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All this comes to an abrupt end in 1924. Against the wishes of his mother, who would never really like her son’s art, Wehrlin curtails his studies and goes to take up residence in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris. In order to improve his technique, he enrols in various academies (Jullian, Ranson, Grande Chaumière), where he becomes a pupil of André Lhote). It was at this time that he completed a number of nude studies and portraits, the « facet » approach used being somewhat reminiscent of Cubism, showing the influence of Lhote, who was an artist very much influenced by this end of century movement.


Yellow flowers 1924
Oil on pastelboard


Portrait of a young girl
Oil on pastelboard - 46.5 x 38

Apples 1924
Oil on pastelboard - 24 x 30
Wehrlin paints a numbrt of self portraits, faces and busts, but also full length portraits. »It is often difficult to recognise him in these self portraits. Wehrlin makes no attempt to establish any resemblance. They are portraits like any others, not Narcissic pictures and detached self analytical studies, devoid of any self complacency. They even sometimes appear to be distinctly satirical in their inspiration, remaining so close to the original sketch that they look as if they are unfinished, almost as if the artist was afraid of going any further and getting too close to his own existence. » (R. Koella)

Self portrait in a bowler hat c.1925


Self portrait c. 1925
Oil on pastelboard - 41 x 33

The rich cultural environment in Paris at this time forge his taste and his style. The classical and then modern sections of the Louvre fascinate him. Thanks to this additional cultural experience, his contacts with Kirchner between 1925 and 1928 become richer and richer, especially from a graphic point of view, where Kirchner’s influence and his tormented Davos universe inspire Wehrlin to embark on a prolific amount of work distinguished by its dire Expressionist violence.
But towards the end of the twenties his mind begins to become torn between German Expressionism and his new life in Paris, where his Germanic rigour is attenuated by the surrounding Latin environment. As opposed to Expressionism, it is more form than expression which can be found in the works of Parisian artists, the two « locomotives » among whom being : Picasso and Matisse.


From Matisse, whom he admires, « Wehrlin learns that a painting is primarily a canvas which the artist covers with colours, in accordance with strict rules. Next, that painting essentially means creating a form and that each genuine creation is the product of sensitivity and reason. He also learned to adopt his compositions to the format, by means of wide strata, one above the other and with heavy accent on horizontal and vertical lines (...) but most of all, he learned to use colour, to embolden it, to restrain it. With delicate refinement, he will juxtapose a bright red and a dark black, or offset a light blue or even a lemon yellow with a creamy white or a glistening grey. At the same time, he lends accent to the material aspect of paint by spreading it in compact, cracked layers (...) Wehrlin is essentially a colourist. ‘R.K.)

The kitchen of "rue Vercingetorix" ca.1926
oil on wood

The essential thing for him is to not to obtain aesthetic harmony but to use colour to obtain as much expressiveness as posible. According to R. Koella Matisse has as much influence on Wehrlin as Kirchner. It is maybe as a result of these two culturally and pictorially opposed influences that a Wehrlin « style » emerges in 1928. From Kirchner, he gets the spontaneity of the lines and the force of colours ; from Matisse, « the art of giving relief to a painting without disavowing its fundamental flatness. »


The Three Graces 1930
Oil on pastelboard - 36.5 x 40

The couple c. 1930
Oil on canvas - 43 x 60





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