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 (1998-2007)

Visson - Public Person (1991-1998),


Pâques au Montreux Palace

presse clippings

Visson in the artistic press:

Ph.Ct, Le Matin, 7 October 1991

"1971-1991 : twenty years of one of the most important painters living in French-speaking Switzerland are gathered. (...)  No other artist has managed to build a pictorial architecture of such density."


Revue La Suisse, No. 40, 2 October 1991

" …a vigourous pictorial language, where the transpositions of lines and forms don their intensity (...)  Color contributes to this power of expression..."


Kunst-Bulletin, No. 10, October 1991

"We find as Visson's trademark the mutual plenitude of rounded and straight lines, an acceleration of movement and energy.  His employ of colors recalls the effect of stained glass or mosaics."


Dominique Vollichard, 24 Heures, 6 December 1991

“…Jubilant or tragic eroticism, play of the senses, are shared in the fragments of garments, without underwear inside-out, that Philippe Visson submits to his habitual delirium.  Belts of lusts to straight-jackets of tenderness, from weakness to vigor, passing through the tunic of Custer’s conquering Indians and the overcoat of the spy, it’s painting tailor-hard-fitted.  And Visson poses the question that encapsulates these fantastic garments: ‘But what is hidden behind our coats and our undies?  When does narcissism become aggressive?  When does free love become sexual harassment?  You can’t judge the book by its cover!”


Luc Debraine, Le Nouveau Quotidien , 25 September 1991

“Philippe Visson (…) is a large scarecrow with an ascetic face.  He has lived a gilded youth fraught with out-of-step losers like Montgomery Clift, actor reputed for his talent and his self-destructive obstinacy.  (…) Visson [fasts], all the better to hallucinate his pictorial characters, [i.e.] faces, hundreds, thousands of faces, fashioned in large syncopated strokes.  The glance slides from whole to whole across these schizophrenic ruptures, managing with great difficulty to assemble them.  Shakes you up.”


Françoise-Hélène Brou, Voir, no. 83, October 1991

“Visson’s paintings raise a surprising dilemma as he who discovers them realizes (…) that the eye isn’t alone in activating this interaction. (…)  The sense of this undertaking burst into an authentic phenomenology of matter.”


Véronique Zbinden, Le Nouveau Quotidien, 10 au 12 June 1994

“And the worrying strangeness of invading beneath the surface.  (…)  Soutter is never far away.”


Pierre Hugli, Cimaises, No. 1, 1 September 1995

“…But it goes the same for artists elsewhere.  Few amongst them manage to live entirely from their creations.  One example: Philippe Visson, whom we’re interviewing…


Tages Anzeiger, ZüriTip, 3 - 9 June, 1994, Peter Killer

“Visson shows proof today of an incomparable work, complete in itself.  His typical manner of painting: Visson places foundations in black on his canvases.  Then he begins by placing surfaces and points of color in the interior of the black.  Color against obscurity.  Life against death.  As a maker of mosaics or a painter on glass, he poses a surface of color next to another surface of color.  He uses his well-proven black foundation as a means of creation.  This black base separates the spaces of color, and thus intensifies the luminous power.”


Fritz Billeter, Bulletin 43, Seedamm-Kulturzentrum, April 1998

“Woman, man and beast aren’t easy to differentiate; they retreat behind a mask of identical form.  This face has a tormented or burning regard.”


Françoise Jaunin, 24 Heures, 14 April 1998

Forty years of turmoil in acrylics:

…Visson paints in a state of emergency, by colorful pulsations that haunt like a barbaric icon, the Christ-like figure endlessly reproduced…”



L’Illustré, No. 30, 24 July 1998, pages 34 – 37, Françoise Boulianne, photos Christian Rochat

“At 53, he wisely reconstructs once again his live, in Montreux, under the gaze of his wife, Ellen.  ‘That which appears the worse is often the best.  It takes time and faith to go through trials.’ "


Visson moves to Montreux in Vaud, where he opens his art and his doors to the public.  While continuing to paint the visage, he includes large series of landscapes and still lifes inspired by the Swiss Riviera.  Known as a hermit, Visson nevertheless opens his own studio on the Grand Rue, where many come, including Ringo Starr drawn by painted silhouette cut-outs nearly 2 meters high in the window.  He later does cut-outs 3 meters high in stainless steel, which are then prepared and painted by him, as well as 24 carat gold miniature cut-outs, each engraved separately.  Encouraged by the public response, Visson unfolds, offering first to paint pre-war movie seats from the Apollo Theatre—the local cinema attended by Charlie Chaplin, James Mason, and Vladimir Nabokov, and soon to be demolished.  The seats are sold for the benefit of charity.  Visson continues in public events.  He paints large formats several times before audiences (some of these paintings are later bought by the state art museum, some are donated).  He begins serigraphic series.  He continues painting, producing several distinct periods, while showing in galleries from Geneva to Zurich. 


Cut-out from:

"The Procession of the Oozers", 150 cm X 55 cm, Acrylic on Cardboard, 1991


Public Projects and Media Events, press extracts:

Mural at CERY

Gastronomia: the stainless steel cut-outs

Movie theatre seats

Disappearance of the movie theatre seats

Donation of the painted cinema doors

Cut-outs in 24 carat gold

Interaction Visson

Poster, Classical Music Festival of Montreux - Vevey

The mural at CERY

“Visson (…) has painted [an entire wall] in one day in front of the dolescents [of CERY, Therapeutic Youth Center] (…)  [The adolescents] dig their gazes into the deep eyes of Visson’s hardly appeasing creatures.”

24 Heures, 17 August 1990, Sonia Zoran

Gastronomia : Cut-outs in stainless steel

“…all greediness satisfied, the visitor to Gastronomia can yet discover the works of Philippe Visson (…) who exhibits a series of colorful silhouettes, cut and chiseled in stainless steel.  (…)  The result is fab-licious.” 

Le Nouveau Quotidien, 25 October 1992, Colette Muret

"'Totems', gnomes', crawlers'...  All in all, more than fifty figurines of all sizes.  (...)  Ginox (...) gave carte blanche to the overflowing creativity of Visson."

L’Est Vaudois, 24 October 1992, Eu/R

Movie theatre seats

“Philippe Visson (…) bemoans that the Apollo Cinema, for many years closed, should soon be demolished.  In order to rekindle a small breath of life to the dying, he had an original and generous idea.  Entitled ‘The Last Picture Show’, his undertaking consists of painting on the seats of the locale, that he has recuperated, the faces and forms of the spectators that were habitual occupants.  (…)  The profits of the action will go to the Vaudoise Foundation for the Cinema.”

24 Heures, 4 November 1992

“Having known Marlon Brando, William Holden, Montgomery Clift or Liz Taylor (of whom he did the portrait at his beginnings), one is forcibly enamored of films.  (…) Painting favorably quoted on the world art market, (…) Visson has always refused to be a social painter. (…)  Using the panels that make up the backs and the bottoms of the folding seats, he’s painted sketches of characters embodying the ‘spectators’, shadows of the assembled crowd for this last picture show.”

L’Est Vaudois, 30 October 1992, M.-A.M.

“In order to ‘revive for a last time the Apollo Cinema’ in Montreux—currently closed and soon to be demolished—Philippe Visson paints on the seats that he’s recuperated the faces and forms of the movie buffs who have long inhabited them.”

Le Nouveau Quotidien, 15-16 November 1992, S.Ls

“Philippe Visson has recently ‘abducted’ the seats of an old cinema (…) by projecting onto them the chimerical presences of spectators absent from now on.”

Construire, No. 46, 11 November 1992, V.Z.

“Closed 1984, the Apollo Cinema of Montreux is destined to be soon demolished.  Wishing because of this to give a boast to the seventh art [of films], the painter, Philippe Visson, decides to revitalize a few seats from the Montreux movie house.  (…) The old movie theatres regain ‘faces’ and will be sold (…) to the benefit of the Vaudoise Foundation for Cinema.”

L’illustré, No. 49, 2 – 8 December 1992

“Do not smash the seats of the Apollo Cinema in Montreux.  They’re works of art!”

24 Heures, 2 December 1992, B. Ds 

“Affixed onto the backs, flanks and moving parts of the seats, the faces double the multiple personalities that have been slinking into their red velvet.  These paintings re-embody a ghostly procession.  In point of fact, these strange paintings are out-folding seats.  As one takes place between the arm rests, the body oscillates between past and present, shadow and light, illusion and reality.”

Le Nouveau Quotidien, 4 December 1992, Luc Debraine

“The painter plays with declarations of love carved in the wood, bursts over the sides, and shows himself ready to react to the wishes of the buyer.”

Le Matin, 5 December 1992, I. Fy 

“(…)  the works of Visson are never the less very stable values on the international art market.  It has thus been decided to set up a sale of the choice pieces at consequent prices, turning around CHF 3,000.  it will occur (…) at the Hyatt in the presence of the State Counselor, Pierre Duvoisin, and René Berger, former direction of the State Museum of Fine Arts.  (…) Visson has committed from the start to donate the profits of the entire operation to the Vaudoise Foundation.”

L‘Est Vaudois, 3 December 1992, M.-A. M.

“After the ‘populous’ that witnessed the playful seats of the painter, Philippe Visson, snapped up in a matter of weeks from the old Apollo Cinema, the Hotel Hyatt was last Saturday the scene of a sale of the most elaborately decorated pieces.  Close to CHF 14,000 were thus gathered to the benefit of the Vaudoise Foundation for the Cinema.”

L’Est vaudois, 7 December 1992, M.-A. M.

Disappearance of the movie theatre seats

“ ‘Some Fifteen seats disappear’

(…)  The Apollo Cinema has closed its doors (…)  From October, 1992, the artist, Philippe Visson, paints on its movie seats.  The sale of these artworks is organized to the benefit of the Vaudoise Foundation for the Cinema.  Last Saturday, the painter noticed that some fifteen seats had vanished.  Is this robbery, or a mistake?”

L’Est Vaudois, 2 September 1993, B.F.

“’Recent Clues’

The police inquest follows its course in relation to the seats that vanished from the Apollo Cinema.  (…) a witness claims to have seen the seats in a garage (…).  The witness has specified that the garage belongs to people who live from the antique business.  (…) the first of September, the painter and the owner of the Café Apollo witnessed a break-in (…).  A door opening onto the rue de la Douane was gaping (…).”

L’Est Vaudois, 16 September 1993, B.F.

‘Visson’s Seats have been Found’

(…) The police has recuperated the seats (…)  It remains for the judiciary inquest to determine if the seats were deliberately stolen or, which appears more likely, ‘lifted’ with no warning but in good faith.  The art world overflows with incredible misunderstandings.”

L’Est Vaudois, 29 September 1993, B.F.

Donation of the painted cinema doors

“A few years ago, Phillippe Visson (…) transformed the seats of the movie theatre into true artworks.  He returns this year with the [painted] doors of the Apollo and offers them to the county, which has the good idea of exhibiting them in the Secondary School of Montreux-East.”

La Presse, 12 November 1994, I.F.

Cut-outs in 24 carat gold


‘Gold Negotiable as Art’

Visson proposes to re-activate the [gold] market by developing a new concept (…): a sort of premium-value (…) ‘in the form of a gold cut-out, of multiple shape and engraving, signed, numbered by me along with a cut-out in wood, painted by me…’ ”

L’AGEFI, 2 March 1995, Christian Campiche

Copy-rights in Switzerland

“Are copyrights protected in Switzerland?”

(…) Visson got wind, just recently, of a sale that was held in 1976 (…)  an antique/junk dealer of the Riviera had acquired the entire content of his studio.  (…) The artist (…) invokes the law relating to copyrights [in hoping to] thusly establish a judicial precedent.”

L’AGEFI, 1 February 1996, Christian Campiche

“Inquest: is Visson a simple-minded fool, worthy only of appearing in the retrospectives of Art brut?  Or else, as affirmed by said expert [François Daulte] a major contemporary artist established in Switzerland, of which this country has all reason to be proud?  (…) It’s why this conflict, which pits the Russian-American artist against art dealers, goes beyond a mere news story.  It symbolizes a legal precedent in the matter of protecting copyrights in Switzerland…”

Journal de Genève et Gazette de Lausanne, 8 May 1996, full page 3, statements gathered by Christian Campiche

Authentic and Fake Vissons…The Defense:

‘…It’s difficult to conceive that this stock could have contained some fake Vissons, as these were paintings stored by the artist himself…’  (statement of the antique dealer)

‘…I understand that [the gallerist] has a motive in casting doubts as to my mental capacities and to invoke against me the writings of certain art critics who have associated me with Art brut…’  (statement of Philippe Visson)

Journal de Genève et Gazette de Lausanne, Opinions, 25 – 27May 1996

Interaction Visson

“The Painter who Wants to Help Dogs”:

At 17, he was ‘a well-established successful artist’, leading a nomadic life around luxury hotels and celebrities. Today, he puts his art to support the canine population. (…) His latest find?  Putting his art for the good of the canine population.  He is currently engaged in talks with [the head of the Saint-Catherine animal shelter] in offering to the friends of animals an original way of art sales, the fruit of which would serve to finance certain activities of the SPA (…).  One senses that he will take the risk of new creations, of new disillusionments.  As for him, he’s confident.  ‘I know it, there are forces in the world that will make what one really needs happen.’

L’Illustré, No. 30, 24 July 1996, pages 34 – 37, Françoise Boulianne, photos Christian Rochat

“Visson offers to the public a chance to acquire a (…) signed and numbered work (…).  The proceeds from this sale will serve to augment the funds supporting people who don’t have the means necessary for the healthcare of their pets.  (…)  Those interested can order [through the Animal Newsletter] artist-retouched reproductions.”

24 Heures, 15 October 1996, C. Go.

Interaction Philippe Visson :

An commitment:

Thirty-eight years of art in the service of animals.  Five hundre paintings and the private collection of the artist which includes paintings from 1958 to 1996, the sale of which will be dedicated to animals…”

Courrier des Bêtes, No. 352, September 1996

Interaction Philippe Visson is committed to support funds that the Vaudois Society for the Protection of Animals (SVPA) designates each year to people under the care of the county social services…”

24 Heures, 25 October 1996, in the framework of their section: ‘Solidarity’

Dogs and Cats, these Left-Behind of the Recession – (kiosk poster for the daily, 24 Heures, 10 March 1997)

The subject (…) has grabbed the attention of (…) Visson (24 Heures, 15 October 1966 [sic]), who has notably created Interaction Visson in collaboration with the SVPA, and who continues to prepare new initiatives for the butt of aiding the most needy by attempting to gather together the greatest number of well-intentioned people…”

24 Heures, 10 March 1997, Guido Olivieri

The Animal is a Reason to Live for many Needy:

A talented and famous artist, Philippe Visson has chosen to consecrate his art to the left-behind of our society, so that they can provide healthcare for their pets.”

L’invité, No. 12, 19 March 1997, pages 66 – 67, Jacques Bernasconi

“…Visson gets up very early to re-educate his dog, Toby, to walk, after an operation that saved the animal from paralysis…”

Coopération, No. 13, 26 March 1997, jb

“…Never short on imagination, the artist from Montreux sponsors ‘Interaction Visson’, an benevolent initiative destined to help the desititute owners of animals.  Supporter and founder of the idea, these artworks [are] signed Visson... "

Journal de Genève et Gazette de Lausanne, 15 May 1997, Christian Campiche

Animal Aid:

…To gather money for these funds, Philippe Visson devotes his talent as artist and develops a typically personal project…”

Terre & Nature, le sillon romand, 22 May 1997, page 25, Yves Moquin

Art to the Rescue of the Destitute:

Le Montreux artist, Philippe Visson, loans his brush to the cause of the needy who haven’t the means to provide healthcare to their domestic animals…”

La Presse, 17 June 1997, Ph.F.

“The Vaudoise Riviera, The Vaudoise Society of Veterinarians, Radio Nostalgie of Lausanne, the Vaudoise Police and the Hotel Helvetia (…) didn’t hesitate to join this action…”

Optima, OP 283, August 1997, kd

“…In fact, with the recession helping, certain pet owners are sometimes obligated to separate from their companion.  Though the latter is often the only thread which holds them to life.  (…) From now on, a series of six reproductions printed on stickers (…) is available to the French-speaking Swiss.  The amount is totally destined to charity, as the fabrication of them was sponsored.”

Coopération, No. 32, 6 August 1007, jb

The Canvases of Philippe Visson to the Benefit of the Needy:

The painter (…) Visson has decided to give the benefits of the sale of his works exhibited at the Auditorium Stravinski and the Gallery Art-Top in Montreux to the [SVPA]…”

La Presse, 10 October 1997

“The action called Interaction Visson thus isn’t merely a luxury, but a real Godsend, since a first segment of CHF 10,000 will be given to the SVPA [sic] .24 Heures, 6 novembre 1997, Guy-Olivier Chappuis

“40 YEARS OF PAINTING IN 1998: Interaction Visson is designated to augment the funds that the SVPA consecrates each year to persons taken on charge by the communal social services, so that their pets, dog or cat, won’t be left without veterinary care because of insufficient financial means…”

Sports et Loisirs Magazine, No. 5, pages 95 – 99, Suzy Heim

“When his dachshund, Toby, had to be operated for a discale hernia last year, (…) Visson (…) learned that it would cost CHF 3,000 (…)  For those who have pets but not the means to take out a health insurance, Philippe Visson founded Interaction Visson in 1996…”

Reader’s Digest, Sélection, Das Beste, December 1997

“Philippe Visson has committed himself: by the sale of his works, he gathered a sum of money that he gave to a cause dear to his heart, that of the pets.  (…) This afternoon at the occasion of the exhibition opening [of the Gallery Catherine Niederhauser] at the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Philippe Visson will present to Dr. Samuel Debrot, President of the Vaudoise Society for the Protection of Animals, a check for CHF 14,537.  This amount is destined to the funds for the needy that the SVPA manages…”

Terre & Nature, le sillon romand, 26 mars 1998, Y.M.

A Social Soirée between Dogs and Cats:

…In the artworks exhibited, the animals play the principle role (…) The president of the [SVPA] has received from Interaction Visson (…) a check for CHF 14,500…”

24 Heures, 28 – 29 March 1998, Anne-Marie Philippe

14,5000 Swiss Francs have been gathered by ‘Interaction Visson’:

…Philippe Visson gave a check yesterday (…) to Samuel Debrot, President of the Vaudoise Society for the Protection of Animals.”

La Presse, 9 April 1998, A.K.

Poster of the Classical Music Festival, Montreux-Vevey

Classical Music Festival of Montreux - Vevey:

[The Director of the Festival] has revealed yesterday the program of the Music Festival (…)  With the poster (created by Philippe Visson from Montreux) a variety of lyric works”

La Presse, 14 January 1997

« [The reproduction of] the original painting of Philippe Visson for the poster of the 52nd Festival.  These works from the artist’s Amercian period will be exhibited from the 29th of August to the 17th of September in the hall of the Stravinski Auditorium.”

Vevey hebdo, Le Magazine de la Riviera Lémanique, 22 – 28 August 1997

“Chosen among a series of abstracts painted between 1978 et 1979, the artwork, signed Philippe Visson, which decorates the poster of the Classical Music Festival of Montreux – Vevey, hits with its appearance both humorous and juvenile.  (…) The Artist admits (…): This is a particular period – a more peaceful pause than my usual direction…”

La Presse Riviera/Chablais, 29 August 1997, Ph.F.


Gallery of images:

Public Person

Principle Shows:

Lausanne, State Musuem of Fine Arts, Lausanne, "Recent Acquisitions", Switzerland
Vevey, Musem Fine Art, Musée Jenisch, "The Collection of the Vaudois State Bank", Switzerland
Rio de Janeiro, Museum of Modern Art, "Rio Mostra", (collective show), Brazil
Zürich, Galerie Arteba (one-man show), Switzerland
Montreux, Stravinski Auditorium, the poster and a one-man show, Festival of Classical Music, Switzerland
Zürich (Seedamm), Seedamm-Kulturzentrum, "Spurensuch Mensch", Switzerland