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Rolf Iseli

Bern 1934


Rolf Iseli was born on January 22, 1934 in Bern, Switzerland. After training in photolithography and color lithography while attending the Bern "Kunstgewerbeschule", Rolf Iseli received a scholarship which enabled him to spend one year in Paris, where Iseli became acquainted with Sam Francis and other young American artists. He produced ink drawings on celluloid for abstract art films and large-format pictures on canvas which are in the style of Art informel.
After returning to Switzerland, where he had his first solo exhibition at "Galerie 33" in Bern, Rolf Iseli received a cantonal art scholarship in 1957. In 1961 Iseli bought a house and a piece of land in Saint-Romain, Burgundy, and lived between France and Switzerland. The following year he spent considerable time in New York with Arnold Rüdlinger and Kurt Blum.
Rolf Iseli paid extensive studio visits to American artists. In 1965 the artist returned to lithography, a year later, he produced his last oil paintings for the time being. During the years that followed Iseli created an extensive oeuvre of prints that included outsize drypoint etchings and lithographies as well as fascinating prints worked over with earth. A phase of departure to new, more object-orientated techniques, collages, relief and sculpture, object and works cast in iron begins. The three dimensional spatial design is most apparent in Rolf Iseli's iron objects.
In 1976 Iseli and his wife Therese travelled through China for six weeks. From that trip, Iseli brought back a red artist's stamp with his name in Chinese characters which would henceforth be his trade mark. Alongside his artwork, Iseli continued to travel extensively in the following years, in 1980 he travelled to Périgord, where he visited the caves of Rouffinac and Lascaux with their famous stone-age cave paintings. In 1983 he returned to New York for the exhibition of his monumental dry echings at the "Museum of Modern Art".
Rolf Iseli now lives and works in Bern and Saint-Romain.


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