The custom of using cut paper to artistic or decorative purposes, comes from the Orient and was known in Central Europe after 1600. People were fascinated at the time of the shadow theater from Persia and Turkey, and learned by cutting figures and scenes from paper to know the technique. This has developed a real lover of art, but only initially in socially demanding circuits of the cities.
With the help of folding and decorative styles you testified in the family atmosphere of affection and friendship. Important were in the 18th century the silhouettes of black paper. The austere French finance minister Etienne de Silhouette (1701-1767) recommended instead of the expensive Portrait Painting the Portrait cracks of paper. The term "Portrait à la silhouette" was used in the episode both mocking and in typifying way to identify the small shadow silhouettes. In fact, the silhouette cuts found a wide distribution in the stud book and later in the poetry album. To date, experienced average artist working at fairs, which cut a silhouette portrait of black paper without a sketch.
Middle of the 19th century has developed in Switzerland, a separate, albeit with different regional, typical papercut style. This style was particularly influenced by Johann Jakob Hauswirth was born 1809 in which Saanen and died in 1871 near L'Etivaz. Hauswirth was an artist, on the nothing or almost nothing really knows. As suspected, he grew up in the Simmental (Garstatt) and later lived in the Pays-d'Enhaut. As a laborer, he went from farm to farm, or worked as Köhler in the woods of "Rodomont" (Great Mountain) Rougemont. He appeared and asked for a place to stay for the night and as a thank you he gave each of his hosts a cut little picture which was often used as a book mark in the prayer book or in the Bible.
Hauswirth's ingenuity and exploration was very big and he also created a lot of colored paper cutouts. He soon left the traditional symmetry to be able to make free. Nevertheless, the art remained very balanced and only a skilled observer could see right away that it was not purely symmetrical images. Highly visible and Hauswirth very typical are the numerous representations of doors and gates - one is tempted to see these representations as a symbol of his works.
Another very important Scherenschnittkuenstler have included Louis Saugy (1871-1953), David Regez (1916-1984) and in the Saanen especially Christian Schwizgebel (1914-1993). From 1978 Schwizgebel had except his beautiful classic silhouettes and scenes from the animal world of incredible fidelity also created five to six extraordinary relief works. As a large format (80 / 100cm) they consist of six to seven behind stacked and separated from each other by glass colored image areas. One of these items can be admired in the museum of Saanen.
This paper cuts, most of which were cut from ordinary people have caused thousands of admirers in recent years. The number of artists understand how to deal with scissors and paper, has multiplied.
The center of the paper cut art is still in the Canton of Bern and neighboring Pays-d'Enhaut. Although many artists from this region are still closely linked to the tradition, others have brought not only technically, but also in the form of the invention to an almost unsurpassable championship.
The comparison to the rest silhouette artists who follow their own ideas and fantasies fold to create amazing creations. The traditional peasant silhouette is pushed back more and more today; time current issues or even the fairy tale world are increasingly cut into the paper. More and better technical material has the silhouette refined. But it's the talent, tireless shape invention and creative power, which mark the artist of today.
(Excerpts from the catalog of the 1st Switzerland. Papercut exhibition in 1985 by Dr. Theo Gantner, Basel and Mr. Fritz Hobi, Winterthur and from "paper cuts from Saanen by Claude Allegri")