Félix Edouard Vallotton (December 28, 1865 – December 29, 1925) “was a Swiss painter and printmaker associated with Les Nabis. He was an important figure in the development of the modern woodcut.” (Wikipedia) After graduating for the Collège Cantonal in Lausanne, Félix moved to Paris to study at the famous Académie Julian. As stated in Wikipedia, his contribution to the development of the modern woodcut sets him apart. Vallotton is associated mainly with late nineteenth-century symbolism, a French, Russian and Belgian movement. The symbolists were influenced by oriental art and, in particular, Japonisme.
Symbolism is a post-impressionist movement and is characterized by its spirituality. In this regard, it is part of a larger movement that encompasses literature and other schools: Les Nabis is one. In literature, such poets as Stéphane Mallarmé sought to reach “l’absolu.” Mallarmé did so by writing in so hermetic a language that some of his poetry is not accessible to most readers. If any art ever attained an infinite, it is music, a language above language.
Vallotton’s art is not altogether symbolist. However, his nude figures are characteristics of symbolism and they are also to be found in Ferdinand Hodner, another Swiss-born artist whose art I featured in my Ferdinand Hodner: July 15th, 2012.
© Micheline Walker 19 July 2012 WordPress