Ernest Luthi

About the Artist

Ernest Luthi was born in Zeebach (Seebach), Switzerland in 1906. One of eight children, Luthi and his family moved to a homestead near Punnichy, Saskatchewan, in 1914. After completing grade school, at age 15 he began working as a railway section hand.

During this period Luthi also began taking correspondence courses in illustrating from the Washington School of Art. In 1926 Luthi moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he spent two years taking night classes at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He received his diploma in 1928 and returned to Saskatchewan, where he supported himself as a sign painter, a house painter and a carpenter, while also pursuing his art practice.

After suffering a heart attack in 1951 Luthi took up  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  as a full-time profession. He worked in oils, acrylic,  watercolourAny paint that uses water as a solvent. Paintings done with this medium are known as watercolours. What carries the pigment in watercolour (called its medium, vehicle, or base) is gum arabic. An exception to this rule is water miscible oil paints, which employ water as their solvent, but are actually oil paints. Colours are usually applied and spread with brushes, but other tools can also used. The most common techniques for applying watercolour are called wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet, along with the dry brush techniques dry-on-dry and dry-on-wet. Colours can be removed while still wet, to various degrees by blotting. Most watercolour painting is done on paper, but other absorbent grounds can also be employed. The papers most favored by those who paint with watercolour is white, very thick, with high rag content, and has some tooth. (Artlex.com)  and charcoal, favouring scenes of the Qu’Appelle Valley near Punnichy, or agrarian landscapes in the vicinity.

Church Luthi’s landscapes often depict typical prairie scenes; a vast expanse of land beneath an equally vast breadth of open sky. Rather than presenting wilderness nature, Luthi’s artwork is shaped and shared by mankind – farm crews working at harvest, a homestead tucked beside freshly tilled fields, or a tiny,  picturesqueIn general, this may refer to any scene which seems to be especially suitable for representation in a picture, especially that which is sublime. It is especially associated with an aesthetic mode formulated in the late eighteenth century which valued deliberate rusticity, irregularities of design, and even a cultivated pursuit of quaint or nostalgic forms. Such pictures became common in nineteenth century Europe and America. Examples can be found among the American painters of the Hudson River school — Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Jasper Cropsey (1823-1900), and Asher B. Durand (1796-1886) — and of the Rocky Mountain school — Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) and Thomas Moran (1837-1926). (artlex.com)  church nestled in a valley. Depicting rural life in all seasons, Luthi links human activities to nature’s seasonal cycles, portraying man and nature in harmony.

While Luthi’s work is often associated with  nostalgicTo feel a bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past. The condition of being homesick; homesickness. Those who are nostalgic are likely to favour traditions over the future's potential to be the site of better things. Everyone would like to escape the present for some qualities remembered from (or associated with) times past. Nostalgia is that yearning for whatever it is that makes the present less desirable. Modernists were the most thoroughly anti-nostalgic group of people, whereas postmodernists pursue newness without being embarrassed by their embrace of references to the past. (Artlex.com)  Folk Art, he employs a sophisticated knowledge of light,  perspectiveA method used to create the illusion of space on a two-dimensional surface. It can be created by overlapping, placement, detail, colour, converging lines and size. See HandPrint.com (http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/perspect3.html and http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/perspect4.html) for some examples.  and colour. His work is naturalistic, representing the world as he sees it. He used his photographs, pencil and  pastelPigments mixed with gum and water, and pressed into a dried stick form for use as crayons. Works of art done with such pigments are also called pastels. Chalk is similar to pastel, but more tightly bound. (Artlex.com)   sketchbookA book of sketches, or for keeping sketches in.  drawings and images from magazines to create his works.

Luthi’s work is included in major public and corporate collections in Saskatchewan, and in numerous private collections. In recognition of his contribution to the visual arts in the province, he was awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1975.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning