Master of Arts in Art History (M.A.)
Type of Paper/Work
William L. Barnes
Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler was one of the more notable painters in fin-de-siècle Europe, although this is often surprising because his notoriety has declined since his death and particularly outside of Europe. During the height of his career, Hodler was active in Symbolist organizations, which allowed him to develop his career into a way he could make a living. By using his wife, Berthe Jacques, as a model, and drawing upon his lived experiences and relationships, Hodler was able to set himself apart from other Symbolists in the way he depicted the feminine and female figure in his paintings. Berthe is used to represent mostly allegorical concepts or universal “truths” but she is still recognizable as herself. Like the concepts in these paintings, Berthe was seen by Hodler as something lasting—a reliable presence even when he was enduring losses throughout his life.
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Nelson, Theresa M., "Ferdinand Hodler’s Fin-de-Siècle Feminine: Symbolism and Women at the End of the Nineteenth Century" (2020). Art History Master's Qualifying Papers. 41.