Ferdinand Hodler was born in Bern in 1853. After an apprenticeship as a sign painter, in 1867 he began training under the veduta painter Ferdinand Sommer in Thun, Switzerland. In 1872 Hodler moved to Geneva and joined the class of the landscape painter Barthélemy Menn at the École des Beaux-Arts, where he came to know the works of Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. Beginning in 1875 he visited Basel, Paris and finally Spain, studying the old masters. Back in Geneva, in the mid-1880s Hodler became associated with the earliest Symbolist circles. His first solo exhibition opened in Geneva in 1885, and two years later another was held in Basel. In 1891 the Geneva authorities refused a municipal presentation of his large-format Symbolist painting The Night. He thereupon exhibited it privately in the Salon du Champ-de-Mars in Paris with great success. In 1900 he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Paris World’s Fair. Hodler was highly regarded in German-speaking countries and was a member of several Secessions. He increasingly devoted himself to wall painting. Together with other artists, in 1914 he protested against the German military’s shelling of Reims Cathedral, whereupon he was expelled from all German art associations. Hodler died in Geneva in 1918.