Saturday, August 4, 2012

Vallotton, Felix

Le Mensonge (The Lie)
oil on board
14 x 33.4 cm
Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, USA

Félix Edouard Vallotton (1865 - 1925) was a Swiss painter associated with Les Nabis. He was an important figure in the development of the modern woodcut. He was born into a well-to-do middle-class family in Lausanne. At the age of seventeen, he came to Paris to enter the Académie Julian. He spent many hours in the Louvre, where he greatly admired the works of Holbein, Dürer and Ingres; these artists would remain exemplars for Vallotton throughout his life. He began his artistic career by painting portraits, and then turned to interior scenes. It was during this period that he developed his own manner of painting: he worked with small, precise strokes, carefully rendering every detail and creating a smooth canvas surface.

During the First World War he produced an anti-war series of drawing. In the 1920s he regularly exhibited at the Salon d'Automne, though his popularity underwent a marked decline. He died on the day after his 60th birthday, following cancer surgery in Paris in 1925. Apart from his work in the fields of painting, drawing and sculpture, he wrote three novels and a number of plays.