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Félix Vallotton | Figures and Portraits


Félix Edouard Vallotton (1865-1925) was a Swiss /French painter🎨 and printmaker associated with Les Nabis🎨.
Vallotton was recognized as a very accomplished portrait painter, and painted portraits of many of the leading figures in the arts of his time. His early work included a portrait of his fellow Nabi Édouard Vuillard.
The portraits of Vallotton featured both precision and a certain cold realism. He painted the celebrated American art patron Gertrude Stein the year after Pablo Picasso made his Portrait of Gertrude Stein, and depicted her as seemingly without emotion.


One of his late portraits, The Roumanian in a red dress (1925) caused a minor scandal. The portrait of Mado Leviseano, a Paris prostitute, shows her slumped in her chair, with a nonchalant and provocative expression.
Speaking of portraits in general, Vallotton wrote: "Human bodies, like faces, have their own individual expressions, which reveal, by their angles, their folds, their wrinkles, the joy, the pain, the boredom, the worries, the appetites, and the physical decay imposed by work, and the corrosive bitterness of voluptuousness".
After the death of Vallotton, the work was donated by his family to the Luxembourg Museum, the most important museum of modern art in Paris at the time. But visitors to the museum complained about the woman's posture and facial expression, and after three years it was taken down. His widow battled to have it restored to view, and the Paris museums took it back. It now is in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay.