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Ferdinand Hodler Paintings

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Ferdinand Hodler
Ferdinand Hodler Self-Portrait

Ferdinand Hodler (March 14, 1853 – May 19, 1918) was one of the best-known Swiss painters of the nineteenth century. His early works were portraits, landscapes, and genre paintings in a realistic style. Later, he adopted a personal form of symbolism he called “parallelism”.

In his time, Hodler’s mural-sized paintings of patriotic themes were especially admired. According to Sepp Kern, Hodler “helped revitalize the art of monumental wall painting, and his work is regarded as embodying the Swiss federal identity.”

Hodler developed a style he called “parallelism” that emphasized the symmetry and rhythm he believed formed the basis of human society. In paintings such as The Chosen One (1893), groupings of figures are symmetrically arranged in poses suggestive of ritual or dance. Hodler conceived of woman as the embodiment of the desire for harmony with nature, while a child or youth represented innocence and vitality. In Eurythmy (1895), the theme of death is represented by a row of five men in ceremonial robes walking in an ordered procession on a path strewn with fallen leaves.

Many of Hodler’s best-known paintings are scenes in which characters are engaged in everyday activities, such as the famous woodcutter (Der Holzfäller, 1910, Musée d’Orsay, Paris). In 1908, the Swiss National Bank commissioned Hodler to create two designs for new paper currency. His designs were controversial: rather than portraits of famous men, Hodler chose to depict a woodcutter (for the 50 Swiss Franc bank note) and a reaper (for the 100 Franc note). Both appeared in the 1911 Series Two of the notes.

Much of Hodler’s work is in public collections in Switzerland. Other collections holding major works include the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Source: Wkipedia

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