St. Gallen Wil


Inventory Wil SG

Cantonal Psychiatric Services – Sector North,
Psychiatric Clinic Wil
Collection Wil at Staatsarchiv of the Kanton St. Gallen

The second psychiatric hospital in the canton St. Gallen after St. Pirminsberg was founded in Wil in 1892 under the name Kantonales Asyl Wil. The first director of the institution Heinrich Schiller (1854–1945), who held this position from 1892 to 1935, placed great importance on self-reliance. The large farm was considered a model farm well into the mid-twentieth century, in the realm of livestock breeding, for example. With the purchase of Alp Barenegg at 1,000 meters above sea level, additional farmland was added. The large farm offered diverse forms of employment for the patients. Schiller was one of the pioneers of so-called work therapy and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Universität Bern in 1935 for his work in this area. Under his leadership, the asylum was turned into a large psychiatric hospital: Originally conceived for 120 patients in five buildings, by 1935 the institution already had twenty-five buildings for around 1,000 patients. Of the around 4,120 patient files from the founding of the institution in 1892 to 1930, more than one fifth (944 files) were studied. Eighty-five works, drawings, calligraphies, and paper objects by fourteen male patients and one female patient were found. When the historical archive was handed over to the Staatsarchiv in 2017, all files were reexamined and another one hundred works were located. The Psychiatrische Klinik Wil places a great importance on art and creative therapy.

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

Jahresberichte des kantonalen Asyls in Wil. 1892-1912, 1921, 1941-1950

Ehemann, Ruth, Virtual Reality Therapy: Entwicklung, Durchführung und Evaluation eines Applikationsmodells für eine kunsttherapeutische Arbeit mit psychiatrischen Patienten, Ravensburg 2012

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

Mikolasec, Jan, Das Kantonale Asyl in Wil (St. Gallen): die Jahre 1892 bis 1950 der heutigen Psychiatrischen Klinik. Dietikon 1991

Müller, Peter, Patienten, Bauern, Therapeuten: Gutsbetrieb und Arbeitstherapie in der Psychiatrischen Klinik Wil 1892-2007

Schaufelberger, Peter E., Vom Asyl zur Klinik. Bodensee Hefte. Nr. 6, S. 14-19. Goldach 1992