The Paper Cutters of Pays-d’Enhaut

Louis Saugy (1871-1953) and Johann-Jakob Hauswirth (1809-1871) are Switserland’s or perhaps  Europe’s most secret master artists today. They invented the art of paper cutting (découpage in French, Scherenschnitt in German). It became a specialisation in the Pays-d’Enhaut region (canton de Vaud) and Château- d’Oex and Rougemont are its centres of excellence.

Louis Saugy lived in Rougemont and he cut out the life of Pays-d’Enhaut with its scissors. During his life time he was already a celebrity and a well known artist. Winston Churchill, the Royal Family of Spain, Field-marshal Alexander Montgomery and many other celebrities came to his house to see him cutting the paper

The Musée du Vieux Pays-d’Enhaut in Château-d’Oex shows many of his exceptional works. He cut everything, the abbey of Rougemont, chalets, people, shops, all kind of animals, mountains, trees, flowers, interiors of houses, cafés, restaurants and many other scenes of daily life.

His mother was a school mistress and drew beautifully. She taught him the basics of art. His father, was a farmer and butcher and would sometimes cut large paper silhouettes of animals and people in the evenings.

The MOB (the Montreux and the Bernese Oberland) railway connected Montreux and the Bernese Oberland and Rougemomt in 1905. The train replaced the Federal Postal Service stage-coach for delivering the wood chips used to make paper. It made his cutting live easier.  Many travellers and tourists began to arrive by train and they saw and bought his works and made him known across Europe.

The Louis Saugy trail in Rougement and the Musée du Vieux Pays-d’Enhaut show his life and work.