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Rolf Knie: Charisma of the Artist in the Swiss Royal Family

Beatrice Lessi

If you watched the Henry and Meghan interview (and I did too), you’ll probably find famous families with an important history quite interesting. There is no Monarchy in Switzerland, and I was born and raised in Italy, but when I moved to this country I immediately heard the name Knie pronounced by locals with the same frequency and reverence you would do for Royals. The Knie: The Swiss National Circus. With some Royal allure too.

Cave of Treasures

I recently met Rolf Knie at a vernissage. He was surrounded by people who wanted to talk to him and he seemed to know everybody, so it was clear to me from the start that this man is a bit of a natural leader.

He then invited me with a group of people to his atelier in Rapperswil and informed me we would drive to an old timer meeting. I had seen some of Rolf’s paintings online and thought I knew what expected me. I was wrong! One needs to see the colours and structures of his work live, to see the sheer amount of it, and how they are combined with his gorgeous collection of old timers. The impression is grand and friendly, wild and yet poetic.

Charlie Chaplin’s Rolls Royce, one of Elvis favourite cars – Stutz Motor Car of America – a Swiss SUV I didn’t know existed, a rare Ford GT40, a green Jaguar that perfectly melted with the colourful paintings: I was in awe.

Over the Clouds

Our small group then drove to the old timers meeting and we enjoyed an outdoor lunch overlooking the cars. I was so distracted by the beauty of the day, of the paintings, of the cars….that I forgot to take a photo of Rolf, and I only have the funny shot you see here, where he was trying to photobomb me. I am sure there will be another occasion. Maybe at Salto Natale, who knows. Looking forward!