Jörg Shimon Schuldhess – Field of Figures

Jörg Shimon Schuldhess

June 4, 1941 - June 15, 1992

Jörg Schulthess was born in Basel, the son of a father from Emmenthal and a sephardic Jewish mother who had emigrated from Italy. Schuldhess was a close friend of Jean Dubuffet and became interested in and influenced by Art Brut, particularly the work of Adolf Wolfli.

As a young man he changed the first part of his last name from "Schult" to "Schuld"- the German word for guilt to underline his belief that mankind was burdened with guilt. Deeply troubled by the Holocaust, Schuldhess converted to Judaism in 1968 and adopted Israeli citizenship in 1979. But disappointed by the Israeli occupation in Lebanon, he returned his passport to the Israeli Embassy in Bern in the early 1980s.

The Embassy of Switzerland organized an exhibit of Schuldhess's work at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur in 2004. The exhbition entitled "A mystical painter from Switzerland" looked at the strong influence of Hindu culture on the artist. At his death in 1992, Schuldhess's ashes were released into the Ganges river.

Schuldhess works can be found in collections of the Kunstmuseum, Basel, the Geneva Museum of Art and Hitory, and hte Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris

Sources: Biographical Dictionary of Swiss Art / Website of the Swiss Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The artist is known for the motif of a “tear” (German: Der Riss) or a break across the center of his work as shown here.  In the 1980s Swiss television dedicated a program to him entitled Der Riss.

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