

Elias Emanuel Schaffner – Panorama of the Rhaetian Alps, Upper Engadine, 1833. Color lithograph, 32 × 276 cm. Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur

Ferdinand Hodler – Snow in the Engadine, 1907. Oil on canvas, 64 × 86 cm. Private collection

Caspar David Friedrich – The Cross in the Mountains (Tetschen Altar), 1807–1808. Oil on canvas, 115 × 110.5 cm (canvas), 178 × 133 cm (incl. frame). Galerie Neue Meister der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen, Dresden

Edvard Munch – The Sun, 1909–1916. Oil on canvas, 455 × 780 cm. Aula of Oslo University

Alexander Flury – Segantini´s death chamber, 1899. Photograph. Reproduced in: Die Kunst für Alle, no. 13, 1.4.1900, p. 295

Franz Wanner – Umbra, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 190 × 322 cm, 235 × 403 cm, 190 × 322 cm. Collection Hans-Jörg and Regula Ruch, St. Moritz / Roticcio

 

All images printed must come with respective picture credit and may only be published in connection with a book review containing the publishing house, the title of the book and names of editors or authors.

 

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