Prix Gaïa 2019 – Suzanne Rohr. Craftmanship-Creation. Category
The Jury for the Gaïa Prize is paying tribute to Suzanne Rohr for her pioneering role in and her mastery of the art of enamelling, her perseverance and her independence in apprenticeship, and her work to train others in these skills.
Born in Geneva in 1939, Suzanne Rohr grew up in a family immersed in the classical arts. Interested in drawing and painting from a young age, she demon- strated her passion for achieving finesse and perfection in every stroke. When she finished school, she discovered an exhibition of enamel work at the Art and History Museum in Geneva which she greatly admired. She then went on to train as an enameller and painter of enamel miniatures in the enamelling department at the School of Decorative Arts in Geneva where she studied under Elisabeth Juillerat and obtained her federal diploma in 1959. She was the only student in her class. In recognition of her achievement, the Department of Education in Geneva offered her an additional year's training in the jewellery class. That same year, she won the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation competition prize for creating a ladies' bracelet which included a watch in its enamelled decoration.
In 1960, unable to find an in-house position, Suzanne Rohr opened her own studio. This marked the start of her freelance career which she has continued to the present day.
From 1960 to 1968, Suzanne Rohr strove to find her calling. She also created enamelled jewellery, cups and artwork using cloisonné and champlevé tech- niques, or decorated with silver and gold leaf. It was in this same period that she met the famous Genevan miniaturist, Carlo Poluzzi. He would become her mentor for the next 28 years. Working closely with him, she refined her technique and dedicated herself entirely to enamel miniatures. She sold several of her miniatures in La Côte-aux-Fées, Le Locle and Neuchâ- tel and undertook work for watchmaking brands in Geneva.
From 1967, Suzanne Rohr began her partnership with Patek Philippe where she met connoisseurs of her art. There, she could express her own point of view and, also, obtain gold of the finest quality, an essential pre-requisite for producing the perfect painting. From 1970, she could rely on regular commissions and on the constant support of the Geneva-based firm and from the Stern family who showed their loyal trust in her for nearly 50 years.
Fascinated by the art of miniatures, the harmony of shapes and the beauty of colours, Suzanne Rohr's heart's desire was to share her passion for this art and see it continue to be appreciated in the 21st century. In 2017, Suzanne Rohr and her former protégée Anita Porchet were jointly awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève for the high level of perfection in their work.