Otto BANNINGER (1897 - 1973)

Bänninger began his work as a sculptor under the influence of his father, and went on to study under Franz Wanger in Zurich from 1910 to 1913. In 1920 he began studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière under Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, quickly becoming his friend and collaborator, and completing some of the works he left unfinished at his death. In 1928, he traveled through Italy, where he concentrated on antique and Renaissance works. Though married to the sculptor Germaine Richier from 1929 to 1951, his work does not show her influence. From1932 to 1939, he worked both in Paris, where he showed at the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon d’Automne, and in Zurich, where he eventually moved permanently. Throughout his career, Bänninger concentrated on the classical figure. His early works, influenced by Rodin and Bourdelle, have a modeled, roughened surface, but during the 1930s, his surfaces began to reflect the new realism. Like Karl Geiser, Hermann Hubacher, and Hermann Haller, Bänninger tended toward a renovation of the classical human figure. He is one of the greatest Swiss sculptors of the periods between the wars and after World War Two; his works are held in the regional Beaux Arts museum of Lausanne and in the Kunstmuseum in Zurich.