Thursday, November 14, 2013

Valloton's Exhibition: A Must See !

Nude With A Green Scarf - 1914

Last week-end, enjoying an extra-day off I headed to the Grand Palais firmly decided to camp in the line until I got in the Braque’s exhibition.  Well, I had reckoned without the unbearable screaming children and the rain, my “not-not hair” (not straight – not curly) best enemy.

Braque could wait; my hair and my nerves, no.  So to preserve my brushing remains and my cheerfulness, I found a shelter at the Valloton’s exhibition, on the other side of the museum. 

There was nobody in the line.  At least, I was ensured that I could plainly (meaning without kids and groups of glued tourists) enjoy the show.  I got in pretty quickly thus avoiding a rain shower.

Félix Jasinski Holding His Hat - 1887

At this point, I must tell you that until the moment I entered the first gallery I had no idea of who Félix Valloton was or what was his work like.  So when I spotted the paintings on the walls, what a shock!  The preciseness and sharpness of the lines left me speechless.

Not to mention the weird fascination I felt for Félix Jasinski’s portrait and more precisely for his hands and how alive and material they look. The subject seems to be alive; the blood seems to be flooding through his blue veins. It’s quite disturbing.

The paintings were just the beginning of my dive into this polyvalent artist’s world.  Not only was Valloton a painting maestro but he was also a drawing virtuoso.

In the form, Valloton’s black and white xylographs are ancestors of contemporaneous cartoons to the point that you may find a strong resemblance with Marjane Satrapi’s drawings. 

The Lie 

When it comes to describing their content, I would say that these drawings, looked at together or separately, are like a cynical photo-novel about marital life (an ancestor of trash magazines?). The torments of marital and family life, women and their bodies, the strange and undisclosed ties that may exist between two women, are all themes that are present in most of Valloton’s work.  His eye is cruel but yet amusing. Although time is passing us by, some things appear to never change especially human behavior.

As I am writing this post I am already planning on visiting the exhibition once again to enjoy a little bit more of Valloton’s treasures.  

So if you are in Paris, this is a “MUST SEE”!  If you are not you can enjoy a bit of the show on the Grand Palais' website.

Alda Mori