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Hug Charles

St. Gallen 1899 – 1979 Zurich

Swiss Painter

River Thames and the Tower Bridge, London

Signature: signed lower left and dated 'Charles Hug, London '61'
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: image size 71,5 x 90 cm, frame size 114,5 x 96 cm 

Charles Hug (1899–1979), originally named Karl Hug, was a versatile Swiss artist known for his contributions as a painter, draftsman, and book illustrator. Born on June 22, 1899, in the vibrant city of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Hug’s early years were marked by a fervent passion for art that would shape his remarkable career.

Growing up in St. Gallen, Hug’s artistic talents began to emerge during his youth. However, his journey into the world of art took an unconventional path as he initially embarked on a mechanical engineering apprenticeship in a printing company after completing his schooling. Despite this detour, Hug’s innate artistic inclination led him to abandon his apprenticeship after a year, opting instead to pursue evening classes at the business school in Geneva.

In 1920, Hug’s artistic aspirations led him to Geneva, where he embarked on a career as a typographer. Yet, his thirst for artistic growth propelled him to seek further education, prompting his move to Berlin in 1923. There, he immersed himself in the vibrant artistic community, studying under esteemed teachers such as Käthe Kollwitz and Max Liebermann, whose guidance and mentorship left an indelible mark on his artistic style.

During his time in Berlin, Hug’s artistic journey took an unexpected turn when he formed a partnership with Amrey Balsiger, with whom he ventured to Arles in 1927. Collaborating with the renowned artist Max Hunziker, Hug’s artistic vision continued to evolve, although his partnership with Balsiger eventually dissolved in 1931.

In 1932, Hug’s path crossed with that of Renée-Elisabeth Walz, a talented violinist from St. Gallen, igniting a profound connection that would alter the course of his life. Following their marriage in 1934, the couple established their home in Zurich during the winter months and retreated to the picturesque Greifenstein-Staad near Rorschach during the summer, where Hug found inspiration amidst the serene landscapes.

Throughout his illustrious career, Hug’s artistic endeavors garnered widespread acclaim, with international exhibitions showcasing his evocative drawings, portraits, and landscape paintings in cities such as Brussels, Tokyo, and Paris. Notably, his illustrations for literary works by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer and Gottfried Keller earned him prestigious awards from the Gottfried Keller and the C. F. Meyer Foundation in 1938 and 1939, respectively.

As a visionary artist, Charles Hug’s legacy endures as a testament to his unwavering dedication to his craft, his ability to capture the beauty of the world through his artistry, and the profound impact of his personal and artistic journey on the world of art.

Notes: Charles Hug was a Swiss painter and draftsman. In 1932, he met Renée-Elisabeth Walz and returned to Switzerland in 1934 after marrying her. They settled in Zurich and summered in Greifenstein-Staad, where Hug focused on still lifes and landscapes. He gained recognition for his illustrations of works by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer and Gottfried Keller, receiving awards in 1938 and 1939.

from a private Dutch collection

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