Ferdinand Hodler's Swiss Mountains
Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) is the quintessential Swiss artist of the turn of the 20th century. His art is emblematic of the transition between the old and the new, between the realism of the 19th century and a more symbolist approach to pictorial representation. Hodler is famous for having had his paintings reproduced on Swiss banknotes. His images are part of the Swiss national identity.
The latest exhibition of the Beyeler foundation in Basel focuses on his later works. Ferdinand Hodler first made a name for himself by highly symbolist pictures with Art Nouveau theatrical compositions.
Hodler was inspired during all of his career by the Swiss landscape: the Alps, Lake Geneva, etc. But what is interested is that he transcended the folkloric hackneyed representations by painting with forceful patches of solid colour. He was not just painting pretty pictures of Swiss mountains for chocolate boxes.