Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Art of Ferdinand Hodler


Youth Admired by Women
by Ferdinand Hodler

Hodler paints great figures. Every line creates structure and it is a conscious approach. They are very light and beautiful images. The composition is structured, deliberate and staged. The image above could easily be placed within a play. There is an over dramatized feel to the work. I love its theatrical essence.

There is a series of paintings where his work changes into something very different and personal.


The Sick Valentine Gode-Darel
by Ferdinand Hodler

In 1913 Hodler's mistress, Valentine Gode-Darel, was diagnosed with cancer. He spent hours at her bedside painting. The image above is at the begining of her decline, it isn't posed, it is real. Hodler is dealing with reality and trauma. He reacts in the only way he knows. He reacts in a way that allows him to cope. I find much comfort in painting and I can understand why he needed to paint these images.


Valentine Gode-Darel
by Ferdinand Hodler


Valentine Gode-Darel
by Ferdinand Hodler

The paintings document her suffering. He seems to be frantically holding on to what time she has left. Holding on to every moment regardless of the pain it contains. Documenting it and expressing it completely in all its horror. He knows there will be no more time once she is gone. He focuses on every moment, and stretches it out by analyzing every aspect.


Valentine Gode-Darel (one day before her death)
by Ferdinand Hodler


The Dead Valentine Gode-Darel
by Ferdinand Hodler

Even after her death he paints an image of her. A constant reminder that she is gone. Hodler has an amazing and magical inner world and that is revealed in some of his painting. These images are different. Here he allows this stark painful reality to enter his world. He does this with every brush stroke. It is his path towards acceptance.