Félix Edouard Vallotton - Three women and a little girl playing in the water

by Alexandra Tuschka


At the age of 17, the boy Valloton already knew what he would like to become - a painter! To this end, he left his native Switzerland and went to Paris. Later he joined a group of painters who called themselves "Les Nabis " - "The Prophets". Stylistically, these belong to the Late Impressionists. Vallotton was influenced by Courbet and Manet, among others. The painting "Three women and a little girl playing in the water" does not show much more than the title reveals. The plasticity of the figures is increased to a maximum.

They stand out from the background with clear outlines. The fierce play also causes the different body turns and the turning away of the faces. These women have no clear identity. The strong stylization of the motif also shows its proximity to symbolism , as well as the formal language of Japanese woodcuts can be recognized. The picture also reveals a symbolic level of content.


Thus, all the women are of different ages and can be read as representative of these phases. Thus, the little girl on the left opens her arms and faces the aged woman on the right, who obscures the view of the aged body with her folded arms. The two young women, on the other hand, who belong to one generation, are seen in free play.


Félix Edouard Vallotton - Three women and a little girl playing in the water

Oil on canvas, 1907, 130,5 x 195,5 cm, Kunstmuseum in Basel

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