Degree Year

1979

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Art

Keywords

Felix Vallotton, Wood block, Woodcut, Artist, Print

Abstract

At the beginning of the last decade of the nineteenth century, amidst lively experimentation in the graphic arts, there emerged in Paris an artist whose striking woodcuts soon brought him the recognition and the esteem of his contemporaries . Félix Vallotton's woodcuts represented to many a uniquely modern application of the venerable technique of printing from a carved block of wood . Within a year of his first experiments in the medium, Vallotton was highly praised in print by Octave Uzanne in an article entitled "La Renaissance de la gravure sur bois : un néoxylographe" as the progressive figure in the field.

Vallotton (1865-1925) was not the first artist to revive the practice of carving in the side grain of the woodblock. instead of in the endwood,as professional wood engravers had been for years; a revival of sorts of the technique by artists was already underway by 1891 when Vallotton cut his first blocks. However, he quickly developed a personal style . sensitive to the inherent character of the technique, based on broad areas of pure black and white, and produced some of the most original woodcut prints of the period. His break with convention and with those contemporaries who were also experimenting with woodcut was dramatic enough to earn him Raymond Bouyer's praise, in 1899, as the "Robespierre" of a woodcut revolution.

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