The Demonstration (La Manifestation)
Félix Vallotton Swiss
Publisher André Marty French
Not on view
The aesthetics and politics of urban crowds attracted Vallotton as a recurrent subject in the early 1890s. For this scene of a dispersing demonstration, the artist effectively exploited the economy of the black-and-white woodcut medium, balancing the density of the hastening crowd in the upper third of the composition with the radical blank space below. The approaching authorities remain out of the frame, though their presence is inferred by the reactions of the fleeing protestors. Vallotton also omits any reference to specific cause, which made the work more palatable to a broad audience. It was included in one of the most significant avant-garde print projects of the fin de siècle, André Marty’s L’Estampe originale (1893–95).