Inventory Wallis

Institutions Psychiatriques du Valais Romand, Hôpital de Malévoz
Collection Malévoz

When it was established in 1901, “Malévoz mental asylum” was a particular kind of institution at the time: it was both a private hospital, founded by the psychiatrist Paul Repond (1856–1919), and served as the psychiatric hospital of the Canton Valais, initially housing twenty government-funded patients. Repond, previously director of Marsens mental hospital (1884–1897), was familiar with a pavillon-style institution. Situated on a steep hillside, Malévoz, however, required certain architectural adjustments, so that the pavillons were spread across a park populated by old chestnut trees and thus resembled a village. Initially designed to accommodate 60 patients, Malévoz was soon enlarged to house 250 patients. Among the buildings were a house for “pensionnaires” (private patients), who were charged five to twenty-five francs a day in the period 1901–1930, and pavillons for second- and third-class patients, whose daily rate was three to five francs. In 1916, Repond handed over as director to his son André (1886–1973, director 1916–1961), who had just completed his training as a psychiatrist at the Burghölzli Psychiatric Hospital in Zürich. Besides his interest in psychoanalysis, André Repond propagated psychohygiene and delivered lectures on the prevention of mental diseases to audiences from all reaches of strata. At Malévoz, patients were involved in farming, housekeeping, gardening, and bookbinding activities. Other activities on record are drawing, piano playing, embroidering, and weaving. Compared to other psychiatric clinics, patient stays at Malévoz were brief, often lasting only one to a few months. The clinic archive has survived intact. Of the 3193 files on patients admitted between 1901 and 1930, roughly one third were examined (1073 files). These included 28 works, but no larger groups of works.

Répond André, La maison de santé de Malévoz, Zürich, Verlag Eckhardt & Pesch, 1935

Fussinger, Catherine, Tevaearai, Deodaat, Leux de folie – Monuments de raison. Architecture et psychiatrie en Suisse romande, 1830-1930, Lausanne1998, pp. 92-100; pp. 152-157

Pozzi, Cathérine, Journal 1913-1934, Paris 1990

Zbinden, J.-D., L’organisateur, André Repond (1886-1973), in: Müller, Christian (ed.), Portrait de psychaitres romands, Lausanne 1995, pp. 9-75