Félix Edouard Vallotton (December 28, 1865 – December 29, 1925) was a Swiss painter and printmaker associated with Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Édouard Vuillard and their Paris-based Les Nabis art group. Les Nabis (Hebrew for The Prophets) were inspired by the decorative, Post-Impressionist, bold, flat style of Paul Gauguin and the simple clarity of Japanese woodblock prints. At some point Valloton was dubbed “the singular Félix Vallotton” by Thadée Natanson, co-founder of the avant-garde cultural journal La Revue blanche, for which the artist created stylish woodcuts and graphics, often satirising the fashion-conscious Parisienne and the city’s street life.
As if to prove his singularity, in the pre-war years Vallotton painted a lot of sunsets. Each is striking and intense, the coruscating, neon-tempered sun drenching everything in electrifying colours. The landscape oozes potential, as if something usually unseen has spread itself over the world when the people aren’t there and aren’t looking. It’s all strange, captivating and otherworldly. Is that our sun or cosmic rays seen through the window of the SS Starship Enterprise?
Most of these images, if not all, were painted as paysage composé (composed landscapes), which Vallotton created in the studio, the original views altered by memory and imagination.
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