Trivium Art History
Ferdinand Hodler
Portrait of Emma Schmidt-Müller, 1915 — Ferdinand Hodler,

Portrait of Emma Schmidt-Müller

Ferdinand Hodler, 1915

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“Portrait of Emma Schmidt-Müller” is an unqualified masterpiece. Every brush mark, every patch of color, every sinewy reflection and translucent shadow merge into a solid, limpid and profoundly human image of a simply posed dark-haired and dark-eyed woman, seated with her torso tilted one way, her head the other, and her hands folded calmly in her lap.

The portrait’s graphic contrasts of light and dark, and its dissonant masses of viridian and yellow ocher, jump out at you unlike anything else in the show. But even if the other works never quite reach its zenith, gazing at it convinces you that Ferdinand Hodler knew his stuff.

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