Robert Hainard Biography

Robert Hainard




Swiss artist Robert Hainard was born in Geneva, Switzerland on September 11, 1906. Hainard’s parents, Philip Hainard (1879-1938) and Eugénie Hainard-Bechard (1882-1942), were both painters. At age 12, Robert Hainard left primary school, homeschooled by his father for his general education; it was around this time that he began to learn to draw.  In 1921, he entered the Industrial Arts school. While studying there he met his wife, Germaine Roten, whom he married in 1929. They had two children and in 1938 they settled in the town of Geneva Bernex.

In 1927 he claimed to have invented a new process of wood engraving and in 1929 he exhibited his first prints in the technique at Geneva Salon. This style, which resembled crayon and graphite drawing and featured extraordinarily delicate texture, lent itself to his preferred subject matter - local flora and fauna - and these became his best known works. In addition to printmaking Hainard worked in oils, watercolors, and sculpture. 

An amateur naturalist and philosopher, Hainard was greatly inspired by the wildlands of Geneva which he worked to save from urban sprawl, becoming a member of the Pro Natura Geneva organization, which continues to establish and maintain nature preserves. He would continue to champion Swiss wildlife and land throughout his life, ocassionally donating his artwork to fundraisers and obtaining an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Geneva in 1969. He authored several books on the subject of wildlife and illustrated several others. 

Robert Hainard died on 26 December 1999 in Gland in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland.

Awards and scholarships:
Lissignol scholarship; Calame Prize; Edouard-Marcel Sandoz Prize for Animal Art, Academie Grammont, Paris (1974); Prize of the International Academy of the Philosophy of Art (1984); Francois Sommer Medal, Paris (1987); Bernese Merit award (1987). He was given an Honorary Doctorate of Sciene from the University of Geneva in 1969.