The biography of Johann Rudolf Ochs (1673-1749) is a work in progress. Despite numerous entries in Swiss dictionaries of artists and artisans, not even a basic curriculum vitae exists. Perhaps worse,
upon enquiry in Bern archives and libraries, surprisingly the learned librarians could not name or locate a single work of art by the famed Piitschiergriiber (seal engraver) or "Gemmenschneider" ( cutter of gems, or cameos) Ochs. The legendary art of the young Swiss is as elusive as the young artist himself. This is surprising as he is usually praised as an extraordinary artist, even as the best engraver of his time, "le meilleur graveur qui existe aujourdhuy." Yet, so far it has been impossible to find any primary reference to a work by Ochs, or a piece of art itself.3 Apparently, the influential patriotic lexicographer Fliessli4 wanted him to be a great Swiss artist, but he as well as all his copying followers failed in referring to his art as such.
"Towards a Swiss American Colony,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 48:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol48/iss2/3