Ferdinand Hodler. Another look at Valentine
This exhibition offers a fresh look at Ferdinand Hodler’s relationship with death, by focusing on his relationship with Valentine Godé-Darel. From their first meeting the painter was intensely aware of the elegance of the lady he called ‘La Parisienne’. Soon a bond – often idealised - developed between them, which turned into tragedy when Valentine, who had only just become a mother in 1913, had to battle with cancer. Hodler then accompanied her by portraying her suffering on canvas, until her inexorably agonising death in Vevey, on 25 January 1915.
The exhibition retraces the principal highlights of this powerfully dramatic creative cycle, which has become a veritable milestone within Hodler’s work and also more broadly within the history of modern art. In parallel it addresses the themes of Desire and Love which, compared with the painter’s later landscapes, reveal his taste for the semantic potentialities of the horizontal line associated with death.