Peter Stämpfli


Lives and works in Paris, Switzerland and Spain

Peter Stämpfli studied Fine Art in Bienne (1954-1955) and later enrolled in Max von Mühlenen’s painting workshop. In 1963, he began painting “larger than nature” pictures based on a picture or an image as a starting point, to convey “expressions and objects that are so common they pass unnoticed”. The realistic works he created in 1965 exclusively depicted car parts. His canvases are cut up in the shape of tires, wheels, steering wheels, etc. and displayed in different ways depending on the exhibition space.

Stämpfli’s fascination with the subject of cars is evident throughout his work. In 1969, his interest in this dream object of the 1960s emerged in his work in a radical form. From then on his attention has been exclusively on this topic or, more precisely, one aspect of it – namely, the patterns and tracks left by car tyres. In his recent works, he has examined it at such close range that the reference to the context disappears and the object dissolves into geometric abstraction. 

Stämpfli held his first solo exhibition in 1966. From the beginning Stämpfli was a representative of European pop art, but he also soon took a leading position in the Figuration Narrative movement. In 1970, he represented Switzerland in the Venice Biennale. In 1980, Georges Perec wrote an Alphabet pour Stämpfli on the occasion of his exhibition at the Pompidou Center. The Musée du Jeu de Paume dedicated a retrospective to Stämpfli in 2002. In 2006 he began working, alongside his wife, Anna-Maria, on creating a contemporary art center in Sitges, Spain: the Fundació Stämpfli, displaying works by artists from the sixties to the present era.

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