Ferdinand Hodler: Expressionism Versus Symbolism

The University Art Museum, Berkeley, published a 140 page catalogue, contributions by Peter Selz, Eva Wyler, Phyllis Hattis, and Jura Brüschweiler, 140 pages, 118 illustrations, 18 colorplates.

THE FERDINAND HODLER RETROSPECTIVE organized by Eva Wyler and Peter Selz for The University Art Museum at Berkeley provides a unique overview of perhaps the last neglected giant figure of the turn of the century. Still, despite its many virtues, I am of two minds about the Berkeley exhibition, an affective split resulting from a tendentious presentation of the Swiss artist’s career.

In my view there are two ways of dealing with Hodler. Either he is viewed as a major Expressionist who grew out of Van Gogh’s portraiture and Cézanne’s landscapes, or he is seen as a major Symbolist figure whose contribution is informed by currents within the Symbolist movement. The former view—one held at least 50 years,

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