Felix Vallotton in High Contrast

A few woodcuts from the Swiss artist Félix Vallotton (who, it turns out, died on my birthday in 1925). I’ve always loved woodcuts and his are amazing. It’s hard to believe some of them are woodcuts at all. It takes a fine hand and tremendous skill to get linework like that (I know I did woodcuts a lot in art school).

It took me a few time to notice the abstract soldiers (helmets and bayonets) moving through the trenches.

This one is most notable for its contrast with the other much more black images (not just in my selection but across his graphic works that I’ve seen). Perfect placement of the black hair. Great flat dresser/lamp at the left. Excellent use of the large white space in the upper right.

The texture in this one is amazing, as well as the foggy area that obscures the dog.

These last two are part of a series. Massive black areas like that can be a dangerous compositional tool. If done poorly it looks like laziness, but when done right, oh so beautiful. Despite it’s completely lopsided composition, that last print works perfectly.

vallotton-laziness

All images by Félix Vallotton from:

Vallotton, Félix et al. Félix Vallotton. München: Hirmer Verlag, 1995.