Félix Vallotton

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Self-portrait , Kunsthaus Zürich (1905)

Félix Vallotton (born December 28, 1865 in Lausanne , † December 29, 1925 in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris ) was a Swiss , later French painter , graphic artist , wood engraver and writer .

life and work

Félix Vallotton came from a Protestant family that has been recorded in Vallorbe since the 15th century . At seventeen he went to Paris , where he trained as a painter at the Académie Julian under Gustave Boulanger and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre . In 1885 he took part in an exhibition at the “Salon des Artistes Français” and began his Livre de Raison, a chronological list of his works, which he continued until his death. In 1890 he took part in the first "Exposition nationale suisse des Beaux-Arts" in Bern , and in 1891 he exhibited in the Salon des Indépendents .

Portrait of Gertrude Stein , 1907

In the 1890s, Vallotton was best known for his woodcuts , which caused a sensation with a new type of surface division and their harsh black and white contrasts and appeared in magazines such as La Revue blanche , Pan and Die Insel . In 1892 he became a member of the artist group Nabis .

His painting was based on Courbet and Manet , but placed particular emphasis on strong outlines and exaggerated plasticity of the figures.

From left: Ker-Xavier Roussel , Édouard Vuillard , Romain Coolus and Félix Vallotton in 1899

In 1899 he married Gabrielle Bernheim (1863-1932), divorced Rodrigues-Henriques, daughter of the Parisian art dealer and owner of the Bernheim-Jeune gallery , Alexandre Bernheim (1836-1915), and sister of Joseph Bernheim-Jeune (1870-1941) and Gaston Bernheim de Villers (1870-1953). From that year he mainly devoted himself to painting. In 1900 he became a French citizen. In the years before the First World War he took part in numerous international exhibitions.

He died in 1925 at the age of 60 as a result of a cancer operation. He found his final resting place on the Parisian Cimetière du Montparnasse .

Vallotton's work is diverse and includes over 200 woodcuts, numerous drawings, around 1700 paintings and some sculptures. In addition, he wrote three novels, including La vie meurtrière (1905) and Corbehaut (1920), several plays and a series of essays.

In Martin Suter's novel The Last Weynfeldt , Vallotton's picture Femme nue devant une salamandre (Naked woman in front of a salamander) and a forgery of this painting play a central role.


Paintings (selection)




  • Marina Ducrey: Félix Vallotton. La vie, la technique, l'œuvre peint . Edita, Lausanne 1989, ISBN 2-88001-248-1 .
  • Marina Ducrey: Félix Vallotton: Catalog Raisonné de l'oeuvre peint , 3 vols., With Katia Poletti. Fondation Félix Vallotton, Lausanne 2005, ISBN 978-8874-39179-0 .
  • Rudolf Koella (Ed.): Félix Vallotton . Hirmer, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7774-6610-7 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, Hypo-Kulturstiftung Munich, November 26, 1995 to February 18, 1996).
  • Rudolf Koella: About Felix Vallotton. Articles from 40 years of research . Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-03-823548-4 .
  • Julius Meier-Graefe : Félix Vallotton. Biography of the artist along with the most important part of his previously published work & a number of undated original records = biography de cet artiste avec la partie la plus importante de son œuvre editee et differentes gravures originales & nouvelles. Stargardt, Berlin; Sagot, Paris 1898.
  • Max Osborn : The rebirth of the woodcut (p. 363–365, with self-portrait and cut by Vallotton), in: Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde Heft 9, December 1903, p. 345–365 ( digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  • Maxime Vallotton, Charles Goerg: Félix Vallotton. Catalog raisonné de l'œuvre gravé et lithographié . Bonvent, Geneva 1972.
  • Werner Weber : Eden and misery: Félix Vallotton, painter, poet, critic . Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich 1998, ISBN 3-85823-714-0 .


  • Félix Vallotton, with a cool brushstroke. (OT: Félix Vallotton, la vie à distance. ) Documentary film, France, 2013, 52:10 min., Script and direction: Juliette Cazanave, production: arte France, Cinétévé, Musée d'Orsay , first broadcast: October 6, 2013 at arte, summary of arte.

Web links

Commons : Félix Vallotton  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Christian Klemm u. a .: From anchor to Zünd. Art in the Young Federal State 1848–1900 . Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich 1998, ISBN 3-906574-008 (catalog of the exhibition of the same name, Musée Rath , February 13 to May 10, 1998).
  2. Per Amann: The late Impressionists . Berghaus-Verlag, Kirchdorf-Inn 1986, ISBN 3-7635-0106-1 .
  3. knerger.de: The grave of Félix Vallotton
  4. fundus entry at The Met Fifth Avenue.