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ART SEEN - Hodler

ART SEEN // Events// Art & Culture // By Uli Van Neyghem // April 12, 2018

Uli Van Neyghem has been to see the Hodler at Le Léman exhibition at the Musée d'Art de Pully.

Here's what she found...

  • Image: Gertrud Dübi-Müller, Ferdinand Hodler, at the Quai du Mont-Blanc in Genève, the day before his death; 18 May 1918
  • Jura Brüschweiler Archives; Geneva

 

Hodler at the Musée d'Art de Pully: the Lake Geneva panoramas of a Swiss Icon

In 1918, famous Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler died in his apartment overlooking Lake Geneva and the panorama that he painted so many times during his lifetime. 100 years later, the Musée d'Art de Pully pays homage to the Swiss icon with the first exhibition ever devoted to his luminous representations of the lake. From the time he arrived in Geneva (considered an artistic centre at the time) at the age of 18, he constantly looked for new points of view and innovative perspectives around the lake.

  • ‚ÄčImage: Ferdinand Hodler, Le Grammont, 1905, oil on canvas, Christoph Blocher collection
  •  

Trying to make a living as a painter, he lived in poor circumstances, until his painting 'Night' (showing several scarcely dressed figures relaxed in sleep, except one fearful man menaced by a figure shrouded in black, which Hodler intended as a symbol of death), caused a scandal in the city of Calvin. Parisian audiences proved to be less prudish and the painting won awards that brought him recognition and sales success that finally eased his poverty. 

The exhibition at the Musée de Pully takes the visitor through Hodler's artistic development: Hodler's early paintings that are detailed and realistic. His work takes on a more expressionist aspect after 1900 and his landscapes are getting reduced to essentials. He develops a preference for long landscape formats and only uses narrow horizontal bands in these, accentuating the sense of immensity, as his paintings move towards ever greater abstraction. 

  • Image: Ferdinand Hodler, Pommiers au bord du Léman. (approx. 1893),  Oil on canvas; 45 × 63 cm, private collection. 

 

One room of the exhibition is dedicated to Hodler's paintings of Valentine Godé-Darel, who became his model, mistress and the mother of his daughter Paulette. Tragically, she fell mortally ill and Hodler documented her long struggle against death in what is today recognised as one of the most moving series in modern art. Sitting at her bedside, Hodler also painted a number of his landscapes that are shown in the exhibition.  

If you should have the possibility to time your visit accordingly, try to visit the Hodler exhibition in the afternoon, around or after 15:00. At this time precisely, the blinds (covering all windows to protect the paintings against the harsh direct light during the earlier hours of the day) are being lifted, revealing the grandiose views on the very landscape that Ferdinand Hodler painted. 

What:                     Hodler et Le Léman
Where:                   Musée d'Art de Pully, Chemin Davel 2, 1009 Pully
When:                    until June 3, 2018
Opening times:    Tuesday - Sunday 11:00-18:00, except Thursday: 11:00-20:00
Entry fees:            Adults: CHF 15 (Seniors / students etc CHF 12 and children <16 free)

 

 

 

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