Roy Andres Hofer
Roy Andres Hofer in private collections
Historical Context of Switzerland
Perhaps the most significant Swiss contribution to the history of Modernism was the establishment of the Dada movement in Zurich in 1916. Its founding members included Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Emmy Hennings, and Marcel Janco. Their headquarters, the Cabaret Voltaire, quickly became an significant hub of the artistic and intellectual avant-garde, with the political neutrality Switzerland being a refuge from political uncertainty elsewhere in Europe. Beforehand, Switzerland had originated some quirky and distinctive artists in the Post-Impressionist period of the early twentieth century, including Ferdinand Hodler and Felix Vallotton. Another key movement that can be attributed to a Swiss artist was the ‘International Style’ of modernist architecture, pioneered by Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier may have become a French citizen in 1930, but he was born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in the Neuchâtel canton of Switzerland in 1887. Indeed, his first autonomous projects were executed in his hometown of La Chaux-de-Fonds, including proto modern domestic villas for wealthy local clients. Remarkable Swiss artists of the twentieth century include Jean Tingely, Alberto Giacometti, John Armleder, Pipilotti Rist and Thomas Hirschhorn.