Corbaz, Aloïse

Napoléon III à Cherbourg
  • Napoléon III à Cherbourg
  • Montreuse de tableau dans la bannière de Montreux
  • Mythe Atalante lance des pommes d'or
  • untitled
  • Mme Cotty - bracelet retrouvé
  • Deux profils dessinés dans les montagnes
  • Untitled
  • Portrait of Aloïse

Napoléon III à Cherbourg

Aloïse, "Napoléon III à Cherbourg", between 1952 and 1954, coloured pencil and juice of geranium on sewn-together sheets of paper, 164 x 117 cm, © photo credit Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne


Corbaz, Aloïse,

(1886-1964), Switzerland

Audio biography


Aloïse Corbaz, known as Aloïse (1886 - 1964), was born in Lausanne (Switzerland) to a large family of modest means; at thirteen, she lost her mother. At the end of her schooling and one year of boarding school, she found herself at loose ends for some time. Her dream was to become an opera singer and, already then, she began composing religious propaganda. To cut short a relationship of which she disapproved, her elder sister ordered Aloïse to leave for Germany; there Aloïse worked as a governess in various situations, including a stint in Potsdam, in William II's court. Thereupon, she fell in love with the emperor, imagining a torrid love affair with him. The war's outbreak obliged her to leave the country hurriedly. Back in Switzerland, she showed signs of such exalted religious and pacifist feelings that she was committed to the Cery-sur-Lausanne asylum in 1918, followed by the La Rosière Asylum in Gimel-sur-Morges, where she would remain until her death. 

Shortly after entering the hospital, she began writing and drawing. Until 1936, she did so in secret, using lead pencil and ink. At times, too, she resorted to flower petal juice, as well as crushed leaves and toothpaste. She used wrapping paper, sometimes sewn with thread, in order to achieve large formats; and, too, envelopes, pieces of cardboard and the backs of calendars. Often as well she used sketch books, which came to represent a specific sector of her oeuvre. She developed a fantasized world in these, often favoring the support's vertical direction. Aloïse created a personal cosmogony filled with princely and political figures — like Napoleon Bonaparte, for instance, and blue-eyed historical heroines — like Marie-Antoinette and Queen Elizabeth.


Exhibition(s) at the Art Brut Collection