Ferdinand Hodler – Wahlverwandschaften von Klimt bis Schiele

The Leopold Museum just very recently opened a Ferdinand Hodler-retrospective. But it does not concern the Swiss painter alone: it also points out interconnections with some of his (here mostly Viennese) contemporaries, and attempts to realize the spirit of the time by help of photographs, other documents and even a fitted Jugenstil living room. The show leads you from (seen with today´s eyes rather too) idyllic landscapes to Hodler´s expressionistic and symbolistic paintings.

What I find it is that makes him stand out, are his colour palette and how he generally uses colours. I really hope it is not presumptious to say, as it was probably not what Hodler intended when he painted his pictures, but I think this chromaticity adds a more serene aspect to his works. Not witty, not funny, and not in all of his paintings – not at all! But the colours and less meticulously painted areas in some works render the heavy and at the same time ethereal Jugendstil motives more open and humane.

This, of course, seen through a distance of more than a hundred years. Probably one should not do that. But, as with all good art, the paintings still speak to us. Maybe just a little bit differently from when they were created.


Julia Maurer


Leopold Museum
MuseumsQuartier Vienna
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Wien

Header: Detail of FERDINAND HODLER, Der Mäher | um 1910 © Sammlung Christoph Blocher, Foto: SIK-ISEA, Zürich
1: Ferdinand Hodler, Die Dents du Midi von Caux aus, 1917 © Privatsammlung Tessin, Foto: Privatsammlung Schweiz
2: Ferdinand Hodler, Bildnis Gertrud Müller, 1911 © Kunstmuseum Solothurn, Dübi-Müller-Stiftung
3: View of exhibition, "Ferdinand Hodler" © Leopold Museum/Foto: Lisa Rastl