Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Felix Vallotton in Black & White



The artist for this week is very hard to categorize. He was a printer, painter, author and critic. Since his popularity was cinched by his woodcuts (that went against the grain of the times - sorry for the pun), he is our subject and his name was Felix Vallotton (1865-1925)


At the time that Vallotton was creating his woodcuts, the world of art printing was caught up in color lithography. He determined that he could make a greater impact with black and white. To that end,he would produce an impressive 120 woodcut black & white prints in 10 years!

.As happened with many artists of the 19th Century, like Van Gogh, Cassatt, and Monet, he was inspired by Japanese prints. For Vallotoon, it was not only for the flat appearance and mix of design elements, but also for the elimination of excessive details.



In his limited use of colors and his reduction to simple lines, Vallotton broke with traditional techniques of preparing a print. Instead, he used the high contrast to create dramatic tension and it brought him fame.



Vallotton's woodcuts are all about the tension between men and women, the almost caricature simplicity in his portraits of the famous, the mundane of the times, and finally,with age and marriage, a scene of an old man.

To this day, his prints are highly-regarded and are featured in the collections of many art museums.

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