An innovative Swiss painter

To mark 100 years since the death of Ferdinand Hodler (1853−1918), a special stamp is being issued which depicts one of his typical landscape paintings, “Lake Thun, Symmetric Reflection”, from 1905.

The most famous Swiss painter of the 
19th century was raised in Berne. It was a childhood that was spent in poverty and was marked by several blows of fate. After studying in Thun and working in Geneva, his first solo exhibitions opened in the mid-1880s. He subsequently developed his own style, which brought him international fame. Hodler’s compositions focus on the natural order: trees along a path, clouds and hills, groups of people. He organized his subjects in parallel patterns, creating symmetry and repetitions. The painting “Lake Thun, Symmetric Reflection”, 
owned by the Museum of Art and History in Geneva, is a typical representation of this phase of the artist’s work. 
Hodler’s breakthrough came in 1891 with the controversial painting, “The Night”, which portrayed sleep, death and sexuality. By the time he achieved success at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, he was already one of the most important painters in Europe. His later work was defined by seemingly impressionist characteristics.

Jürg Freudiger


The Museums of Art and History in Geneva are celebrating 100 years since the death of Hodler with a series of events lasting a whole year. In association with the Museum of Fine Arts Berne, the Geneva museums are also organizing a “Hodler//Parallelism” retrospective at the Rath Museum in Geneva from 20 April to 
19 August and at the Museum of Fine Arts Berne from 14 September 2018 to 13 January 2019.