New York – Ferdinand Hodler: “View to Infinity” at The Neue Gallery Through January 7th, 2013

January 6th, 2013

Ferdinand Hodler, The Dents du Midi from Champéry (1916) Courtesy Neue Gallery

Over the course of his lifetime, Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler moved among a variety of subjects and approaches, from audacious works of symbolism, to sweeping landscapes, to a vigorous body of portraiture.  This expansive oeuvre is currently on view at New York City’s Neue Gallery in “View to Infinity,” showcasing the diversity and unique perspectives running through Hodler’s work.  The show is presented in conjunction with the Fondation Beyeler, Basel, where it will show from January 27 to May 26, 2013

Ferdinand Hodler, Two Women in Flowers (1901-1902) Courtesy Neue Gallery

Spanning 65 paintings, 20 drawings and a selection of photographs, “View to Infinity” is the largest ever exhibition of works by Hodler in the United States, including a selection of his Symbolist works, sprawling mountain landscapes, and most notably, a series of portraits of his lover Valentine Godé-Darel, who died of cancer in 1915.  Over the last two years of her life, Hodler created a vast number of portraits documenting her decline and death, creating a series of works almost unparalleled in the world of fine arts.

Ferdinand Hodler, The Sick Valentine Godé-Darel (1914) Courtesy Neue Gallery

Powerful and evocative, Hodler’s paintings of Godé-Darel show a tender, even-handed view of her illness, doggedly preserving his subject as she moves closer to her death.  In the 29 canvases from this series of paintings, Hodler explores a complex range of emotions throughout his model’s decline.

Ferdinand Hodler, The Grammont (1917) Courtesy Neue Gallery

Alongside Hodler’s paintings is a selection of 45 photographs taken by Hodler’s friend and sometime model, photographer Gertrud Dübi-Müller.  Showcasing the artist at home and at work in his studio, Dübi-Müller’s photographs bring Hodler’s personality and warmth into full view, an artist seemingly as comfortable in front of the camera as he was behind a canvas.

Gertud Dübi-Müller, Emma Schmidt-Müller sitting for her portrait by Ferdinand Hodler in his studio garden (1913) Courtesy Neue Gallery

Spanning over 20 years of work, “View to Infinity” is a striking introduction to Hodler’s work, and offers a unique perspective on the nature of loss and persona in art.

Ferdinand Hodler, Self-Portrait (1916) Courtesy Neue Gallery

The show is on view until January 7th.

Ferdinand Hodler, Portrait of Emma Schmidt-Müller (1915), Courtesy Neue Gallery

—D. Creahan

Neue Gallery
Fondation Beyeler
“View To Infinity” in the NYT