The Swiss painter, graphic designer, and writer Félix Vallotton was born on December 28, 1865 in Lausanne as the son of a poor family. He became one of the most significant representatives of symbolism. At age 17, Vallotton went to Paris and studied art there for three years at the Académie Julian under Jules-Joseph Lefèvre (1836 – 1911) and Gustave Boulanger (1824 – 1886).
Starting in 1885, the artist exhibited at the salon of the Société d’Art français and became a member of the Salon d’Art Independent in 1891. During the 1890s, his woodcuts appears in magazine like "La Revue Blanche", "Pan", and "Die Insel". In 1892, Félix Vallotton became a member of the artist group Narbis, to which Édouard Vuillard (1868 – 1940) and Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) also belonged. In 1897, the artist joined the staff of the magazine "Cris de Paris" and illustrated its covers.
Félix Vallotton became financially independent through his marriage to Gabrielle Rodrigues-Henriques, the sister of a gallery owner, in 1899 and primarily dedicated himself to painting thereafter. He became a French citizen the next year. In the following years, he participated in various international exhibitions such as the exhibition of the Berlin Secession in 1900. He created a total of more than 200 woodcuts, approx. 1700 paintings, drawings, sculptures, three novels, stage plays, and several essays.
In 1909, the artist’s first individual exhibition took place at the Zurich Kunsthaus (House of Art). Félix Vallotton died on December 29, 1925 in Paris. In its Félix Vallotton exhibition in 2008, the Hamburg art gallery displayed 70 paintings, more than 50 woodcuts, posters, books, illustrations, and vignettes of "this fascinating artist who has unjustly received little recognition in Germany". Vallotton‘s graphic designs gave the "Brücke" (The Bridge) artists an important impulse for their work with woodcut. He is now acknowledged as the forerunner for the artists of New Realism. Above all, his figurative paintings with their strangely under-cooled look have been important for them.
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