Felix Vallotton (born December 28, 1865 – died December 29, 1925) is a talented graphic artist, portraitist and landscape painter of the XIX-XX centuries, whose biography is inextricably linked with art. The work of the genius Felix Vallotton has a tinge of some kind of poisonous mockery. The master’s paintings critically reflect the surrounding reality and resemble a caricature.
Biography of Felix Vallotton
Felix Vallotton was born in southwestern Switzerland on December 28, 1865. Traditional family values have left an imprint on the character of the young man and his attitude towards contemplative practices. The future painter studied at the Lausanne cantonal gymnasium. He completed his studies in 1882, receiving a higher education in the field of classical studies. At the age of seventeen, the future genius moved to Paris and entered a private art school – Academie Julian. The young artist often visited the Louvre. The work of the old masters had a powerful influence on Vallotton and became for him a model of great art for life.
Felix Vallotton since 1891 worked quite productively. The paintings exhibited at the Salon of the Society of the Independent were popular with the public. Since 1893, the artist became close to the representatives of the creative group “Nabis”. However, the painter can be ranked among the Nabids only formally, since Vallotton had a peculiar style of combining realism and symbolism with elements of abstraction.
Felix Vallotton revived the technique of engraving:
first etching, later woodcutting, gaining fame as a portrait painter and book illustrator. His favorite technique is a stroke that adds volume to a flat image. The artist’s worldview, his political system of views are fully reflected in the pages of German and French magazines.
The artist created many works for various publications, among which the most famous are “True Paris”, “Book of Masks”, “Women’s Studies”. With a few light strokes, often fragmentary contour lines, Vallotton portrays French, German and Belgian politicians and writers. The portrait resemblance was very conditional, but the concept of symbols was convincing.
Felix Vallotton responded to the events of the First World War with a series of woodcuts. Battle landscapes, portraits of compatriots, French soldiers, allies and enemies were included in the album “Such is the War”.
In graphic works, a lot of plastic ideas were born, which later were embodied in color. By the 20th century, the artist abandoned engraving and devoted himself entirely to painting. Art critics compare his classic works of a realistic orientation with the works of Jean Ingres and Gustave Courbet.
In 1923, the master painted his last self-portrait – an amazing confession that reveals the spiritual world of genius. On December 29, 1925, Felix Vallotton passed away.
The most famous paintings by Felix Vallotton
The paintings created by the master are devoid of traditional types and techniques. They demonstrate non-standard points of view and perspectives:
- “Lies” (1898) – a scene from bourgeois life sharply and roughly reproduces the hypocritical images of partners.
- The Blue Room (1900) is an enclosed space and numerous folds of fabric sewn by women, creating a feeling of deep intimacy.
- The Rape of Europa (1908) is a painting depicting the heroine of Greek myth. Two years later, Valentin Serov will create an identical plot with the same name.
- Verdun (1917) is a battle scene with no human figures. The horror of war is transmitted through fire, dust, smoke and multidirectional beams of light.
- The Bay of Tregastel (1917) is a landscape that embodies the timeless monumentality of nature.
- Marigolds and Tangerines (1924) is an academically written still life that combines bright flowers and fruits of the same color.
Felix Vallotton’s work, based more on emotions, makes you feel the drama of the history of the time.