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Félix Vallotton

"It’s a document that doesn’t rest. Perhaps when I return I will draw something like that, once digested. (judging his work executed on the Front of the First World War)."


Notes of biography

Félix Edouard Vallotton was born at the end of 1865 in Lausanne, Switzerland where his father had a drug store. He followed classical studies, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Latin and Greek, at this time he already had a taste for the arts and painting. Félix Vallotton leaves for Paris to attend courses at the Julian Academy; he is quickly noticed and passes the entrance examination to enter the School of Fine Arts, where he is accepted in 1883. While he is living in Paris, he returns regularly to Switzerland for vacation. He meets numerous Swiss artists (Biéler, Reichlen, Gaulis, Blancpain, etc.) and becomes friends with Charles Maurin and the engraver Félix Jasinski. He is passionate about portraits. His art often takes on a certain liberty in respect to the academics with whom he studied.
The artist has great financial difficulty. He exhibits for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants in1891. After 1890 he takes up wood engraving, producing two etched engravings inspired by Rembrandt and Millet. The revival that is inspired by this old technique quickly brings him international notoriety of an artist at the point of modernising.
He becomes friends with Vuillard, Bonnard and Maurice Denis, the joins the Nabis group and becomes the principal illustrator for La Revue Blanche. His marriage in 1899 to the daughter of great painting merchant Alexandre Bernheim marks a turning point in his career. He dedicates himself to painting, his first vocation.
In 1900, he is naturalized French. His art does not break with tradition but overwhelms it with his powerful decorative effects, with a palette where the sombre tones alternate with colors that are brighter, that often clash and that are sometimes dreamlike. Fiercely independant, he elaborates his own style in a few years. Moreover, Félix Vallotton is a prolific designer, he tries his hand at sculpture and applied arts, he writes (art critics, novels, theatre, essays, journals, etc.).
Secretive and passionate, thoughtful and sensual, misanthrope and seducer, aspiring with luck but regaling with suffering, the man is as complex as his art in knowing an apparent simplicity. He belonged to the most prestigious art societies, he participated in all the great international exhibitions, in 1903, at the first Salon d’Automne, where he is a founding member, and at the Vienna Secession, where he presents a dozen paintings and receives congratulations from Gustav Klimt and Hodler.
Vallotton takes many trips (Germany, Holland, Sweden, Italy, etc.), and makes more friendships (Manguin, Marquet, etc.). In 1909, he participates in the Foundations of the Ranson Academy, with Vuillard, Bonnard, Denis et Roussel, whilst in Zurich, the Kunstlehaus organizes the first exhibition that is completely dedicated to his work. The exhibitions dedicated to him multiple.
The summer of 1914, Félix Vallotton is in Honfleur, when the war is declared. He tried to enlist voluntarily, but is refused for reasons of his age. In 1917, he visits the Front that inspires a series of war landscapes. At the end of the First World War, he takes trips to different regions of France until 1924, all in continuing to paint until his sickness wins him over.
In 1925, Félix Vallotton is hospitalized in Paris to have an operation. The artist, who was close to his 60th Birthday, dies following the operation.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • « Documents pour une biographie … », 3 Vol., Ed. Bibliothèque des arts, 1973
  • « F. Vallotton. La vie, la technique, l'oeuvre peint », M. Ducrey, Edita, 1989
  • « Félix Vallotton », collection Noir et Blanc, Ed. Sauret, Monaco, 1993
  • « Le très singulier Vallotton », D. Brachlianoff et autres, R.M.N., 2001
  • « F. Vallotton : De la gravure à la peinture », C. Rümelin, Ed. Benteli, 2010
  •  Felix Vallotton, critique d'art », R. Koella et K. Poletti, 5 Continents Ed., Milan, 2012
  • « La vie en noir, dessins de presse », Editions de Paris, 2013
  • « Vallotton est inadmissible », Maryline Desbiolles, Ed. du Seuil, 2013
  • « Vallotton », monographie, Marina Ducrey, Milan, 5 Continents Ed., 2013
  • « Félix Vallotton sous le feu de la critique » K. Poletti, RMN, Grand Palais, Paris, 2013
To read from the artist :
  • « Les soupirs de Cyprien Morus » (Roman), Ed. Les Trois Collines, Paris, 1944
  • « La vie meurtrière », roman de Félix Vallotton, Ed. Phébus, 2009
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Art movements

+ NABIS MOVEMENT / 1888-1910 / Paul Sérusier, Paul Ranson, Henri Gabriel Ibels, Maurice Denis, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover