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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The show is on view until January 7th.