Cuno Amiet

© Silver Hesse

The compelling portrait of Hesse that Cuno Amiet painted onto board using just a few bold and expressive strokes of the brush in 1919 bears the title Emil Sinclair. It was under this nom de plume that Hesse had, since 1917, been publishing his admonitory journalistic writings attacking the war. It was under the same pseudonym that, in the same year, the story Demian was published. Cuno Amiet, who was born in Solothurn in 1868 and died in Oschwand in 1961, was one of the most important pioneers of modernism in Switzerland. Originally influenced by Jugendstil, the artist was a member of the German expressionist group Die Brücke in the years 1906 and 1907. Amiet, who worked predominantly in strong, light shades, produced countless landscapes and portraits. As a close friend of Hesse, he took in his son, Bruno, in April 1920, and gave the budding artist his first lessons. The original of Amiet's portrait - on permanent loan from Hesse's son Heiner - is to be seen at the Hermann-Hesse-Museum in Calw.