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After the Grand Palais, Paris, the main exhibition about Franco-Swiss artist Félix Vallotton is now showing in Amsterdam. The exhibition displays a mixture of paintings and prints. Around 60 paintings from various international museums, such as the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Kunsthaus Zürich, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and various private collections, combined with some 40 prints from the Van Gogh Museum’s collection provide an overview of every facet of Vallotton’s oeuvre.
One of the great interest of this exhibition is the discovery of his woodcuts. Indeed, Vallotton always shown a vivid interest in woodcuts and chiefly won international renown with them, which are unparalleled in style, technique and mood. An underlying tension or threat is always present in these works, although they also incorporate humorous elements that often harbour social criticism. The Van Gogh Museum presents a large number of those woodcuts.
But Vallotton was also a painter and developed a highly personal style, drawing his inspiration from Japanese print art, the work of the Neoclassical French master Ingres and photography. Being part of Les Nabis, his style is characterised by a smooth finish, a cool atmosphere and a sophisticated use of colour.
The exhibition will let you admire how Vallotton deliberately detached himself from the world which he observed sharply in all its cruelty and absurdity. This observing attitude is a feature of both his paintings and his woodcuts. What turmoil do his smooth surfaces conceal, what emotions slumber beneath that cool detachment?
© Van Gogh Museum.