Inventory Neuchâtel

CNP: Centre Psychiatrique Neuchâtelois, Site de Préfargier, Préfargier Collections, Fondation Préfargier
Site Perreux, Perreux Collection (both at the Archives Cantonales since 2018)

The Maison de Santé de Préfargier was founded by the rich Neuchatel merchant and philanthropist Auguste-Frédéric de Meuron (1789–1852) for the mentally ill from the poorer classes. De Meuron came from a family of entrepreneurs and had made his own fortune with the cultivation of snuff tobacco in Brazil. The Maison de Santé de Préfargier became a model hospital building: Isolated, but located in one of the most beautifully landscaped gardens in Switzerland directly on the lake, it was housed in a building clad with yellow Jura sandstone that featured one of the very first warmwater heating systems in Switzerland. Everyday life in the hospital consisted primarily of work on the farm, in the garden, and in the household. Due to financial constraints, a “villa” was built in the park for private paying patients in 1867. With the erection of the second institution in the canton, the Pfleganstalt Perreux in 1897, Préfargier was able to release those patients considered incurable. Until 2008, business affairs were solely in the hands of the De Meuron family, today the Site de Préfargier is part of the Centre psychiatrique neuchâtelois (CNP). The hospital archive holds all files since the founding of the institution. From a total of around 16,000 patient files from the years 1848–1930, 3,208 files (one fifth) have been examined. They included 199 works by twenty-eight men and twelve women, including several notebooks. Three works by the patient Eugénie P. were sent to the Sammlung Prinzhorn in Heidelberg in 1922; her patient file has not been found (inv. nos. 1657-59, Case no. 120).

In the Archives of the Centre neuchâtelois psychiatrique, site de Perreux/clinique Perreux, the were hardly any personal documents saved (letters, drawings etc). We looked through the archive randomly. The archive has been transferred to the Archives Cantonales in 2018.

2018-2019 “Extraordinaire! Unbekannte Werke aus psychiatrischen Einrichtungen in der Schweiz um 1900/Extraordinairy! Unknown Works from Psychiatric Instituions in Switzerland around 1900“, Sammlung Prinzhorn, Heidelberg, Kunstmuseum Thun, LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz (Catalogue d/e)

Bovet-Wolff, Louis, Notice sur la maison de Santé de Préfargier, Canton de Neuchâtel en Suisse, Neuchâtel 1848 de Meuron Guy (ed.), La Maison de santé de Préfargier 1849-1949, Neuchâtel 1949

Fussinger, Catherine, Tevaearai, Deodaat, Lieux de folie. Monuments de raison, Architecture et psychiatrie en Suisse romande 1830–1930. Lausanne 1998

Jelmini, Jean-Pierre, Présence et traitement des maladies mentales dans les hôpiteaux publics de Neuchâtel dans la première moitié du XIX siècle, in: Louis- de Meuron Dominique (Hg.), 1849-1999 Préfargier. 150 ans au service de la psychiatrie, Neuchâtel 1999.

Luchsinger, Katrin, Hirsch, Helen, Röske Thomas (Hrsg.), Extraordinaire! Unbekannte Werke aus psychiatrischen Einrichtungen in der Schweiz um 1900 / Extraordinairy! Unknown works from Swiss Psychiatric Institutions around 1900, Zürich 2018

Luchsinger, Katrin, „Faut-il alors diriger ma pensée? Eugénie P. in der Maison de Santé de Préfargier, in: Die Vergessenskurve. Werke von Patientinnen und Patienten in psychiatrischen Kliniken um 1900. Eine kulturanalytische Studie, Zürich 2016, S. 343-380

Steinlechner, Gisela, „Eigenwillige Handschriften. Ästhetische Strategien und Modelle weiblicher Autorschaft in der Sammlung Prinzhorn“, in: Brand-Claussen, Bettina, Micheli, Viola (eds.), Irre ist weiblich. Künstlerische Interventionen von Frauen in der Psychiatrie um 1900, Heidelberg 2004, S. 15-25