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International fame with a picture of the Breithorn

Story 123

The Swiss landscape painter Blanche Berthoud exhibited one of her Breithorn paintings at the Paris Exposition in 1900, thus securing international recognition. 

The famous Alpine painter Blanche Berthoud was born in Interlaken in 1864, the daughter of landscape painter Auguste-Henri Berthoud. Her father taught her various painting and drawing techniques at an early age. As an adult, she studied art painting at the Académie Julian in Paris with Benjamin Constant and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. 

From portrait to landscape 

At the beginning of her career, Berthoud focused on portrait painting. As early as 1888, she exhibited her works at the Salon Champs-Élysées in Paris.  

She married in 1896 and moved to Vaumarcus in the canton of Neuchâtel. After returning to Switzerland, she became increasingly interested in nature and focused on Alpine landscape painting and flower still lifes. 

An exception: women in mountain painting 

At her new home, she also joined the Société romande des femmes peintres (Society for Female Painters in French-speaking Switzerland). With women’s mountain painting, the association promoted a subject area that was predominantly a male domain at the time. 

Breithorn at the World Exposition in Paris 

As a landscape painter, she often spent time in Zermatt and in the Riffelberg-Gornergrat region. There she discovered her passion for the Breithorn, which she painted in several studies and which was to become one of her main works. She exhibited a painting of the Breithorn with the impressive dimensions of 167 cm x 100 cm at the World Exposition in Paris 123 years ago. The jury awarded it an honorary diploma. 

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