Félix Jasinski the hat lover

This painting’s many titles are a rich source of information. In 1925, in an inventory after the artist’s death, the painting was entitled Interior at F.Jasinski’s, as we have seen. When the work entered the Malraux museum, detailed examination by a restorer revealed that the upper stretcher bar bore a handwritten inscription: Intérieur chez F Jasinski f Vallotton.

Far from being unknown, Félix Jasinski was an engraver of Polish origin who had settled in Paris. In the late 1880s he was often in the company of Vallotton, who learned the drypoint technique (which he used from 1887 to 1889) at his side.

Vallotton painted the interior of the engravers’s Parisian apartment and two portraits of its owner during the same year. One of these portraits shows Jasinski in his printmaking studio (Munich, private collection). The second, more surprising portrait was presented at the Salon of 1887. This was Félix Jasinski Holding his Hat, now in the Helsinki museum, which reflects Félix Vallotton’s desire to distance himself from academic canons.