Intimités (Intimacies) is not only a masterwork among Félix Vallotton's oeuvre, but is also one of the most important series among the graphic works from the fin-de-siècle.
From the moment they were printed, the series of woodcuts with the title Intimités was considered to be a prestigious project. When the avant-garde publication La revue blanche printed the series in an exclusive edition of just 25 copies, the modern art of printmaking was more popular than ever in the Paris art world. Among his fellow printmakers, Félix Vallotton was one of the most renowned artists. He was recognised as an innovator of the medium of the woodcut, and his prints dating from 1893–8 are the culmination of his career.
Intimités has always been recognised as his most impressive work, and even in his own time they were already more appreciated than his paintings. With these ten dark woodcuts, their black surfaces cut through by a few white lines, Vallotton probed the emotional lives of the Paris bourgeoisie, portraying the eternal struggle between man and woman by means of theatrical scenes and suggestive titles. He knew all too well how these people conducted their relationships, and many of the images would have been very close to the bone for their viewers.
The titles of the ten prints are:
Le mensonge (The Lie)
Le triomphe (The Victory)
La belle épingle (The Lovely Scarf-pin)
La raison probante (The Pressing Excuse)
L’argent (The Cash)
Le grand moyen (The Big Scene)
Cinq heures (Five O’Clock)
Apprets de visite (For Starters)
La santé de l’autre (Cheers to the Other One)
L’irréparable (Beyond Repair)