Fritz Glarner

Switzerland 1899–1972
United States of America 1936–1971

Fritz Glarner was born in Zurich on 20 July 1899. He went to school in Italy, studying at the Regio Instituto di Belle Arti, Naples, from 1914 to 1920. In 1923 he moved to Paris and attended classes at the Académie Colarossi, getting to know Modernist artists such as Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber, Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg. Glarner held his first solo exhibition at the Galerie d'Art Contemporain, Paris, in 1926. After a visit to the United States in 1930–31 he was invited by Katherine S. Dreier to participate in the International Exhibition of Abstract Art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. In 1934 he exhibited with the Abstraction–Création group in Paris.

In 1936 he emigrated to the United States and became a member of the American Abstract Artists. After the arrival of Piet Mondrian in New York in 1940 a close friendship developed between the two painters. Glarner exhibited regularly in New York during the 1950s, and in 1958 was commissioned to paint a mural for the Time and Life building, New York. Further mural commissions were forthcoming in the 1960s, notably for the Dag Hammarskjöld Library in the United Nations building in New York, and for the dining-room of Nelson Rockefeller's apartment. In 1968 Glarner represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale (with Hans Aeschbacher) and in 1971 he was given a large exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art. He moved to Locarno in 1971, where he died on 18 September 1972.

See more works by this artist in the NGA collection

Fritz Glarner Relational painting, tondo no. 4 1946 © 2002 Kunsthaus Zurich. All rights reserved. Purchased 1977 Learn more