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Kartause Ittingen

Kartause Ittingen

Kartause [Charterhouse] Ittingen, a former monastery 4 km [2.5 miles] north of Frauenfeld, northeastern Switzerland has become an important centre of fine arts in the region hosting Thurgau's Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts.

Besides, the property features a conference center, hotel, restaurants, banquet facilities, a religious retreat centre of the Reformed Church, rose, herb and hops gardens and a residence for handicapped people. They work in the property's own farm and wineyard, dairy, beer brewery, pottery, hotel and restaurant. Agriculture serves mainly the property's own restaurants, a small part is sold in a little shop.

Artists and writers may stay for free in one of the former monks cells provided they produce one work that incorporates the Kartause.

Ups and Downs in the History of Kartause Ittingen

1084 The Carthusian Order is founded by St Bruno at Chartreuse, France. Kartause Ittingen
St Laurentius
patron of the church in Ittingen
used to be highly venerated in the Frauenfeld region during the middle ages.
1150 Ittingen is founded by the local nobility as an Augustinian monastery.
1461 Ittingen is sold to the Carthusian Order and adopts their specific rule of religious life. Carthusian monks live in individual cells where they spend most of their time in solitude much like hermits. These cells are characteristic for Carthusian architecture. The monks do join together several times a day for singing and prayers in the church and for dinner on Sundays, however.
1524 The charterhouse of Ittingen is destroyed during the disorders of the Swiss Reformation. While monasteries remain closed in the areas of Switzerland dominated by the cities of Zurich, Bern, Geneva, Basel and Schaffhausen, monasteries in Aargau and Thurgau (areas under joint administration by catholic cantons of central Switzerland and reformed cities) are soon restored for some centuries.
1798 During the Swiss Revolution (1798 - 1815) monasteries all over Switzerland are not allowed to accept novices.
1848 19th century liberalism, particularly strong in cantons Aargau and Thurgau, clashes with the churches' determination to play a dominating rôle in politics. In Switzerland the formation of a modern, democratic federal state and the political struggle between liberal politicians and the churches [Kulturkampf] are closely intervowen. So the victory of the liberals over the conservatives in the civil war of 1847 leads to the secularization [abolition] of monasteries in canton Thurgau in 1848. Kartause Ittingen is run as a state owned farmyard for some years.
1867 Kartause Ittingen is sold to a local family and used for 110 years as a farm.
1977 A non-profit association "Kartause Ittingen" is founded and takes over to preserve the buildings from decay.
1979 to 1983 Complete restauration of the buildings. The cantonal museum of fine arts of canton Thurgau moves in. A guesthouse is added so that the site can be operated as a culture and congress centre. The agricultural facilities serve as suppliers to the hotel restaurant.

Thurgau's Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts


Regional Art Outsiders / Naive Art Contemporary Art

For a long period, public activity in fine arts by the cantonal authorities was orientiented on a territorial principle. Occasionally works of regional artists were acquired to support them and to document "native creativity". Outstanding in this group are Adolf Dietrich, a naive painter from Berlingen (Bodensee) and Helen Dahm, an expressionist and tachist painter who spent her childhood in Kreuzlingen (Bodensee).

  • Adolf Dietrich
  • Helen Dahm
  • Hans Brühlmann
  • Ignaz Epper
  • Ernst Kreidolf
  • Martha Haffter
  • Carl Roesch
  • Ernst Emil Schlatter

Based on the unique group of works by regional painter Adolf Dietrich and his importance in Naive Art, the cantonal museum of fine arts began to build up a collection of works by Swiss and international outsiders in art in the 1960's - a field in fine arts that most other Swiss museums of art pay less attention to. The museum administrates the estates of Adolf Dietrich and Hans Krüsi.

  • André Bauchant
  • Ulrich Bleiker
  • Anselme Bois-Vives
  • Erich Boedecker
  • Camille Bombois
  • Adolf Dietrich
  • Jakob Greuter
  • Emeric Fejes
  • Mirek Tichy
  • Hans Krüsi
  • Louis Vivin
  • Josef Wittlich
Outstanding regional artists do still play an important rôle in recent acquisitions of the museum. Since 1995 works of foreign artists are being collected, too, if they take up and interpret the special ambiente of Kartause Ittingen.

  • Marina Abramovic
  • Fredi Bissegger
  • Charles Bötschi
  • Hannes Brunner
  • Janett Cardiff
  • chiarenza & hauser
  • H.R. Fricker
  • Jochen Gerz
  • Hervé Graumann
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Peter Kamm
  • Simone Kappeler
  • Ute Klein
  • Joseph Kosuth
  • Muda Mathis
  • Rutishauser/Kuhn
  • Arthur Schneiter
  • Roman Signer
  • Peter Somm
  • Mark Staff Brandl
  • Conrad Steiner
  • stöckerselig
  • Guido von Stürler
  • Richard Tisserand

Opening Hours

Winter October, 1st to March, 31st Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturdays/Sundays/public holidays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summer April, 1st to September, 30th Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturdays/Sundays/public holidays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

How to get there

By Public Transport

  • Take Intercity (IC) / Interregio (IR) train to Frauenfeld, there are some direct connections from Geneva, Lausanne and Bern, otherwise change at Zurich HB (main station) to trains leaving for Winterthur - Frauenfeld (- Romanshorn), leave train at Frauenfeld (trains coming from Zurich arrive every hour at 46 and 16 minutes)
  • From Frauenfeld there are (almost) hourly yellow post-buses to Warth - Stein am Rhein departing 2 minutes before the full hour right from Frauenfeld station. Taking one of these buses, you have to walk for 500 m (1/3 mile) to the Kartause (direction: to the west).
  • Direct post-buses to Kartause Ittingen leave Frauenfeld station at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
    return 4:48 p.m. from Kartause to Frauenfeld
Timetable information valid until 2005-12-10. For detailed information use timetable query on the right.
Online timetable, enter any starting point within Switzerland, answer will be provided by Swiss Federal Railways in a separate window:

Online Timetable

Time: Departure Arrival

Map of Switzerland with Kartause Ittingen

By Car


Unfortunately, almost all really significant websites and publications on Kartause Ittingen are only available in German, the official language of the region.

The links presented below point to pages with paintings by Adolf Dietrich.

The links presented below point to pages with many pictures that give a good impression of what kind of paintings you can expect if you plan a visit. If links are broken, please try the domain's homepage. (Helen Dahm Society, Oetwil am See)

Switzerland from A to Z
Short quotations allowed but with precise declaration of origin (Link).
Reproduction of substantial parts and pictures in printed or electronic form only with explicit written consent by the editor.