Musée d'Orsay: Félix Vallotton The Ball

Félix Vallotton
The Ball

The Ball
Félix Vallotton (1865-1925)
The Ball
Oil on card glued on wood
H. 48; W. 61 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Le ballon [The Ball]

The Ball is one of the best known paintings by Félix Vallotton, a Swiss painter who was in close touch with the Nabis from 1891. This bird's-eye view figures a park or public garden, places often painted by Bonnard or Vuillard.

Against the broad ochre stretch of ground and the deep shade of the trees, pierced by a pale area, the running child makes a bright splash of light preceded by a dark shadow. He is wearing a yellow hat with a red ribbon, a sort of broad-brimmed boater, and a mop of blond hair escapes from under the brim. His little boots are a dull orange colour, his white smock is buttoned at the back and floats behind him in the wind. The ball he is chasing is red.

Echoing the pale mass of the child are two equally pale figures standing side by side, one blue and one white. The diminutive size of the two women suggests that they are located in the far background, yet the space seems to be flat and frontal.

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