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Walter Mafli

Switzerland Born in: 1915

Painter and designer born in the canton of St. Gallen to an unknown father and a deaf and mute mother, he spent his early childhood with his grandmother then was placed in an orphanage. He remained there until 1930. The following year, he began an apprenticeship as a stove-smoker in Oberrieden in the canton of Zurich and completed his training to become a tiler. Sacked from work in 1934 following a scarlet fever, he decided to leave German-speaking Switzerland by bike at the end of the year and spent a few days with an aunt near Biel. Mafli then moved to Neuchâtel where he found a job as a tiler.

When in 1935 the Swiss army summoned him to attend his recruit school, it was very natural that he found himself in a company of cyclists, since it was a sport that he practiced assiduously. Once his military service was over, he took drawing lessons with the Ticinese painter Delfo Egidio Galli, professor in Neuchâtel, who taught him academic techniques. There, he also got to know the four Barraud brothers, François Emile, Charles, Aimé and Aurèle. In Neuchâtel, Mafli also learned from Max Theynet whom he considered to be “his master”; it is he who instills in him the meaning of painting and also teaches him the economy of color, reminding him that with eight of them, he can get all the others by mixing without having to buy them. He also meets Charles L'Eplattenier, whose easel he will carry to go paint on the banks of the Doubs.

In 1939, he became a pupil of Casimir Reymond and Marcel Poncet at the Lausanne School of Drawing. Mafli also stays in Paris with his friend Jean-Pierre Doxat, met with the painter Galli. He stayed there for several months.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the cook Frédy Girardet offered Mafli a permanent exhibition in his restaurant in Crissier. Roland Pierroz and Philippe Rochat will follow. Anxious to support the projects of ambitious young people whose means are insufficient to carry them out, he created the “Les Enfants de Mafli” Foundation in 2001.

In 2010, he was accused of tax evasion to the tune of 4.4 million francs.

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Walter Mafli, Corsy en hiver, Painting

Walter Mafli

Corsy en hiver, 1995
13 x 16.5 x 0.2 inch


Walter Mafli, Abstrait pailleté, Painting

Walter Mafli

Abstrait pailleté, 1984
23.6 x 27.6 x 0.1 inch


Walter Mafli, Place du marché, Painting

Walter Mafli

Place du marché, 1959
9.4 x 13 x 0.2 inch


Walter Mafli, Maison en Provence, Painting

Walter Mafli

Maison en Provence, 1994
13.2 x 15.9 x 0.2 inch


Walter Mafli, Paysage de montagne et mazots, Painting

Walter Mafli

Paysage de montagne et mazots, 1947
16.1 x 19.5 x 0.2 inch


Few works remaining by Walter Mafli

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