Vallotton’s nudes + IoEA #27

Félix Vallotton (December 28 1865December 29 1925) was a Swiss painter and graphic artist, an important figure in the development of the modern woodcut; his work was recently celebrated in the 2007-08 retrospective Félix Vallotton: An Idyll at the Edge held in Zürich and Hamburg.

Self portrait, 1885, oil on canvas, by Félix Vallotton

Self portrait, 1885, oil on canvas, by Félix Vallotton

I’ve mentioned Swiss painter and woodcutter Félix Vallotton before here, he is one of the most interesting painters of the early 20th century. Tip of the hat to “Femme, femme, femme“, the blog, for bringing the crouching woman to my attention. The work of Vallotton is plentiful, varied and in the public domain and his edginess foreshadows the palatable work of art deco artist Tamara de Lempicka, and I have reason to imagine that Balthus was not averse to his work.

From my Flickr set:

vallotton_ballon_512x400FelixVallotton_3_Women_1907Felix Valloton Sitting woman with cat
Vallotton Femme nue regardant dans une psycheFelix-Vallotton woman with one naked breastvallotton moonlight

The “Crouching Woman with Cat” (4th painting from the left) reminded me of the opening “kitty milk” scene in Story of the Eye, the novel by Georges Bataille, which was analyzed by Roland Barthes in his essay, “Metaphor of the Eye”, published within Bataille’s own journal Critique, shortly after Bataille’s death in 1962. Barthes’s analysis centers on the centrality of the eye but also traces a second series of liquid metaphors within the text, which flow through tears, cat’s milk, egg yolks, frequent urination scenes, blood and semen, an analogy which might not be out of place in this painting.

Here are some of your favorites from other Flickr members.

Paris, Pompidou by iarasette Art tag from never_summer (Switzerland) by paolagaidolfi The Toilette -  Félix Vallotton by erikarivera1019 félix_vallotton by janvaneyck

The woman in red is quite strange, the corpse very macabre.

As a final encore, let me give you the work that introduced me to Vallotton:

Vallotton, Abuction of Europe

Abduction of Europe (1908) by Félix Vallotton

Update 22/6/08

Two more of his paintings

Valloton's Abandon


Vallotton's study of buttocks

The “bottom” one represents Icon of erotic art #27 ( IoEA #27),

One of the more beautiful depictions of the female posterior.

5 thoughts on “Vallotton’s nudes + IoEA #27

  1. suburbanlife

    I see the similarities to Balthus you mention, but also to Paul Delvaux, Ingres and to the cloisinnistes in the way he handles landscape – Gauguin, in particular the way he flattens and abstracts tonal ranges into discrete shapes. I don’t see similarities with Tamara de Lempicka as she makes machines out of bodies. The woman in red sitting is strange because of the juxtaposition of sexuality with an aggressive homeliness – that is quite provoking of consideration. G

  2. erikatakacs

    What a brilliant painter and unusual style! My favourite is his 3 women, which puzzles me, because I see four! The composition and colours are wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Erika

  3. jahsonic


    About the Tempicka likeness, it is most apparent in my opinion in the styling of the hair in The Rape of Europe (below), thought the comparison might be far-fetched.

    Erika, Raymond, thanks for your comments, Raymond, the postcard is lovely.


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