Skip to content

Portrait of Valentine Godé-Darel, 1912

Leopold Museum,
Leopold Museum,
Oil on paper on cardboard
41×32.3 cm


  • Ferdinand Hodler

    (Bern 1853–1918 Genva)

Currently on display at OG3
Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918) showed the distinctive profile of his lover in his 1912 Portrait of Valentine Godé-Darel with sharply contouring outlines, while at the same time rendering her gaunt features and her thick, full hair, tied into a coil and emphasized in its volume, in a three-dimensional manner by means of juxtaposed brushstrokes. The oil paint, which he applied in a dry, almost chalk-like manner, helped the Swiss pioneer of Modernism bring out these brushstrokes with which he created an effect of sharp hatching. This allowed him to emphasize the three-dimensional plasticity of the object despite the quality of the portrait’s drawing. The head of the depicted is surrounded by a garland of stylized, folkloristic-looking small red roses interspersed with green foliage. The shade of yellow of the background, painted with loose, broad brushstrokes, reappears in between the pink, brown and green of the face, of the long neck slightly bent backwards and of the shoulder. The red of the dress also features in the depiction of the face and the roses. The young woman, with whom Hodler had a daughter, came into the artist’s life in 1908 as his model. Three years after the creation of this portrait she would die of the harrowing effects of a tumor. Hodler accompanied the process of Godé-Darel’s decline in all its stages, culminating in the depiction on her deeathbed.

A closer look

The artwork explained by
art expert Brigitte Lindinger

Object data

  • Ferdinand Hodler
Portrait of Valentine Godé-Darel
Art movement
Oil on paper on cardboard
41×32.3 cm
Signed and dated lower right: 1912 F. Hodler
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 5967
Inventory access
Accession 2016
Selection of Reference works
  • Ferdinand Hodler: Wahlverwandtschaft von Klimt bis Schiele, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2017 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 13.10.2017–22.01.2018).
  • Oskar Bätschmann/Monika Brunner u.a, Ferdinand Hodler. Catalogue raisonné der Gemälde Band 2: Die Bildnisse, Zürich 2013.
  • Koloman Moser 1868-1818, hrsg. von Rudolf Leopold/Gerd Pichler, Wien 2007 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, 25.05.2007-10.09.2007).
  • Walter Hugelshofer Ferdinand Hodler: Eine Monographie, Zürich, 1952.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Bätschmann 2013: 894 (SIK 1228)

If you have further information on this object, please contact us.


Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

F. Wortmann, Basel (vor 1956);
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (1956);
Werner Y. Müller, Zürich (1957);
Arthur Stoll, Arlesheim (1957);
Erben nach Arthur Stoll (1971);
Auktion: 25.06.1993, Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, Los Nr. 58; (1)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (1993-2010); (2)
Dr. Diethard Leopold, Wien (2010-2017) ;
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 2017). (3)

  1. Bätschmann/Müller, Ferdinand Hodler, Catalogue raisonné der Gemälde, Bd. 2, Die Bildnisse, Zürich 2012, S. 255.
  2. Archiv des Leopold Museums, E-Mail der Galerie Kornfeld vom 17.01.2017.
  3. Archiv des Leopold Museums, Kaufvertrag vom 23.1.2017 und Rechnung Nr. 02/2017.

For provenance related information, please contact us.