In 1938 Eduard Imhof finished an astonishing painting. In his book “Cartographic Relief Presentation” he writes: “This map image, the original covering 9.6 square meters, was not adapted from a coloured aerial photograph, but stemmed rather from the free artistic interpretation of visual impressions gained during long walks through the mountains.” And: “The goal was to achieve as natural an impression as possible, including the third dimension, with the aid of artistic ‘techniques’. … In particular, nature contains no lines, so all linear elements had to be left out.”
“Karte der Gegend um den Walensee” by Eduard Imhof 1:10,000, 1938.
“Karte der Gegend um den Walensee” (detail) by Eduard Imhof 1:10,000, 1938.
The picture conforms to the natural appearance of the landscape. For inspiration, Imhof “chose the visual experience of a landscape painter and his artistic conception.”
The original art, painted with gouache colours, measures 480 × 200 cm. It is on permanent exhibit at the Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern.
- MapCarte 58/365: Karte der Gegend um den Walensee by Eduard Imhof, 1938. Blog entry by Kenneth Field, 2014.