Commentary and image from Musée d’art moderne André Malraux - MuMa (translated from French via google): “Félix Vallotton Waltz is one of the first works of the Nabis Swiss painter. It was shortly before Le Bain at summer evening consecrate the modernist talent of the painter. After the relevant analysis of Rudolf Koella, there is hardly any doubt that this table represents pairs of skaters moving on the track of the Palais de Glace on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. The fabric is treated with a clear view to simplification of forms. Apart from two faces of women, none of the skaters is identifiable. Vallotton insists on the idea of the couple giving body to the dance rather than on personalities of his characters. Reported to nabi context that promotes reconciliation and fusion of all forms of artistic expression: painting, theater, dance and music, this painting is a welcome attempt to translate, with pictorial means, the universe dreamlike music and dance. Nesting pairs that form sinuous and dazzling ellipses and treatment crachis colorful space in which they operate participate in the evocation of a night extravaganza enlivened artificial lighting. Ice sheaves raised by skaters in iridescent light. The base of the two dancers whirling clothes in the foreground is studded with iridescent particles while the sharp ridges which accentuate the impression of movement reflected the bite skates on the ice.
In this, a work that aroused the admiration of Toulouse-Lautrec at his exhibition at the Salon des Independants, Félix Vallotton leverages synthetism which then the success of his woodcuts. It also introduces structural elements very modern in the manner of Degas. The composition does not abandon altogether traditional references remain since the idea of a perspective in the red line of the railing that closes the upper work right. The artist, however, expands the proscenium in several fields located outside of the protagonists: spectators leaning or sitting on the top right couple arbitrarily cut off by the right edge of the canvas and even more surprisingly, young woman bust, a hand on the shoulder, unexpectedly arising in the lower right corner. The face of this young woman reflects a total abandonment, pleasant enough for the emotion falls the corner of his lip into a dreamy smile sensuously. Image ecstatic a fleeting pleasure, this young beauty embodies the futility of bourgeois Paris pleasures, time to a waltz, erase all consciousness of the world and society.
Through this painting a new style in its production, Félix Vallotton manages to reconcile the search for innovative visual effects with the dry wit that governs most of the time the scenes of his woodcuts.”
Artemis: I’ve posted this image before. This is much clearer and has the commentary. It’s always been a favorite. You can see the description in French: