At the Royal Academy, the Summer Belongs to Félix Vallotton
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Félix Vallotton, <em>Bathing on a Summer Evening (Le Bain au soir d’été)</em>, Detail, 1892-1893, Oil on canvas, 131 x 97 cm, Kunsthaus Zürich, Gottfried Keller Foundation, Federal Office of Culture, Bern, Acquired 196
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Brilliant colours, willowy lines and a desire to bring pure emotions to the canvas - that’s the art of Nabis, the “prophets” inspired by Paul Gauguin, the Italian primitives and Japanese print art. But for Swiss artist Félix Vallotton, all this was not enough - after his work with the group, he decided to strike out on his own, creating a style of painting which was echoed in the cinema of the XX Century. This summer, the Royal Academy of Arts honours him with a large exhibition to illustrate, through a selection of eighty of his works, the splendour of an artist little-known in the United Kingdom. A unique and mysterious character, Vallotton moved to the Paris of the Belle Époque at 16 years old and never left. He was a topnotch engraver but also a novelist, journalist, photographer, sculptor, illustrator and a set designer for the theatre. And, of course, a painter. The itinerary in London includes portraits, dreamlike landscapes, scenes of urban life, satirical prints and even journalistic paintings depicting World War I give an idea of the vastness of his productivity. Not to be missed is the series Les Intimités, disturbing internal scenes characterised by harsh chromatic contrasts - familiar elements to the paintings of American Edward Hopper, the films of Alfred Hitchcock and those of Wes Anderson as well.