The Fondation Beyeler is the first Swiss museum to present a comprehensive exhibition of the late work of Ferdinand Hodler. It is in these final years of his career that Hodler’s international significance for modern art becomes clearly visible.
Ferdinand Hodler, whose paintings shaped and symbolized Switzerland’s picture and perception of itself like those of no other artist, was at the same time one of the most important representatives of the transition from the 19th century to modernism.The exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, comprising some 80 works, concentrates upon pictures that Hodler painted in the last five years of his life, between 1913 and 1918. The artist, who came from extremely modest circumstances, no longer needed to prove himself to anyone: he was rich and famous. In these late paintings, he revisits the themes that had occupied him all his life – his own self-portrait, his legendary panoramas of the Swiss Alps, his fascination with women and death – and explores them in new series and variations. His style thereby grows ever more radical and abstract. Hodler becomes a forerunner of modern painting. The exhibition has been organized in conjunction with the Neue Galerie in New York and includes loans from renowned Swiss and American private collections and major national and international museums. The exhibition is curated by Ulf Küster (Fondation Beyeler) and Jill Lloyd (Neue Galerie).