Boy Wonder (1958-1963)
The Hermit (1963-1979)
Fury for Painting (1980-1989)
Visson - Public Person (1991-1998)
Visson Returns to his Roots in a Luxury Hotel (1998-2005)


Philippe Visson, whose parents were both of Russian origin, was born in New York in 1942.  His mother, a Parisian art historian, was the Editor of “The Gazette des Beaux-Arts” and had always frequented the international artistic milieu.  His father was a major American political journalist for “The Washington Post” and “The Readers Digest”.  Philippe Visson therefore was raised in a cosmopolitan milieu between the United States and Europe.

Luxury Hotels

He starts to paint in the bathroom of Parisian luxury hotel at the age of 16, working in a frenzy and without art lessons.  He’s immediately confronted with the scrutiny of professional experts that surround his parents.  He has instant success when he shows at the Craven Gallery in Paris in December, 1958, quickly offered to him; then in New York in the Milch Galleries in May, 1959; followed by shows in Monte Carlo, Geneva and New York again.  It was too much, too soon.  Visson falls into drinking. 

The Hermit

Returning to Washington, D.C. on 1960, the period 1963-1979 is differentiated by a life that is sometimes social, sometimes reclusive, which continues when his family settles in a large villa in Switzerland (Epalinges above Lausanne) in the mid-sixties.  Visson has stopped drinking.  He paints in one of the rooms of his parents’ house and inundates all the empty rooms with his productions that remain hidden from the public, allowing them to be seen only by personalities such as Marcel Brion and René Huyghe, both of the Académie Française; or Jean Leymarie, Director of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. 

It’s only at the start of the seventies that he once again opens his work to the public.  He meets several important cultural figures of the time, such as René Berger, Director of the State Fine Arts Museum of Lausanne; and Michel Thévoz, future Director of the Art brut Museum. 

After the death of his father in 1973, he settles without money with his mother in a luxury hotel in Paris.  It’s only after a year and a half of perpetual and colorful adventures that they return to Washington, D.C., where he resumes painting and produces a unique period of abstracts. 


The Fury for Painting

Returning to Switzerland at the death of his mother in the beginning of the eighties, Visson meets with blatant success in Switzerland, where institutions exhibit and purchase his paintings (Aarau State Fine Arts Museum, the Federal Office of Culture in Bern).  His fury for painting takes the form of an explosion while remaining focused (he always keeps what he considers the best paintings for himself). 

Visson, Public Person

After the life of a hermit in the Paccots, Visson comes down from his mountain to settle in Montreux on the Swiss Riveria.  This moving is marked by a sort of return to social life, despite the fact that he paints in a cellar.  A period of public projects with charitable goals is launched.  Visson thrives on this contact with the public.

Visson Returns to his Roots in a Luxury Hotel

This changes somewhat when he receives a working studio in The Montreux Palace in the late nineties.  This emerging from the cellars denotes a new era for the artist.  He starts an intense period of painting, and moves six thousand of his paintings to the Palace.  He continues his public projects, including the acquisition against paintings of a Stradivarius violin that will bear his name.  He establishes his Visson Foundation to support the SVPA (Vaudoise Society for the Protection of Animals).