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5 Continents, Oct 15, 2007 - Art - 111 pages
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Félix Vallotton (1865-1925) was one of the greatest Swiss artists of the early 20th century. Until 1890, his painting remained faithful to academic teaching, and thus distant from the ferments of the avant-garde trends of post-impressionism; nevertheless, an originality in his essential and sharp drawing does stand out, and in some ways recalls Edgar Degas. He joined the Nabis group, and learned from them the fundamental canons of two-dimensional compositions and of arabesques, but he rejected the research typical of symbolism in favour of themes drawn from everyday life. While admiring Paul Cézanne, he turned to Henri Rousseau and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec for a manner in which to depict daily life with linear clarity. His stark paintings from the post-Nabi period were respected for their technical qualities, but the severity of his style was frequently criticised. In its uncompromising character his art prefigured the New Objectivity and has a further parallel in the work of Edward Hopper. This book offers a comprehensive overview of Vallotton's artistic career, examining his graphic work and paintings, including portraits, nudes, landscapes, interiors, and still lifes. Marina Ducray explores Vallotton's oeuvre from his early work, and the influences of post-Impressionism, symbolism, and Japanese art on his graphic work, to the artist's more mature paintings, which were characterised by a sober, and often bitter realism.

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