Hodler, Ferdinand

Hodler, Ferdinand hōdˈlər [key], 1853–1918, Swiss painter and lithographer. Known for his emotion-laden portraits and landscapes, he is particularly beloved in his native country. At first he worked in a manner that combined realism with an ornamental style akin to art nouveau. Inclined toward mysticism, a tendency that can be seen in works such as his painting The Night (1889–1890), he visited Paris in 1891 and was attracted to the symbolist group that had formed around Gauguin. Hodler then evolved his own powerful means of expression with strong rhythmic patterns and a tight linear structure, which he called parallelism. He was one of the earliest painters to influence the expressionists of the next generation (see expressionism). His paintings became more personal and simplified in his final decade, as in the portrait of his dying lover Valentine Godé-Darel. Other characteristic paintings are Eurythmy (1894–95, Bern) and The Woodcutter (1910, Mus. d'Orsay, Paris).

See studies by P. Selz (1972), S. L. Hirsh (1982), T. Brezzola et al. (2004), W. Hauptman (2008), and the Neue Galerie (museum catalog, 2012).

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