Felix Villatton - Painter of DisquietThursday, January 30, 2020
On January 26 a show of the Works of Felix Vallotton closed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The introduction to the show read:
Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet presents pivotal moments in the artist's career as a painter and printmaker. Painted portraits, luminous landscapes, and interior narratives that pulse with psychological tension join the exhibition from more than two dozen lenders. Swiss-born and Paris-educated, Vallotton (1865–1925) created lasting imagery of fin-de-siècle Paris.
I knew about the show because I had read a preview in my NY Times. When I read it in a preview in late October I happened to know who the artist was because of a postcard.
In the mid-90s I had a wonderful subject that I photographed who would send me suggestions on how to proceed with a mailed postcard. When I received the one here I found another woman to pose for us. My friend Grant Simmons then skilfully placed my photograph on the postcard with a to me seamless result.
In the mid-90s I was doing lots of work for the Globe and Mail. It was not only for the arts section (I would work in tandem with then arts reporter Christopher Dafoe) but also for the business side of the paper. The folks at the Globe were open to many of my ideas as they always gave me lots of lead time. One of them involved artist Rodney Graham. I asked the Globe art director to respect the crop that I was sending them. They did. This time with a 1995 techie startup called Totally Hip I ran out of luck. The new company had as a logo a cartoon cat. It did not take too much of imagination for me to think of Felix Vallotton’s Donne nude con gatti (1898). The two gentlemen (whose name I have long forgotten) came to my studio. Grant Simmons performed his magic.
I received an urgent phone call from the art director who told me that the folks who made decisions had nixed my idea. I was further told to reshoot the men in a café in Yaletown. To me it was a disappointment as in many
Thinking back it may have been 1995 when periodicals began to lose their search of the unusual and then would settle on the hum drum.