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Félix Vallotton



Félix Vallotton was an early 20th-century artist known for witty political satire of urban French luxury culture and his intimate domestic scenes. Valloton was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 28, 1865, but moved to Paris at sixteen to be closer to the center of the European art world. He never left France and became a citizen in 1900. His early work in portraiture demonstrates the influence of Hans Holbein and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. His political woodcuts in the 1890s propelled him to fame, and his popularity was key to revitalizing the European printmaking tradition. His early prints were witty political commentaries from his left-wing point of view, mocking the consumerism and hypocrisy of the Parisian bourgeoisie. He was briefly involved with Les Nabis, a movement of French painters such as Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, who painted everyday French life in flat planes of color, strong outlines, and simple compositions. Vallotton soon abandoned Les Nabis due to stylistic differences. Despite his contempt for the wealthier classes, he married a rich woman and was able to completely give up his job as a magazine illustrator and printmaker. After his marriage, he was free to paint in his unique style and pursue careers as an art critic and novelist. Throughout his artistic career, Vallotton painted portraiture, and still-life, including “Chrysanthemums and Autumn Foliage,” street scenes, nudes, and quiet interior narratives. His domestic scenes, like “Interior with a Young Girl Writing,” often include romantic encounters between men and women. His paintings have an unemotional and wry perspective, often described as cinematic, likely from his experience as a playwright and set designer. His continued use of traditional representation is distinct from the more radical aesthetics of the early 20th century. Vallotton’s work has inspired movie producers such as Alfred Hitchcock and Wes Anderson.

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