Hodler, Ferdinand

Hodler, Ferdinand Biography

Ferdinand Hodler was one of the most important Swiss painters of the late 19th and early 20th century who was a forerunner of expressionism.

He was orphaned at the age of 12 and studied first at Thun under an artist who painted landscapes for tourists. After 1872, however, he worked in a more congenial atmosphere at Geneva, under Barth?l?my Menn. By 1879, when Hodler settled in Geneva, he was producing massive, simplified portraits owing something to the French realist painter Gustave Courbet. His works have a monumental effect. In landscapes and large murals, he presented his mystical preoccupation with the power of nature and the plight of humanity. In his famous mural Night (1890, Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland), the ominous figure of Nightmare hovers over a group of restless, sleeping nude figures.

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