AboutFerdinand Hodler’s evocative figure paintings, mountain
landscapes and portraits are Modernist icons.
The Swiss artist (1853–1918), an influential force in
symbolism, drew great international acclaim even
in his own lifetime. Contemporaries valued Hodler
above all as a master of human characterisation: as
the artist Paul Klee noted in 1911, he could “create
the soul by painting the body”. Few people realise
today that Hodler’s path to fame lay through Berlin. At
the dawn of the 20th century, the capital of the German
Reich had become a leading hub of European
art alongside Paris, Vienna and Munich. These cities
offered Hodler a chance to publicise his work outside
Switzerland. The exhibition “Ferdinand Hodler and
Modernist Berlin” traces his success on the banks of
the Spree. From 1898 until the outbreak of the First
World War, the artist exhibited here almost annually:
first at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, then at the
Berlin Secession and in a number of galleries.
The presentation at the Berlinische Galerie will bring
together about 50 paintings by Hodler from German
and Swiss collections, including 30 from the Museum
of Fine Arts in Bern, our partner in this collaboration.
It will also feature works by artists who exhibited with
Hodler in Berlin, including Lovis Corinth, Walter
Leistikow, Hans Thoma and Julie Wolfthorn.