Musée d'Orsay: Ferdinand Hodler Portrait of Werner Miller

Ferdinand Hodler
Portrait of Werner Miller

Portrait of young Werner Millerr
Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918)
Portrait of young Werner Millerr
1899
Oil on canvas
H. 56; W. 46.5 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Portrait of Werner Miller


Aged seven in this portrait, Werner Miller (1892-1959) later became a painter. He was the son of Oscar Miller, a manufacturer from the Swiss canton of Solothurn who was also a keen collector of Hodler’s works.
The painting is a realist, lifelike portrait of Werner, yet also a symbolist oeuvre.

The boy’s gaze is entrancing as he sits in a meadow dotted with flowers, symbols of life, springtime and awakening that reflect the child’s youth and innocence.
In each hand, he holds a flower, which, in Holder’s works, represents fusion and harmony with nature. The portrayal's rigorous symmetry echoes nature’s parallelism, one of Holder’s favourite notions.


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