Kunsthaus Zürich

Ferdinand Hodler

Conservation treatment of the large-sized painting ‘The Truth,’ First version by Ferdinand Hodler

«The Truth», first version, 196 x 273 cm, 1902
«The Truth», first version, 196 x 273 cm, 1902

Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1919), the outstanding Swiss painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, created two versions of his important composition ‘The Truth,’ both of which are held in the Kunsthaus Zürich. Now the first version was restored in 2012, enabling us to rediscover this powerful yet subtile key work in Hodler's oeuvre.

Measuring 196 x 273 cm, the monumental first version of the painting ‘The Truth’ was created in 1902. It first entered the collection on loan from Alfred Rütschi in 1918 and was donated to the Kunsthaus by his heirs in 1929.

'The Truth,' Second version, 208 x 294,5 cm, 1903
'The Truth,' Second version, 208 x 294,5 cm, 1903

Hodler painted a second, more strongly stylized version of ‘The Truth’ in 1903 for the exhibition at the Vienna Secession in 1904. This work is owned by the City of Zurich and has been deposited with the Kunsthaus on loan since 1930. The technical execution of this second work is different from the first; it is in a better state of preservation and has been exhibited for decades.

The conservation treatment was made possible thanks to the generous support of
The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project.

Exhibition in 2013

Now that the restoration is complete, the two versions of ‘The Truth’ are to be presented side by side in the Kunsthaus. Also on display will be draft sketches for both projects made by Hodler which, for reasons of conservation, the Kunsthaus can only rarely exhibit.

The two works will be on show in the Kunsthaus from 18 January to 17 March 2013.