Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ferdinand Hodler, Swiss painter, 1853-1918



Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Landschaft bei Caux mit aufsteigenden Wolken - 1917
Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) was born in Berne, the eldest of 6 children. By the time Hodler was 8, he had lost his father & 2 younger brothers to tuberculosis. His mother remarried but died of tuberculosis in 1867, when he was 14. Eventually the disease killed all of Hodler's remaining siblings, instilling in the artist a powerful consciousness of mortality.

Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Bildnis Madame de R. - 1898Before he was 10, Hodler received training in decorative painting from his stepfather, & was then sent to Thun to apprentice with a local painter, Ferdinand Sommer. Hodler's earliest works were conventional landscapes, which he sold in shops & to tourists. In 1871, at the age of 18, he traveled on foot to Geneva to start a career as a painter of landscapes, figures, & portraits.Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Abendnebel am Thunersee - 1908As time passed, Hodler's work took on an expressionist aspect with strongly colored & geometrical figures. Landscapes were pared down to essentials, sometimes consisting of a jagged wedge of land between water & sky.Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Portrait of a Woman 1907In 1908, he met Valentine Godé-Darel, who became his mistress. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1913, & the many hours Hodler spent by her bedside resulted in a remarkable series of paintings documenting her decline. Her death in January 1915, affected Hodler greatly. Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Berggipfel am Morgen - c 1915In 1914, he condemned the German atrocities conducted using artillery at Rheims. In retaliation for this, German art museums excluded Hodler's work.
Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Bildnis Gertrud Müller - c 1912In his final years, Hodler occupied himself with a series of about 20 introspective self-portraits dating from 1916. By late 1917 his declining health led him to thoughts of suicide. He died on May 19, 1918 in Geneva.

Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Die Dents du Midi von Chesières aus - 1912Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Artist's WifeFerdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Jungfrauenmassiv und Schwarzmönch - 1911 Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Giulia Leonardi 1910 Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Der Niesen - 1910Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Le Grand MuveranFerdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Giulia Leonardi 1910Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Aufsteigender nebel über den Savoyer Alpen - 1917 Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) An Italian Woman Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Die Dents du Midi von Caux aus - 1917Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss painter, 1853-1918) Madame Valentine Gode-Darel 1914