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Vallotton: the sweet revolution...

He was born in Lausanne in 1865.

Félix Vallotton, a former student of the Julian Academy and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, was a facetious observer of bourgeois life in the Belle Epoque before going through the Great War in all its appalling desolation. A talented painter of feminine indolence captured at random from bathing scenes, he constantly denounced the hypocrisy of a certain society, bordering on vaudeville, alcoves, slamming doors and street scenes.

But it would be too easy to reduce this touch of everything, exceptional engraver, to the simple contemplation of the mores of his time. Félix Vallotton brought to the pictorial technique an original approach by the use of contrasts where shadow and light marry in the intimacy of color...

Selected pieces of this exceptional painter, too little known.

Edma Morisot. Paysage avec pêcheur. Vers 1865. Collection particulière
Félix Vallotton. Sur la plage de Dieppe. 1899. Collection particulière

Under a sky torn by a flash of blue whose color reflects that of the beach and not of the sea, treated in dark green tones, a small group turns its back on us, frozen in an attitude of contemplative boredom. The foam of the waves is deposited like a uniform band in front of the characters leaning towards the left, in the direction of the diagonal which cuts the painting and contrasts with the line of the horizon.

Edma Morisot. Portrait de Berthe Morisot au chevalet. Vers 1865. Collection particulière
Félix Vallotton. La chambre rouge. 1898. Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne

Sacrilegious passage from the threshold of the bedroom... the couple, drawn by the force of the embrace, prepares to plunge into the red and incandescent universe of the intoxication suffered, under the gaze of Vallotton himself , whose bust sits on the fireplace, under a painting by Vuillard.

Berthe Morisot. Portrait de MBerthe Morisot, Portrait de Madame Edma Pontillon, née Edma Morisot, soeur de l'artiste, en 1871, pastel sur papier, H. 81,5 ; L. 65,8 cm. , Legs Mme Pontillon, 1921, © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Félix Vallotton. Le rayon. 1909. Musée d'art moderne André Malraux. Le Havre

Like a laser cutting through the foliage, the sun reveals, in the gentle rawness of this ray, the trunks of trees in an undergrowth. A small house hides in the background behind a wooden fence. The colors, grayed out by the darkness, are revealed on the path of the light with the ocher and red tones of the sunset fire...


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...




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