Ferdinand Hodler

(Bern 1853 - 1918 Genf)

Having lost his parents and siblings to tuberculosis at an early age, Hodler apprentices with the veduta painter Ferdinand Sommer in Thun. In 1872, he becomes a student of Barthélemy Menn in Geneva. In 1878–79, he is in Madrid. His painting The Night is exhibited in the Salon du Champ de Mars in Paris in 1891. In 1892, he contributes to the Salon de la Rose+Croix, Paris. His design for the mural The Retreat from Marignano in the Arms Hall at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich sparks a fierce controversy; he executes it in 1900. An exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 1904 meets with wide acclaim. In 1905, Hodler travels to Italy. Over the next few years, he receives major commissions to create murals, including German Students Setting Out to Fight in the War of Liberation in 1813 at the University of Jena (1908–09) and Battle of Murten at the Swiss National Museum (1910, not executed). In 1915, his lover Valentine Godé-Darel dies.