Hodler's studio: the artist's drawings and photographs
Hodler never tired of drawing. He left more than nine thousand drawings, and almost twelve thousand sketchbook drawings. For him drawing was essentially a preparatory activity. His compositions gradually emerged through many, sometimes very allusive, sketches which formed the matrix for pictures sometimes painted more than ten years later. Once the subject had been defined, and the composition outlined in the drawings, the painter went on to make studies of the figures. He would work using a model, always preferring to work from life.
Anonymous Gertrud Müller posing© Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur
This phase of intense preparation sometimes entailed hundreds of studies, at the end of which the painter had fixed the gestures of the protagonists in his figure paintings, whether portraits, Symbolist compositions or history paintings. It was at this stage that he used what was called "Dürer's glass", a plate of glass on which he traced the outline of the model in transparent paint, and then transferred it to paper.
This method impressed the painter's contemporaries. Examples can be found in the many beautiful photographs left to us by a great collector and friend of Hodler, Gertrud Dubi-Müller. Presented for the first time in France, they offer us an intimate view of the artist and his studio in Geneva through the years after 1910.
Gertrud Müller Hodler retouching "Looking into infinity"© Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur