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Swiss avant-garde artist Serge Brignoni dies at 99

Brignoni experimented with lyrical cubism and romantic expressionism before joining the surrealists


A Swiss painter and sculptor who earned a place of honour in avant-garde movements from the 1920s has died near Bern at the age of 99.

Serge Brignoni attended art school in Bern, then like most Swiss artists of his day he went abroad to complete his studies in Berlin. But it was after moving to Paris in 1923 that his artistic development showed its true colours.

Although he came into contact with such leaders of the avant-garde as Picasso, Arp, Braque, Dali, Ernst and Alberto Giacometti, Brignoni was later to assert that his style was his own.

"I do not let myself be influenced," he said. "I have especially admired the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, but I have sought my own way and always tried to get better."

Surrealist exhibits

He experimented with lyrical cubism and romantic expressionism before finding his artistic home with the surrealists, and at an early age his works were included in international surrealist exhibitions in leading European capitals as well as the United States.

Brignoni always said nature inspired him, adding that his artistic credo could be summed up in two words: balance and harmony.

The onset of World War II led him to abandon his Paris studio along with many early sculptures - which later disappeared - and return to Bern with his wife, the Chilean artist Graciela Aranis.

He went on to travel extensively in Africa and Oceania, collecting artefacts from both regions, which were also to inspire his work as a painter and sculptor.

swissinfo with agencies

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