Laziness (La paresse)

1896, Félix Vallotton (1865 - 1925)

woodcut in black on wove paper, 25 cm x 33 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (purchased with support from the VriendenLoterij)

There was a woodcut revival in France toward the end of the nineteenth century, in which the Swiss-French artist Félix Vallotton was the leading figure. His career peaked between 1896 and 1898 with his brilliant black-and-white woodcuts.

Laziness is one of Vallotton’s most famous prints. His wooden block combines line, surface and contrast to create an elegant and seductive image. The nude woman and the cat consist primarily of areas of white. The sofa on which she stretches languidly is made up, by contrast, of intricate patterns. Together they form a decorative whole.

Inspiration for Vallotton’s woodcuts was drawn from Japanese printmaking, in which the decorative value of the image likewise plays an important part. However, where Japanese printmakers tended to use lots of different colours in a single print, Vallotton worked exclusively in black and white. His French contemporaries also focused on colour, making Vallotton’s work unique.

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Object data

Object number
137/ca. 180
25 cm x 33 cm, 17.7 cm x 22 cm
Catalogue raisonné
Godefroy 167, Vallotton & Goerg 169


signature and number
fvallotton 137
FV by Vallotton, Félix
LA PARESSE by Vallotton, Félix


  • Louis Godefroy, L' oeuvre gravé de Félix Vallotton (1865-1925), 1932, [unpaged]
  • Maxime Vallotton, Charles Goerg, Felix Vallotton : catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographie = Felix Vallotton : catalogue raisonné of the printed graphic work, 1972, p. 182
  • Jacquelynn Baas, Richard S. Field, The artistic revival of the woodcut in France : 1850-1900, 1984, p. 89
  • Hrsg. von Claire Frèches-Thory und Ursula Perucchi-Petri, Die Nabis : Propheten der Moderne, 1993, p. 464
  • ed. by Patricia Eckert Boyer ; with essays Patricia Eckert Boyer and Elizabeth Prelinger, The Nabis and the Parisian Avant-Garde, cop. 1988, p. 104-105, 176
  • Préf. de Manuel Jover, Felix Vallotton : gravures sur bois, 1993, p. 102
  • The Vallotton collection : prints and preparatory drawings = The Vallotton collection : gravures et dessins préparatoires, 1997, no. 108, 109
  • [Katalog Herbert Eichhorn ... et al.], Félix Vallotton : Maler und Grafiker im Paris der Jahrhundertwende, 2003, p. 137
  • Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho, Prints in Paris 1900 : van elitair tot populair, 2017
  • Conc. en tekst: Suzanne Bogman, Maite van Dijk, Bram Donders, Ann Blokland, Van Gogh Museum : portret : 2006-2019 = Van Gogh Museum : portait : 2006-2019, 2019, p. 98-99
  • Fleur Roos Rosa de Calvalho, Prints in Paris 1900 : from elite to the street, 2017