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Sur la plage, 1899.
Oil on cardboard, 42 x 48 cm.
Private collection.
Courtesy of Kunsthaus Zurich.

Félix Vallotton is perhaps the chameleon of the Nabis era. With a traditional start in academic and portrait painting, Vallotton mastered printmaking, portrait painting, wood engraving, Nabis-style genre scenes and nudes, and then moved on to Realism before leading the way for the New Objectivity movement. He did not stop at painting, however, but tried his hand at writing no fewer than eight plays and three novels. Whilst these may not have been the most significant or even best-selling tomes of their time, it was still a remarkable achievement. After adding landscapes, still life painting, and sculptures to his already impressive repertoire, the resulting impression of this artist is that he was not only a style chameleon, but a fantastic over-achiever. Read More

Sex sells. Or at least in today’s society, the marketing world strategically incorporates erotic imagery in advertisements to gain consumers’ attention. If the moniker “sex sells” is true for advertisements, could it also be true in art? In nude paintings, does the artist aim to “sell” something by enticing us with the image of a naked and supple body?

When looking through Felix Vallotton’s artistic catalog, the amount of nudity is great. Vallotton used naked women in any context, from nude women bathing to nude women playing with kittens.

Félix Vallotton, Nude Women with Cats, c. 1897-1898. Oil on cardboard, 41 x 52 cm. Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne

Félix Vallotton, Nude Women with Cats, c. 1897-1898.
Oil on cardboard, 41 x 52 cm.
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne

Vallotton, like most artists, appreciated beauty, including the beauty of the naked human body. But while the artist might have seen the beauty of the female form, what exactly does the observer experience when confronted with subtle eroticism? Read More