Robert Buhler RA, (1916-1989), High Alps, Switzerland , oil on canvas, about 1971
© Royal Academy of Arts, London

Object of the Month - August 2015


Robert Buhler RA, High Alps, Switzerland, oil on canvas, about 1971

Robert Buhler was born in London to Swiss parents and studied commercial art at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, and then at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel. Returning to London in 1933, he became a student at St. Martin's School of Art and went on to teach at Wimbledon School of Art and Chelsea School of Art among other institutions.

Buhler painted both landscapes and portraits; both display his characteristic use of a limited palette with composition based on geometric forms and order. In his later career he travelled widely in Europe and the United States over several years, and it may have been during these travels that High Alps, Switzerland was painted. The short, vigorous brushstrokes and bright palette of blues, greens and white suggest the fresh, vivid atmosphere of the mountains. In his later work Buhler tended to emphasise the geometry or pattern of natural forms, shown here in the emphasised triangular shapes of the Alps. Instead of realistic detail, Buhler favours composing the scene from bright patches of colour.