SUNDAY Feature on ART of Architecture -by Gautam Shah
Félix Edouard Vallotton (1865-1925) was a Swiss born, Paris-trained Painter of landscapes, portraits, interiors and woodcut print-maker. He also ‘wrote three novels and eight plays, designed stage sets, took photographs and made sculptures’.
He painted genre scenes, portraits and nudes and deceptive street scenes and interiors. He painted stark flat areas with hard edges, filled with gradation-less but lurid colours. He was a ‘master of ambiguity’, over simplification and often absence of details. His scene narrations reflect high degree of tension. He was an avid hiker and for him contact with nature was a great source of atmospheric effects.
In 1916, Vallotton wrote in his diary, ‘I dream of painting that is free from any literal following of nature. I would like to recreate landscapes only with the aid of the feeling which they evoked in me, a few basic big lines and one or two details selected without any precise connection with time or lighting’.
Vallotton's graphic art reached its highest development in Intimités (Intimacies), a series of interiors. His wood cuts show extra ordinary reality through black-white, perhaps resulting from the Kodak camera (1899), he used.