Containing bold contrasts of light and shadow, Vallotton’s woodcuts suggest the increasing adoption of artificial light by Parisian households in the 1890s. Whereas the room shown in Le Poker is shadowy and dimly lit by flickering candles, other interiors appear to be bathed in the illumination of gas lamplight or newly available electrical fixtures. In prints from the series Intimités (Intimacies), the artist depicted members of the bourgeois class in private domestic scenes. The uncanny drama of Vallotton’s artificial lighting hints at the interior lives and psychologies of these married couples, including their boredom, foibles, and casual betrayals.
Gallery label from 2021