( Originally Published 1899 )
IN the portrait, whether on canvas or in marble, French Art during its worst days of peril from foreign influences, of decadence from internal weakness, has always found its salvation and its renaissance. Once in presence of the human being, it has drawn fresh life and fresh power from the contact. The very existence of French painting began, as we have seen, in portraiture. And from the Clouets and Corneille de Lyon in the sixteenth century, a long, unbroken succession of portrait painters — Mignard and Santerre, Largillière and Rigaud, Nattier and Tocqué, Greuze, Fragonard, Vigée-Lebrun and many more—triumphantly carried the tradition, vigorous and vital, down to the Revolution, and the nineteenth century.
A portrait painted by the great artist, must always be one of the most intensely interesting productions of the painters' art. For the portrait painter has to do more than reproduce the outer seeming of his sitter. Behind that outer seeming all the greatest masters have shown that an idea is ever present to them ; and that the hidden meaning, the soul, the character, the temperament of the human being, must be diligently sought for and made to shine forth by their art. " L'âme et le corps ne font ensemble qu'un tout naturel," said Bossuet. It is not enough to catch a likeness ". Any one with the slightest pretentious as a painter can manage that much. But, as M. André Michel has truly said : " While " capable of drawing eyes, nose, and mouth extremely " well, you may be absolutely incapable of making a good " portrait. The human face, infinitely varied in the exterior " adjustment of its elemental forins, infinitely complex in the " inner being which these forins cover and reveal . . . offers " to the artist the most attractive and the most difficult of " problems. All are not capable of the observation, at once " attentive and docile, naïve and strong, which is needed ; an " empire over oneself and a patience is required which some " of the greatest have not been able to attain."
Sometimes, as with Delacroix, the artist's over-mastering personality stands in the way of his work. He has to struggle against a superabundance of ideas : he sees too rapidly ; his mind, his ideal, outpaces his observation. And though few feel it to the same degree, this danger lies in the path of every portrait painter worthy of the name—the danger of a family likeness between each portrait. He may try, but he tries in vain, to blot out the whole of his own personality, to forget his own existence, to live utterly and completely in his model. But " however faithful a portrait may be, how-" ever intimate its resemblance, it bears as an indelible " signature, the personal mark of the artist who has painted " it ". Yet at the same time, when kept within bounds by the supreme self-abnegation and reticence of the great artist, this personal mark adds to the intense and suggestive interest of a portrait. We see a human being through the temperament of a diviner of mysteries. And no matter what the subject, the work of art may be a great one, if—as Latour desired to do—the artist can " descendre jusqu'au fond et le " remporter tout entier ".
Of the earlier portrait painters of the nineteenth century, much has already been said incidentally in the chapters upon the Classics, the Peasant painters, and the Genre painters. David, Gérard, Gros, Ingres, among the Classics—Bastien-Lepage, Dagnan-Bouveret, Henner, Benjamin Constant, and many more artists of the last thirty years—have produced admirable portraits. But these in most cases have not been the most important part of their work.
In the works of these artists, and of the portrait painters par excellence who in the nineteenth century have carried on the French tradition of portraiture, two distinct methods are seen. In one, the artist renders the man in his habit as he is—in a milieu suggesting his tastes, his occupations, his everyday life—or in some portrait group. In the other, the sitter is completely detached from any suggestive accessories. The interest is concentrated on the human being, his character and temperament, unaided by any adventitious surroundings —set against a background which at most is merely decorative, and has nothing to do with the subject. The two methods are equally in favour. A preference for one or the other is merely a question of taste. Both have been in use since the earliest days of portrait painting. And as modern examples of both we may take two pictures in the Luxembourg—M. Fantin-Latour's deeply interesting portrait group, " Un Atelier aux Batignolles " ; and M. Bonnat's portrait of his master, " Léon Cogniet ". In the first the artist has represented Edouard Manet painting in his studio with a group of friends about him, Zola, Claude Monet, Bazile, an Impressionist artist who was killed during the war, etc., etc. In the second the humorous face of the kindly old artist, looks out with sparkling eyes, from a background undisturbed by any accessories.
But it is better to allow each artist in turn to speak for himself.
DELAUNAY, JULES-ELIE, 0.*, M. DE L'INST. (b. Nantes, 1828 ; d. 1891).—Like his friend and compatriot Baudry, Delaunay was a true Breton. Both, says M. Lafenestre, " were tender and proud, sensitive and outwardly reserved. " Both enamoured of their work, with the same anxious " conscientiousness—both hard working and determined, " beneath an appearance more or less worldly and dis-" engaged, knew how to live silently in a noisy age, and " to remain independent in the midst of intrigue."
Delaunay was brought up in an atmosphere at once religious and patriarchal. A pupil of Flandrin, he executed a number of mural paintings in the Church of the Monastery of the Visitation at Nantes. And some in the Chapelle de la Vierge, Church of the Trinité in Paris. But it is as a portrait painter that his name will live. If he had only painted the portrait of " Mme. Bizet," this alone would have been sufficient to place him in the very foremost rank of art.
But it is only one among many. This picture, painted in 1878, was exhibited in the Centennial Exhibition of 1889, and again in the "Portraits de Femmes et d'Enfants" at the Beaux Arts in 1897. It is all in black. And the great pathetic black eyes, brimming with tears, are haunting in their anguish and loveliness. The noble portrait of the artist's mother, now in the Luxembourg, is a chef d'oeuvre of emotionalized truth. Each of his portraits is intensely personal. Take for instance that of the fine, worn soldier, " Général Mellinet "—the wonderful " Mme. Bizet," of which I have spoken—or " Mme. Toulmouche," fresh and smiling in her summer dress in the sunny landscape. Each in its very different way is a triumph of character study—of that shining forth of the soul, which makes the really great portrait.
Peste à Rome, 1869, 78 ; Portrait de la mère de l'artiste, 1872, 80.
Portrait de Mme. Bizet, Mme. Bizet.
Three pictures, Musée de Nantes.
BONNAT, LÉON, C.*, M. DE L'INST. (b. Bayonne, 1833). —Born at Bayonne, the natural tendencies of the Meridional, that vigour and vehemence, that love of strong, rich, deep colour, that audacity of treatment which we connect with southern peoples, were fostered and developed by the circumstances of Léon Bonnat's boyhood. He had wished to enter the navy. But his father having established himself as a bookseller at Madrid, his son joined him there at fifteen, helped in his business, and devoured the books that came in his way. Among others he found Vassari, fell in love with it, and forthwith began to draw. In the evening he attended the classes at the Academy, under that distinguished and inspiring master, Frédéric de Madrazo. But beyond this, the lad saturated himself with the spirit of the great masters in the unrivalled Gallery. Murillo, Titian, Ribiera, Goya, had each some message for him. And above all others he turned to Velasquez. At seventeen he painted his first picture, the " Childhood of Giotto ". Then Madrazo put some commissions in his way—a copy of a full-length portrait of Queen Isabella, and one of the old King Fruella II., which still hangs among the Kings of Spain.
After his father's death, the Municipal Council of Bayonne were induced to give young Bonnat an allowance of 1500 francs. And at twenty he went to Paris, entered Cogniet's studio and the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and a life of deter-mined work began ; for the allowance of £60 had to suffice for all his needs ; and he painted everything that came in his way, even natures mortes. In 1857 he competed for the prix de Rome ; and though he only gained the second prize, Robert Fleury persuaded him to go to Rome all the same. The Bayonne allowance was continued to him ; and early in 1858 he arrived. Here, as elsewhere—for M. Bonnat has always made and kept many friends—he was welcomed by his fellow artists. Schnetz, the director of the Villa Médicis, gave him excellent advice ; and Chapu, the sculptor, introduced him to Rome.
Michael-Angelo in Rome entranced him as Velasquez had done in Madrid ; and in 1859 he thought of painting The Creation ". But Schnetz advised him to choose something simpler ; so he painted his " Good Samaritan ".. It was exhibited in the Salon of 1859, bought by the State, and is now at Bayonne. In 1861 he exhibited " La Mariuccia," -the first of the Italian studies which soon made his name known. And in 1863 his charming " Pasqua Maria " had a brilliant success, while he received a medal for his " Martyre de Saint André," and was placed hors concours. The warm, vigorous tones, the intensity of life he communicated to such Italian pictures as the " Mezzo bajocco, Eccelenza," the
Roman peasants before the Farnese Palace," " Saint Vincent de Paul prenant la place d'un galérien," brought the artist a speedy recognition. But he did not intend to keep for ever to Italian subjects. He went off with Gérôme ; saw Cairo, Jerusalem, and Athens ; drew fresh inspiration from the East ; and in 1870 began his Oriental pictures with " Une Femme Fellah et son Enfant," and " Une rue de Jérusalem ".
When the war broke out he was at Pampeluna. He hurried back for the defence of Paris, and during the Commune returned to Madrid, to see Velasquez. At Bayonne he painted a superb portrait of Mme. Molinier. And at Ustaritz, the famous portrait of the old Basque servant, who " with ten sous a-day managed to give help to others. " poorer than herself ". The " Paysanne d'Ustaritz " in the Salon of 1872, was one of M. Bonnat's greatest triumphs. It; was followed in 1873 by another—the " Barbier Turc "—ant astounding bit of colour, which was exhibited again in the Centennial Exhibition of 1889, and made a profound impression. As did the terrible but fine " Christ en Croix " of 1874.
But M. Bonnat's portraits, which now became his life-work, made an even greater impression in 1889. When they were grouped together—"Cardinal Lavigerie," "Jules Ferry,"' " Countess Potocca," " Alexandre Dumas," " M. Pasteur," " Victor Hugo," " M. Puvis de Chavannes "—seldom have a more magnificent set of human documents—of works of art full of extraordinary insight into the varying characters and qualities of the sitters—of rich, strong, brilliant colour—been exhibited. Each year adds fresh examples to the long list of the master's works—to the gallery of illustrious names. which the great artist is filling for the historian of the future. Each year those qualities he possesses in such an eminent degree, of truth, insight, absolutely faithful and honest work, add fresh lustre to the name of Léon Bonnat
S. E. le Cardinal Lavigerie, 1888.
Léon Cogniet, 1880.
Le Sculpteur Aimé Millet, 1869.
M. Thiers ; Victor Hugo, Versailles.
S.A.R. Le Duc d'Aumale, Chantilly.
Le Christ, 1874, Palais de Justice, Paris (Cour d'Assises).
St. Vincent de Paul, 1866, Église de St. Nicholas des. Champs, Paris.
Many portraits in the United States.
Mrs. John Carter Brown and John Nicholas Brown, Coll. J. N. Brown, Esq., Providence, Rhode Island.
CAROLUS - DURAN, CHARLES - AUGUSTE - ÉMILE, C. (b.Lille, 1837).-As with many another famous artist, M. Carolus-Duran's success was won through the stress of poverty, difficulties, and actual suffering. For at one period of his career he nearly died of the privations he endured, living in Paris for nearly three years, often on a sou's worth of bread as his food for the day.
From his earliest childhood he showed such taste for drawing, that he was at last sent to the Academy of design in Lille. Here he made slow progress under " le père Souchon," whose pupil the famous artist is now pleased to call himself ; for he was kept to the " flat " and the " round " for years ; and it was not until 1852 or 1853 that he was promoted to the class of painting. In 1855 he came to Paris with his then dying father, his mother and sister. And now the terrible struggle began. For after his father's death, the brave lad determined he would no longer be a burden to his mother, but fight his own way. Though, as he now says, he painted " nicely," he knew nothing. Everything had to be learned. At last in despair he decided to emigrate to Algeria as a mason ; and was setting out to walk to Marseilles, as he could afford no other means of transport, when a friend offered to advance him two terins' rent. Installed in a little studio half underground, he lived for three years as he could, sometimes going without dinner five days out of seven. To use his Own words, " I painted " my friends as I could not pay for models ; I went to the " Louvre to copy the masters, to draw the antiques . . . and " to warm myself into the bargain ". Worn out with such an existence he fell ill. A friend found him nearly dying of fever, took him to his own rooms, nursed him tenderly, and the future master slowly recovered. He then returned to Lille. And after some delay, which he occupied in painting small portraits, he gained the pension offered by the department in 1858, and returned in triumph to his studies in Paris with 1200 francs a year. Three years later he competed again in Lille for a sum of money bequeathed by a Chevalier Wicar, a contemporary of David, for the purpose of sending some promising young artist to Rome from time to time. And gaining the coveted prize, Carolus-Duran went off to spend four ideal years in Italy. £7 a month had to suffice for food, clothes, lodgings, models, colours, and journeys. But after what he had already endured such an existence seemed Paradise.
Though he exhibited a portrait in the Salon of 1859, and several pictures and portraits in that of 1861, his first real success came with " L'Assassiné," a souvenir of the Campagna. It is now in the Musée de Lille, a fine and strong bit of painting. But M. Carolus-Duran had yet to feel the magic of Velasquez, before he attained his full strength. Soon after his return from Rome he started for Spain ; and there found both the country and the master capable of giving an answer to all the questions and ambitions of his own vigorous artistic temperament. And when he came back to Paris, and married Mlle. Croizette, herself an artist of great charm and talent—the original of the well-known " Dame au Gant " of the Luxembourg—his career of triumphant success began.
Those magnificent portraits of men and women—those delightful pictures of his own babies—his daughters Anne-Marie and Sabine, who we have all watched growing up year by year on their father's canvases—form one long brilliant procession. And its course is broken now and again by such an enchanting caprice as " Beppino, un futur Doge " —the dear, staggering sixteenth century baby, now one of the treasures of Mr. J. S. Forbes' matchless collection. Or by the dramatic and impressive sadness of a " Mise en tombeau ". Or again by masterly landscapes such as those in the Salon of 1897, where we see the sun set once more in a blaze of colour behind Roqueburne across the marshes of the Argence, or over the plain of Fréjus—or seem to wander again through that fragrant forest of pines and myrtles and tall white heath, outside M. Carolus-Duran's villa on the Gulf at St. Eygulf.
Examples in Luxembourg :
La Dame au Gant, 1869.
Un soir dans l'Oise.
The daughter of the Artist and her two children, 1897.
The Artist Français, 1897.
L'Assassiné, 1861, Musée de Lille.
Beppino, J. S. Forbes, Esq.
The Poet with the Mandoline, 1894, The Artist.
RICARD, LOUIS-GUSTAVE (b. Marseille, 1824 ; d. Paris, 1873).—A pupil of Cogniet, Ricard strove to return to the methods of the early Italians. His portraits are of a most moving quality. Slightly veiled, with a tinge of melancholy, the painter seems to endeavour to make the eyes reveal they hidden character and thought of his sitter. The Louvre has two extremely fine examples of Ricard's portraits—one' of himself ; the other of the painter " Heilbuth ". The " Madame de Calonne " (250) in the Luxembourg, is also a remarkable picture, with a suggestion in its method of treatment of Leonardo.
There are also portraits by Ricard in the museums of Versailles, Marseilles, Grenoble and Montpellier, etc. And an exquisite portrait of Miss Alice Schlesinger, in the possession of Miss Schlesinger, was exhibited at the Guild-hall, 1898.
HÉBERT, ERNEST-ANTOINE-AUGUSTE, C.*, M. DE L'INST. (b. Grenoble, 1817).—M. Hébert had many masters ; David, d'Angers, Rolland, and Paul Delaroche. He entered the École des Beaux Arts in 1836 ; and three years later won the Prix de Rome. In 1851 and 1855 he gained first class. medals. He was made Director of the School of Rome in 1867 ; a Membre de l'Institut in 1874 ; and in 1895 his long and useful career was rewarded by a medal of Honour.
M. Hébert, now eighty-one, has painted numbers of subject pictures, mostly Italian—such as " La Malaria " (now at Chantilly) and " Les Cervarolles " in the Luxembourg. His. portraits, however, are the most remarkable and interesting part of his work. The Galleries of Versailles contain two most important examples. " The energetic figure of Prince " Napoleon (5143) forms a pendant to the fantastic apparition of Princesse Clotilde (5144) in her silk and white " muslin dress, with gold lace : the blue eyes and chestnut " hair responding to the tones of the fur-trimmed velvet " mantle, the dull red of a curtain in the shadow, the fading " rose and green of the twilight sky, make a chef d'oeuvre of " this canvas of Hébert's, inspired by Ricard."
GIGOUX, JEAN - FRANÇOIS, O.* (b. Besançon, 1806), painter and lithographer, was one of the " bataillon sacré " who with Géricault, Bonnington, and Delacroix, turned to the great masters of the Louvre for counsel and copied them to improve their own technique, a matter for which David and his school cared little. M. Gigoux's " Derniers moment de Léonard de Vinci " is painted, as Paul Mantz says, " with " a vigorous execution and generous impasto pleasant to " behold ". And in his portrait of the Polish general " Joseph Dwernicki," he proves himself a modern of the moderns, an uncompromising realist in the best sense. His portraits of contemporary artists, of Delacroix, Delaroche, Sigalon, etc., etc., are of great interest. So is the portrait of Charles Fourier, the founder of the Phalanstère. A survivor of the great battles of the early days of the century, Gigoux to extreme old age kept alive all the ardours and enthusiasms of his youth.
Portrait du général polonais, Joseph Dwernicki, 1833. 131.
Charles Fourier. 133.
Derniers moments de Léonard de Vinci, Musée de Besançon.
Four Sacred pictures, Èglise St. Gervais, Paris.
GAILLARD, CLAUDE-FERDINAND, * (b. Paris, 1834 ; d. Paris, 1887),—a pupil of Cogniet, won the Grand Prix de Rome (gravure) in 1856, for an " Académie " engraved from nature. One of the people, the son of a modest family of artisans, the artist gained in that early school of toil, in that struggle for the actual necessaries of life, the solid, sterling character which is shown in his works. On his return from Rome he tried for the grand prix de peinture ; but failed. This threw him back on his original métier. The " Portrait de Jean Bellin," which he had engraved from the famous original in Rome, was considered too independent in its methods in Paris, and was refused at the Salon. It was not until 1865 that his fine plate in the Gazette des Beaux Arts of Ant. da Messina's " Condottière," brought complete recognition of his talent. He was regularly employed by the Gazette until his death. And this constant study of the great masters in engraving their works for the Gazette, was a precious school for the artist.
In 1871 he made a success as a painter in the Salon, with his very remarkable portrait of " Ma tante ". This had been preceded by the magnificent portrait of " Monseigneur de Ségur " in 1866. And his crayons of Père Didon, Prince Bibesco, and Pio Nono, place him definitively among the great portraitists. Gaillard's whole preoccupation, whether he handled the brush or the burin, was with the portrait in its deepest sense. And some of his portrait etchings from nature are of rare merit and importance.
Among his best known engravings are L'homme à l'oeillet, after Van Eyck ; La Vierge au donateur, Jean Bellini ; portrait of Jean Bellini, from the Capitol ; portrait du Condottière, after Ant. da Messina ; etc., etc.
Monseigneur de Ségur, 1866.
Mme. R. (la tante de Gaillard), 1871.
Saint Sébastien, 1876.
L'abbe Rogerson, 1869, M. Judisse.
An exhibition of the artist's works, drawings, engravings, paintings, was held in 1898 in one of the rooms of the Luxembourg Museum.
CABANEL, ALEXANDRE, C.*, M. DE L'INST. (b. Montpellier, 1824 ; d. Paris, 1889).-" The student applauded by " all from, his childhood, the master A la mode before he had " reached full manhood, the venerated professor before age " had touched him, he travelled with tranquil step, without " trying halts, without painful anxieties, along the straight " road he had chosen, to the very end." M. George Lafenestre thus sums up the life of Cabanel, a man much beloved, whose only jealousy was in favour of his pupils against rival studios. His atelier was indeed the most generally frequented in Paris ; and among hundreds of other pupils it turned out such artists as MM. Bastien-Lepage, Collin, Cormon, Gervex, Aimé Morot, Paul Leroy, Friant, Des-champs, Benj. Constant, Carrière, Besnard—artists whose methods and aims are so widely different as to show that Cabanel was a true artist himself, more anxious to draw out and forin original talent in his pupils, than to impose hard and fast academic rules upon all alike.
Grand Prix de Rome in 1845, he received a second class medal in 1852, and a first class in 1855. In 1863 he was welcomed as a Member of the Academy. And his portrait of the Emperor in 1865 gained him a Medal of Honour at the Salon. His portraits are of greater value than his subject pictures, or even than his decorations, which, however, forin an important part of his work. In 1863, the year he exhibited the well-known " Naissance de Vénus," his portrait of the Comtesse de Clermont-Tonnerre showed the artist's high qualities as " the interpreter of aristocratic beauty ". In 1865 M. Paul Mantz called the portrait of Mme. de Ganay " a happy step towards this modern grace which still awaits " its historian and its poet ". And from 1868 to his death, all the leaders of Parisian society for twenty years passed through his atelier, a long procession of the most charming and best known women of the aristocratic, financial, manufacturing, moneyed worlds, and of the foreign colony. While one of his last was one of his most attractive pictures—the beautiful and touching portrait in 1886 of the " Foundress, of the Order of Little Sisters of the Poor ".
Among Cabanel's decorations were those of the Salle des Caryatides in the Hotel de Ville, destroyed in 1871; The Glorification of St. Louis, Chap. de Vincennes ; The Child-hood of St. Louis, Panthéon.
St. Louis, Versailles.
Naissance de Vénus, Luxembourg.
Portrait M. Bruyas ; Portrait de l'Artiste ; and several other pictures, Coll. Bruyas, Musée de Montpellier.
Le Poète Florentin, M. Bessonneau, Angers.
CHAPLIN, CHARLES, O.* (b. Les Andelys, 1825 ; d. Paris, 1891).-A naturalized Frenchman, son of an English father and a Norman mother, Chaplin's pictures show few English qualities. He never travelled beyond France. And it was quite late in life, when his talent was completely formed, that he made acquaintance with the works of Reynolds and Gainsborough, who have often been considered his artistic ancestors. A pupil of Drolling and the École des Beaux Arts, Chaplin's first Salon picture, in 1845, was a " Portrait de femme ". But for several years he felt his way, painting ambitious compositions, and landscapes in which the influence of Daubigny, Breton, Dupré, and Millet may be perceived.
His first success and first medal came in 1851, with a portrait of his sister. In 1857, a genre picture, " Les premières roses," was bought by the Empress. And two years later he exhibited his first attempts at decoration-" Poetry " and "Astronomy ". A third panel, " l'Aurore," was refused by the Jury on account of the figure being completely nude. This made some amount of stir ; and its result was to bring the young artist an important commission—the decoration of the Salon des Fleurs at the Tuileries. These decorations were of course destroyed in 1871 : but the drawings which still exist are full of grace and charm. His decorations in private houses in Paris, Brussels, the Hague, and New York, form a very important portion of his work. But his gracious and charming portraits of women are the part of his work by which Chaplin will be best remembered. Though always somewhat artificial and mannered, they recall to a certain degree the masters of the eighteenth century, with here a touch of Boucher or Fragonard, there a line of Reynolds or Gainsborough. The "Portrait de jeune fille " in the Luxembourg, with the sleeping kitten on her lap, has a sprightly attractiveness all its own. So has the lovely " Souvenirs ". Luxembourg. 55.
Mme. la Comtesse A. de la R., Mme. la Comtesse de la Rochefoucauld.
YVON, ADOLPHE, . (b. Eschviller, Mozelle, 1817), pupil of P. Delaroche and professor at the École des Beaux Arts, began his career as a portrait painter. But a journey to Russia in the forties seems to have turned his attention to historical painting. He began by a number of drawings of Russian types ; and in 1850 exhibited his " Bataille de Koulikovo," followed by his large paintings of the First and Third Empires, and completed the series with the " Charge des Cuirassiers A Reichshoffen," in the Salon of 1875.
In his portraits in 1888 it was pointed out that " he had " not ventured to go into the depths with his President of " the Republic. His M. Ritt was far more living."
Magenta and Solférino. 5015-16.
Ney soutenant l'arrière-Garde (retraite de Russie). 1941.
Three episodes in the taking of the Malakoff, Sebastopol. 1969-71.
GERVEX, HENRI, . (b. Paris, 1852), a pupil of Fromentin, Cabanel, and Brisset, has an amusing and interesting document in the Luxembourg, " Le Jury de peinture," in which the hanging committee of the Salon is seen at work. It will be of value in future as a record of the now vanished Palais des Champs Elysées. And further as a group of portraits of the best known artists of the day in 1884-5, painted five years before the famous schisin which resulted in the establishment of the Second Salon. Besides this M. Gervex has painted many excellent portraits. His picture " Avant l'opération " is another portrait group. For while it belongs more strictly to genre painting, it contains portraits of the best-known surgeons in Paris. And his " Satyre jouant avec une bacchante," in the Luxembourg, is a good example of the work for which the artist was given a second class medal in 1874. He " has been attracted," says Paul Mantz, " by luminous effects and lightness of shadows. He " is a worshipper of surface. And in choice of tone and quality " of light he has obtained surprising effects."
Satyre et bacchante, 1874, Luxembourg.
Le Jury de peinture, 1885, Luxembourg.
Le docteur Péan, le Docteur Péan.
FRIANT, ÉMILE, (b. Dieuze, Alsace - Lorraine).—M. Friant, a pupil of Cabanel and Devilly, in his portraits banishes the " peluche" background which is sometimes merely an excuse for laziness, and adopts the second method of portrait painting. M. André Michel in 1888 says of one of his pictures, " I like to see people in their homes, " surrounded by the common witnesses of their tastes and " their lives ; our acquaintance with them is thus made easier " and less trivial. I am infinitely grateful to M. Friant for " painting Mme. B. in her boudoir, leaning on her piano, and " pausing for a moment to speak to a friend."
Sometimes his portraits remind the spectator of a Terburg or a Gerard Dow. They display acuity of observation, certainty of hand, and energetic conciseness, firm, full and serious painting, and a great mastery over technical difficulties. In his well-known picture " Le Toussaint," in the Luxembourg, the most exact observation in every detail, in every movement is to be seen. But in this picture, and still more in the " Douleur " in the Salon of 1898, the arrested mouvement and a certain brutality of realistic conception, strikes the eye most unpleasantly, despite the extraordinary skill of execution.
La Toussaint, Luxembourg.
Portrait, M. Jules Claretie.
Portrait, M. Coquelin dans le rôle de Crispin.
LOBRICHON, TIMOLEON, (b. Cornod, Jura, 1831).-A pupil of Picot's, has for many years shared with Deschamps the title of the painter of Childhood. But while Deschamps chooses the joys and sorrows of abstract childhood, M. Lobrichon devotes himself to the portraits of real children. He has painted many genre pictures as well. But in the Exhibition of 1889 he exhibited solely as a portrait painter.
DEBAT-PONSON, EDOUARD-B., (b. Toulouse), pupil of Cabanel, is one of the later members of that School of Toulouse whose works show a certain affinity. The sculptors of Toulouse are perhaps superior to the painters. For these, excellent as their work is, are all somewhat inclined to a sadness and blackness of colour. In the Exhibition of 1889 M. Debat-Ponson exhibited some admirable portraits, among them one of M. Constans, then Ministre de l'Intérieur, 1880.