Robert Strübin

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Robert Strübin (born February 23, 1897 in Basel , Switzerland ; † August 15, 1965 in Basel) was a Swiss painter , graphic artist and musician . He is known internationally primarily for his music pictures .

life and work

Robert Strübin trained as a pianist at the music school in Basel from 1905 to 1915 . He continued his musical education from 1915 to 1916 at the conservatory in Lausanne and from 1916 to 1924 at the conservatory in Basel. He worked as a piano teacher in Basel, Bern and from 1929 to 1930 in Paris .

From 1930 until his death in 1965, Robert Strübin lived in his parents' house in Basel. He took drawing lessons at the trade school in Basel, but was primarily self-taught as a visual artist . In 1932 he created his first graphic works and from 1934 architectural drawings. He created architectural compositions , created optical illusions by drawing and drew fantastic architectural worlds . From 1938 he drew kaleidoscopic rosettes , which he constructed with compasses and ruler and which are now considered a forerunner of Op Art .

From 1935, Strübin finally turned to painting. In 1956 he had to give up making music for health reasons and his first music pictures were created. Robert Strübin developed its own color-tone scale for each music image in order to transfer the piece of music to be represented visually.

He has labeled most of these pictures with the exact name of the music in question. He developed a special color scheme for each image in order to make the respective tone sequences of the visually transmitted music visible in tone colors. At the beginning of the 1960s his music pictures were discovered by younger artists such as Karl Gerstner or Walter Bodmer . In 1964 his first solo exhibition took place in Basel. Five years after his death in 1970, his works were exhibited at the Kunsthaus Luzern . This exhibition made his art very well known. His pictures have also been shown in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam .

In 1972 he was a posthumous participant in Documenta 5 in Kassel in the Individual Mythologies department with two music images and three rosettes .

His works belong, among other things, to the collections in the Kunstmuseum Basel , the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, the Kupferstichkabinett and the Kunstmuseum Luzern .


  • Jean-Christophe Ammann : Robert Strübin (1897-1965). Retrospective: music pictures and other works. Exhibition catalog Kunstmuseum Luzern 1970.
  • Exhibition catalog: documenta 5 . Surveying Reality - Imagery Today . Catalog (as a file folder) Volume 1: (Material); Volume 2: (list of exhibits); Kassel 1972.
  • Thomas Lehner: The art converter. The fantastic invention of the Basel painter-pianist Robert Strübin. About transforming music into painting and back again. Institute for Modern Art , Nuremberg 1973.
  • Bild-Musik Jakob Weder and Robert Strübin. Exhibition catalog Kunsthaus Zug, editor: Matthias Haldemann , Zug 1992.
  • documenta archive (ed.): Resubmission d5 - A survey of the archive on documenta 1972 . Kassel / Ostfildern 2001, ISBN 3-7757-1121-X .
  • Robert Strübin. See music, hear pictures . Edited by Verein ZwischenZeit Basel, with a foreword by Jean-Christophe Ammann, editor: Tilo Richter, Schwabe Verlag, Basel 2010, ISBN 978-3-7965-2699-2 .

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