Félix Vallotton and the White Review

Félix Vallotton and the White Review

  • Alexandre Natanson.

    VALLOTTON Félix (1865 - 1925)

  • Marthe Mellot.

    VALLOTTON Félix (1865 - 1925)

  • Misia at her dressing table.

    VALLOTTON Félix (1865 - 1925)

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Title: Alexandre Natanson.

Author : VALLOTTON Félix (1865 - 1925)

Creation date : 1899

Date shown: 1899

Dimensions: Height 81 - Width 65

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas.

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Picture reference: 06-519804 / RF2005-7

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

To close

Title: Marthe Mellot.

Author : VALLOTTON Félix (1865 - 1925)

Creation date : 1906

Date shown: 1906

Dimensions: Height 80 - Width 65

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas.

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 99-005034 / RF1977-350

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

To close

Title: Misia at her dressing table.

Author : VALLOTTON Félix (1865 - 1925)

Creation date : 1898

Date shown: 1898

Dimensions: Height 36 - Width 9

Technique and other indications: Tempera on cardboard.

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 04-001662 / RF2004-1

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Publication date: February 2010

Historical context

The flowering of small avant-garde magazines

The 1880s and 1890s, the golden age of the press in France, saw the emergence of a multiplicity of literary and artistic journals. These publications benefit from the recent law of July 29, 1881 on freedom of the press, but also from technical progress relating to the insertion and reproduction of images. They also promote communication between all sectors of creation: poetry, theater, music, painting, printmaking ...

The most famous of them, with Feather by Léon Deschamps, is undoubtedly The White Review. It owes its existence to the will and collaboration of the three Natanson brothers, from a Jewish family of Polish origin: Alexandre (1867-1936), the generous elder who assumes administrative and financial responsibilities, Thadée (1868-1951 ), editorial director and art critic, and Alfred (1873-1932), who provides the theatrical chronicle.

Image Analysis

The Natanson family and its network

These three portraits of Félix Vallotton provide a great deal of information on the Natanson family, inseparable from the spirit of The White Review.
Alexandre Natanson is portrayed in a frontal and classic manner on a balcony with a railing enhanced with gilding. Her pose is very straight, almost rigid, barely relaxed by her crossed right leg. A purple striped bow tie slightly brightens up her beige jacket, introducing a little touch of fantasy. Subtly, the portrait conveys an impression of seriousness and sadness. Victim of a depression, Alexandre decided to end the title adventure in April 1903.

Marthe Mellot, actress, is the wife of Alfred, the youngest of the three brothers. Vallotton delivers an intimate portrait of the young woman: seated naturally on an armchair, in front of a neutral background, Marthe presents a dreamy face, while her dress awakens the very soft tones of the composition. This very simple portrait reveals the friendly relations Vallotton has with the entire Natanson clan; it also evokes the opening of The White Review to the dramatic universe.

With the portrait of Misia, the wife of Thadée Natanson, Vallotton pays tribute to one of the most influential figures in the circle of The White Review. Leaning over her dressing table, the young woman observes herself in her mirror. The painter reinforces the intimacy of this scene by the limits given to it by the curtain on the left and the end of the cabinet on the right. The location he chose allows him to emphasize the coquetry and femininity of the model, who maintains seductive relationships with many of the journal's collaborators, poets and painters. The role of the latter is also discreetly evoked by the print hanging on the wall, an allusion to Vallotton's work for The White Review.

Interpretation

The influence of The White review

Very closely linked to the Nabis painters, the founding circle of The White Review strongly contributes to promoting their art. This support goes through the critical texts of Thadée Natanson and through the dissemination of works. From 1893 to 1895, each number has an original print on the frontispiece; exhibitions are organized, and posters ordered from Bonnard or Toulouse-Lautrec. Vallotton occupies a privileged place with the reproduction of his woodcuts in more than sixty issues. The magazine thus offers significant visibility to these painters who evolve outside of official circles. She also took a stand in favor of Art Nouveau and played a patronage role when she commissioned the fitting out of her offices from Henry Van de Velde in 1900. The finesse of her choices in literary and theatrical matters also contributed to her influence, thanks to the critical participation of André Gide, Gustave Kahn, Alfred Jarry and the publication of texts by Verlaine, Jules Laforgue or Mallarmé.

Finally, The White Review is distinguished by its anarchist tendencies through its editorial secretary, Félix Fénéon, and by his political commitment in favor of Dreyfus. Moreover, its positions will earn it, at its peak, up to 10,000 copies, a considerable figure for a cutting-edge journal.

  • art critic
  • portrait
  • hurry
  • avant-garde
  • Verlaine (Paul)
  • Mallarmé (Stéphane)
  • Fénéon (Felix)
  • Gide (André)
  • freedom of press
  • Nabis
  • freedoms

Bibliography

Olivier BARROT and Pascal ORY, La Revue blanche: history, anthology, portraits, Paris, U.G.E., coll. "10/18", 1994. Georges BERNIER, La Revue blanche: its friends, its artists, Paris, Hazan, 1991. Paul-Henri BOURRELIER, La Revue blanche, a generation of commitment, 1890-1905, Paris, Fayard, 2007.Geneviève COMÈS, “The group of White review (1889-1903) », The Journal Review, n ° 4, spring 1987, p.4-11.

To cite this article

Fabienne FRAVALO, "Félix Vallotton and the White Review"


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