Memories of the painter Jean-Louis Gétaz

  24.03.2022 Arts & Culture

20 years ago, on 22 March 2002, Jean-Louis Gétaz died in Riaz FR.
Born in Rougemont in 1931, the young Gétaz first worked as a cook and then as a lumberjack in the Pays-d'Enhaut until he began painting as a self-taught artist at the age of 22. As early as 1954, he definitively exchanged the axe for the brush and from then on devoted himself to his work as a mood painter, a "peintre d'ambiance", as he called himself.

Soon he was looking for new challenges. His passion for painting took him to Paris, especially to the artists' quarter around the Place du Tertre on Montmartre; he travelled through France, Morocco, Greece and many other countries, including the USA and Mexico. He recorded his impressions in an extensive body of work.

He painted the ships in the Atlantic harbours, the horses of the Camargue as well as the urban canyons of New York. One art critic described the striking artist full of character as "Gétaz l'homme des bois, Gétaz le Bohème". Despite his life as a globetrotter, Gétaz always remained the down-to-earth painter from the Pays-d'Enhaut.

Jean-Louis Gétaz became popular in Saanenland, not least through his later lithographs and poyas, which featured motifs and scenes from his homeland, its inhabitants, and historical customs. He drew landscapes, village streets and old historic chalets of the "Ancien Comté", the old county of Gruyère, as he remembered it from his childhood. 

These lithographs by Jean-Louis Gétaz, the "peintre des deux Gruyères," can be found in many parlours, especially in the Saanenland and the Pays-d'Enhaut. They are still appreciated and cherished as a cultural asset of the region.

Based on AvS/Franz and Marianne Otto-Steinemann

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