Peter Birkhäuser Gallery

The disruptive and transformative reality of the individuation process is captured in this gallery of works by the Swiss artist Peter Birkhäuser.

The creative process of the Swiss artist Peter Birkhäuser (1911-1976) took a striking turn when he entered midlife. A successful and influential graphic artist, Birkhäuser entered a deep depression and sought answers in the ideas of C.G. Jung. He entered analysis with Marie-Louise von Franz and developed a friendship with Jung himself. As it became more difficult for Birkhäuser to finish his creative assignments, he began to illustrate images from his dreams. Over the course of 35 years, he kept notes on over 3400 of his dreams, and his work increasingly focused on the images emerging from his unconscious. His new work was not well-received by the art community of the time, but, viewed today, his vivid paintings bear striking testament to the disruptive and transformative reality of the individuation process. Few artists have so powerfully evoked the uncanny otherness of the unconscious.

Many images in this gallery are accompanied by commentary by Jungian analyst Dean Frantz, who devoted much of his professional career to chronicling Birkhäuser’s story and creative work. The images are scanned from Frantz’s slides; where titles are known, they are included under each thumbnail. Frantz’s collected papers are housed in the collection of The Jung Center of Houston’s library, and a DVD presentation by Frantz on Birkhäuser’s work is available for sale through The Jung Center’s bookstore.