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Details & Cataloguing

Swiss Art/Swiss Made

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Zurich

Félix Vallotton
1865 - 1925
BORD DE SEINE À TOURNEDOS, EFFET GRIS, 1921

Provenance

Galerie Druet, Paris
Werner Herold, Paris, (1922)
Private collection, USA (thence by descent)

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Druet, 1922, no 25, 26 or 27 

Literature

Livre de raison, no. 1355
Marina Ducrey in collaboration with Katia Poletti, Félix Vallotton (1865-1925). L'oeuvre peint, catalogue raisonné, Milan/Lausanne/Zurich 2005, vol. III, p. 761, no. 1428

Catalogue Note

In mid-September 1921, invited by his friend and fellow painter Henri Malançon, Vallotton spent some time with his wife in Tournedos-sur-Seine, a small village in Normandy. When visiting the area, he produced numerous sketches which served as studies for finished paintings produced using the technique known as “paysage composé” – meticulously designed compositions completed in his atelier. Painted that same year, the present work is a quintessential example of Vallotton’s artistic idiom from the early 1900s. 

In Bord de Seine à Tournedos, effet gris, the artist conveys a sense of perspective by the only use of exaggerated diagonal lines, hereby emphasised by the winding trail and the tall blades of grass in the foreground, whilst the use of colour is flat, unmodulated. Hills and trees in the background are defined by their geometric qualities rather than by naturalistic representation. The whole composition and its pictorial quality convey an eerie, peculiar feeling which is not uncommon to Vallotton’s landscapes and which locates them in the tradition of hyperrealism which was developing at the time with artists such as Edward Hopper and those gravitating around the New Objectivity movement. It is not surprising, therefore, that German artist Alexander Kanoldt openly acknowledged the influence of Vallotton’s landscapes in his own art.

Parting ways from the naturalistic and arcadian tradition of landscape painting, when confronted with nature Vallotton’s aim was to paint objects in their physicality, in their current state of being.

In 1921, Vallotton painted twice this subject, but only this version comprises a additional comment "effet gris" which reflects his state of mind during this second trip in Tournedos with his wife Gabrielle. 

Swiss Art/Swiss Made

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Zurich