Ferdinand Hodler - Gaze into Infinity

The female figure painted in oil on paper is a study for the mural Gaze into Infinity in the staircase at the Züricher Kunsthaus, a symbolistic figural composition whose execution occupied Hodler for several years. The monumental painting now exists in three versions, plus a slightly smaller one at the Kunstmuseum Solothurn with which this study in the Im Obersteg Collection is more particularly associated. The model and her posture bear a fairly close resemblance to the figure on the far right in that version. The Solothurn painting underwent extensive revisions first in 1914 and then again in 1917/18. In the outlines of the original version of 1913/14, which can still be made out on the reverse, the figure near the right edge of the picture matches the one in the study—both share the gesture of the hand placed before the chest—allowing us to date both works to the same period. The square grid redrawn on the paint layer in some areas would typically have served in transferring the composition to a larger format. The only known larger single figure by Hodler striking this distinctive pose is actually at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva, though that work bears the year 1915 in the artist’s hand.

Aufsatz Paul Müller, PDF, 141 KB


Herkunft unbekannt


Wien 2003
Im Banne der Moderne: Picasso, Chagall, Jawlensky, BA-CA Kunstforum, Wien, 4. Sept.-30. Nov. 2003, Nr. 22

Basel 2004
Die Sammlung Im Obersteg im Kunstmuseum Basel. Picasso, Chagall, Jawlensky, Soutine, Kunstmuseum Basel, 14. Febr.-2. Mai 2004, hrsg. von der Stiftung Im Obersteg, Basel: Schwabe Verlag, 2004, Nr. 87