Mathias Morhardt (1863-1939) was a journalist, writer, poet and playwright. He supported Hodler throughout his career and helped make him known in France.
In 1898, he was one of the founding members of the Human Rights League in France, which was set up in the wake of the Dreyfus Affair.
Hodler painted six portraits of his friend in total, between 1911 and 1913. This painting was one of the last and is a true, empathetic, expressive portrait of an honourable man: the portrayal’s starkness and Morhardt’s frontal posture seem to reflect the uprightness that distinguished the model’s moral, artistic and political undertakings.