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Solothurn Psychiatric Services. Works from Rosegg Cantonal Clinic

Rosegg Clinic was built in 1860, as a relatively small, rural asylum at the foot of Mount Weissenstein. During the First World War, under Leopold Greppin (director 1892–1924), the clinic was overcrowded, with a mere 360 beds for 440 patients. Rosegg included Fridau nursing home and an extramural living group. In 1924, the psychiatrist Moritz Tramer (1882–1963) was appointed director (which he served as until 1945). Tramer was from Hungary and had studied mathematics, philosophy, and medicine in Zurich. Together with Heinrich Hanselmann, in 1920 Tramer founded the Seminar for Patients with Special Needs. He is considered the founder of child psychiatry. His wife, Franziska Baumgarten Tramer (1889–1970), taught applied psychology, occupational psychology, and career studies at the University of Bern. Tramer diversified the workshops available at Rosegg and thus improved work therapy. Based on his equally mathematical-technical and psychiatric knowledge, in 1926 he studied the drawings and plans of thirteen patients who believed they were inventors. The resulting publication is based on hundreds of sketches, diagrams, and models, which Tramer explored not only with regard to their aesthetic-symbolic potential but also their practical-cultural and cognitive potential. Tramer promoted these patients by recommending literature and placing a workshop at their disposal. His study documents and illustrates the progress of these inventions, which often concerned the subject of perpetual motion. Among these inventors were the carpenter Robert Gie (1869–?), who was a patient at Rosegg from 1908–1922. Charles Ladame, an assistant doctor from 1918–1924, took along some of Gie’s drawings and later gave them to the Collection de l’Art Brut. The surviving works include two original drawings and numerous blueprints furnished by Ladame. The Rosegg archives hold neither the files of the patients studied by Tramer, nor have the drawings from that time survived.

Dubuffet, Jean, Fascidule 3, Collection de l’art brut, Lausanne (1965) 1999

Flournoy, Henri, Le symbolisme de la clef, in: Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, VI, 1920, pp. 269–270

Luchsinger Katrin, “Robert Gie”. in: Röske, Thomas (ed.), Airloom-Der Luftwebstuhl und andere gefährliche Beeinflussungsapparate. Katalog Sammlung Prinzhorn, Heidelberg 2006, pp. 214–238

Tramer, Moritz, Technisches Schaffen Geisteskranker, München und Berlin, 1926

Tramer, Moritz, Kantonale Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Rosegg und Pflegeheim Fridau, Verlag Eckhardt & Pesch, Zürich, 1932

Weber, Marilène, Machines et dessins de machines dans l’art asilaire. In: Fabienne Hulak (ed.), Pensée psychotique et création de systèmes. La machine mis à nu, Ramonville Saint-Agne 2003, pp. 57-103