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Currently shown
Félix Vallotton

Vuillard Drawing at Honfleur

Artist

Félix Vallotton
Lausanne 1865 – Paris 1925

Title

Vuillard Drawing at Honfleur

Date

1902

Materials

Oil on cardboard

Dimensions

81.7 x 59.9 cm

Credits

Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2003.75

Collection

Western Art

Originally from Switzerland, Vallotton encountered artistic modernity in Paris. He became a member of the Nabi circle of artists, joining its founders, which included Vuillard. His reserved character earned him the nickname “Nabi étranger.” The biting tone of his paintings of middle-class interiors and life, and his woodcut engravings earned him international notoriety. A strong friendship formed between Vallotton and Vuillard, accompanied by a certain artistic affinity. During these years, they discovered a mutual interest for studying the landscape, and with portable Kodak and sketchbook, they explored the countryside before returning to the studio to compose their final pictures. In 1902, Vallotton joined Vuillard on the Normandy coast, in a villa where the park went right to the edge of the sea cliff. This picture — part portrait and part landscape — was painted then. The subject’s face is shaded by the brim of the cap, but the angular features and the red beard reveal he is Vuillard. The artist and nature are shown as one: like a great tree, he is a noble and powerful presence. Unlike Vallotton’s other more abstract and distant portraits of the time, Vuillard is rendered with simplicity and in a spirit of comradery and friendship.

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