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Article

French, 19th century, male.

Born 1817, in Paris; died 1887, in St-Germain-en-Laye.

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, engraver. Figures, portraits, genre scenes, still-lifes (including musical instruments), landscapes.

Realism.

François Bonvin's father was a game-keeper, first in Vaugirard and then in Montrouge. François Bonvin learnt to draw at a free course given in the Rue de l'École de Médecine, and after two years, forced to make his living, he became a type-setter, and then took a job in the Prefecture of Police. In his spare time he toured the museums, especially the Louvre, where he studied the Flemish and Dutch masters. He amassed sketches and watercolours of landscapes from life and portraits of the people he mixed with. In the evening he worked first at the Gobelins studio, and later at l'Académie Suisse. He first exhibited in 1847 with ...

Article

Swiss, 19th century, male.

Born 15 August 1828, in Feldbrunnen (Solothurn); died 22 November 1890, in Feldbrunnen.

Painter, engraver. Portraits, genre scenes, landscapes.

Realism.

Buchser travelled widely throughout his life. He studied painting in Italy in 1847. Poverty forced him to join the Pope's Swiss Guard. In 1849, he became a Garibaldian and left for Paris, where he studied under Schnetz. He travelled to Spain and Morocco, where, in 1859, he followed the Spanish-Moroccan war in his capacity as historical painter for Spain. He also lived in England and worked in North America, where he met with great success. Between 1864 and 1871, he crossed the USA from one end to the other, painting portraits and taking notes that he subsequently used in his works. On his return to Europe, he founded the Union of Swiss Painters in 1865. He again travelled widely in southern Europe, visiting in turn Greece, Corfu, Dalmatia and Montenegro....

Article

Ukrainian, 19th century, male.

Born 1795, in Yekaterinoslav (now Dnepropetrovsk); died 1828, in Vera Cruz, murdered.

Draughtsman, lithographer.

Choris probably studied in Moscow. He accompanied the naturalist F.A. Marshall de Bierberstein in the Caucasus and between 1815 and 1818, the Captain Otto de Kotzebue in the South Seas. On his return, he was for a while a pupil of Gérard and of Regnault in Paris. In ...

Article

Fronia E. Wissman

(b Paris, July 17, 1796; d Paris, Feb 22, 1875).

French painter, draughtsman and printmaker.

After a classical education at the Collège de Rouen, where he did not distinguish himself, and an unsuccessful apprenticeship with two drapers, Corot was allowed to devote himself to painting at the age of 26. He was given some money that had been intended for his sister, who had died in 1821, and this, together with what we must assume was his family’s continued generosity, freed him from financial worries and from having to sell his paintings to earn a living. Corot chose to follow a modified academic course of training. He did not enrol in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts but studied instead with Achille Etna Michallon and, after Michallon’s death in 1822, with Jean-Victor Bertin. Both had been pupils of Pierre-Henri Valenciennes, and, although in later years Corot denied that he had learnt anything of value from his teachers, his career as a whole shows his attachment to the principles of historic landscape painting which they professed....

Article

British, 19th century, male.

Born 1791, in Norwich; died 1862, in London.

Engraver. Natural history.

John Curtis was a naturalist, known for his representations of natural history subjects.

Article

French, 19th century, male.

Born 26 February 1808, in Marseilles; died 10 February 1879, in Valmondois (Val-d’Oise).

Painter, lithographer, draughtsman, sculptor.

Realism.

Honoré Daumier was born to a modest Marseilles family who moved to Paris when Daumier was still a child. From bailiff’s errand boy, young Honoré graduated without enthusiasm to bookshop assistant. He was attracted to the Louvre and wanted to draw. His parents turned a deaf ear until Alexandre Lenoir, who created the Musée des Monuments Français and was an acquaintance of Daumier’s father, encouraged him to let his son follow his bent. The first trial, however, proved inconclusive, probably because conventional tutoring was ill-suited to the student’s temperament. Despite this, he managed to get a job under a lithographer named Ratelet. There he drew alphabets, ornaments for the covers of romances, and so on. He went on to work for the publisher Zéphirin Bélliard and then for Achille Ricourt, until he finally made a modest journalistic debut, collaborating on the ...

Article

Michel Melot

(b Marseille, Feb 26, 1808; d Valmondois, Feb 10, 1879).

French graphic artist, painter, and sculptor.

Son of a Marseille glazier, frame-maker, and occasional picture restorer, Daumier joined his father in Paris in 1816. He became a bailiff’s errand boy and was then employed by a bookseller, but his real enthusiasm was reserved for drawing and politics. He studied drawing with Alexandre Lenoir and at the Académie Suisse and then worked as assistant to the lithographer Béliard. Having mastered the techniques of lithography, he published his first plate in the satirical weekly La Silhouette in 1829.

Daumier was 22 when the revolution of July 1830 gave the throne to Louis-Philippe as constitutional monarch and power to the French middle-class business community. On 4 November 1830 the print publisher Aubert and his son-in-law Charles Philipon launched the violently anti-monarchist weekly La Caricature, followed on 1 December 1832 by Le Charivari, the first daily paper to be illustrated with lithographs. In his association with these newspapers and in the company of Republican artists, Daumier found a favourable milieu for developing his vigorous style and progressive ideas....

Article

Geneviève Monnier

(b Paris, July 19, 1834; d Paris, Sept 27, 1917).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor, pastellist, photographer and collector. He was a founder-member of the Impressionist group and the leader within it of the Realist tendency. He organized several of the group’s exhibitions, but after 1886 he showed his works very rarely and largely withdrew from the Parisian art world. As he was sufficiently wealthy, he was not constricted by the need to sell his work, and even his late pieces retain a vigour and a power to shock that is lacking in the contemporary productions of his Impressionist colleagues.

The eldest son of a Parisian banking family, he originally intended to study law, registering briefly at the Sorbonne’s Faculté de Droit in 1853. He began copying the 15th- and 16th-century Italian works in the Musée du Louvre and in 1854 he entered the studio of Louis Lamothe (1822–69). The training that Lamothe, who had been a pupil of Ingres, transmitted to Degas was very much in the classical tradition; reinforced by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, which he attended in ...

Article

Annie Scottez-De Wambrechies

(b Lille, June 19, 1825; d Paris, Jan 29, 1894).

French painter and lithographer. He began as an apprentice lithographer but displayed such a talent for drawing that in 1845 his parents enrolled him at the Académie in Lille, where he studied under the sculptor Augustin-Phidias Cadet de Beaupré (b 1800). In 1847–50 he worked in the studio of the Neo-classical painter François Souchon (1787–1857). In 1852 he received a scholarship to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris with Léon Cogniet. He frequented the Brasserie Andler where he met many of the artists who exhibited at the Salon, particularly the Realists. Gautier himself made his début at the Salon in 1853 with Thursday Promenade. He shared living-quarters with Paul Gachet, a close friend whom he had known from his days in Lille. Gachet, who was a doctor, introduced Gautier to the environment of such hospitals as La Salpêtrière, and this influenced the direction his art was to take. He was authorized to execute a large number of studies of lunatics in the specialized asylum, continuing the tradition begun some 30 years earlier by Gericault with his scientifically realistic series of monomaniacs. Gautier was fascinated by this experience and, as a result, painted his best-known work, the ...

Article

American, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 24 February 1836, in Boston; died 29 September 1910, in Prout’s Neck (Maine).

Painter, watercolourist, etcher, wood engraver, draughtsman. Genre and military scenes, landscapes, seascapes.

Realism.

Winslow Homer was brought up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and showed an early interest in art, which was encouraged by his mother, who was an amateur watercolourist. At the age of 19, he went to work for a lithographer in Boston. A few years later Homer was working as a freelance illustrator for ...

Article

Helen A. Cooper

(b Boston, MA, Feb 24, 1836; d Prout’s Neck, ME, Sept 29, 1910).

American painter, illustrator and etcher. He was one of the two most admired American late 19th-century artists (the other being Thomas Eakins) and is considered to be the greatest pictorial poet of outdoor life in the USA and its greatest watercolourist (see fig.). Nominally a landscape painter, in a sense carrying on Hudson River school attitudes, Homer was an artist of power and individuality whose images are metaphors for the relationship of Man and Nature. A careful observer of visual reality, he was at the same time alive to the purely physical properties of pigment and colour, of line and form, and of the patterns they create. His work is characterized by bold, fluid brushwork, strong draughtsmanship and composition, and particularly by a lack of sentimentality.

Homer was the second of three sons of Charles Savage Homer, a hardware importer, and Henrietta Benson Homer, a gifted amateur watercolourist. Brought up in Cambridge, MA, where he attended school, he had an active outdoor boyhood that left a lifelong liking for the country. An independent, strong-willed young man, he showed an early preference for art and was encouraged in his interest by both parents. Like a number of self-educated American artists, Homer was first known as an illustrator. At 19 he became an apprentice at the lithographic firm of ...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active then naturalised in England.

Born 8 May 1837, in Dijon; died 8 December 1911, in Watford, near London.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, draughtsman. Portraits, genre scenes.

Realism.

Alphonse Legros was the youngest child of a poor family and his education was so neglected that when, at the age of 11, he was apprenticed to a house painter he still could not read. In 1851 he went to Paris, worked with Cambon on theatre sets, then entered the École Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudron. Legros first exhibited at the Salon de Paris with ...

Article

British, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1770; died 1819.

Engraver.

The naturalist and artist John William Lewin settled in Paramatta (New South Wales, Australia), from where he published a number of collections of original coloured prints: Prodromus Entomology (18 plates), Birds of New Holland (22 plates) and ...

Article

Bettina Brand

(b Berlin, July 20, 1847; d Berlin, Feb 8, 1935).

German painter, draughtsman, printmaker and collector. He dominated the German art world from the 1890s to the 1930s. Although at first a highly controversial figure, after the turn of the century he was showered with honours. His Naturalist and Impressionist works have been consistently admired, despite being banned during the Nazi period. Liebermann’s approach was that of a liberal cosmopolitan, and his work is distinguished by its honesty and commitment to social reform. Influenced by Dutch and French painting, he led the modernist movement in Germany away from the literary art of the 19th century.

The son of a Jewish businessman from Berlin, Liebermann initially studied philosophy, but in 1866 he became a pupil of Carl Steffeck, who had given him occasional drawing tuition. In 1868–72 he studied under Ferdinand Wilhelm Pauwels (1830–1904), Charles Verlat and Paul Thumann (1834–1908) at the Kunsthochschule in Weimar. In 1871...

Article

Beatrice Farwell

(b Paris, Jan 23, 1832; d Paris, April 30, 1883).

French painter and printmaker. Once classified as an Impressionist, he has subsequently been regarded as a Realist who influenced and was influenced by the Impressionist painters of the 1870s, though he never exhibited with them nor adopted fully their ideas and procedures. His painting is notable for its brilliant alla prima painterly technique; in both paintings and prints he introduced a new era of modern, urban subject-matter (see fig.). In his relatively short career he evolved from an early style marked by dramatic light-dark contrasts and based on Spanish 17th-century painting to high-keyed, freely brushed compositions whose content bordered at times on Symbolism.

Manet was the eldest of three sons of Auguste Manet, a distinguished civil servant in the Ministry of Justice, and Eugénie Désirée Fournier, daughter of a diplomatic envoy to the Swedish court. Although he showed talent for drawing and caricature at an early age, his career as an artist began only after his secondary education at the Collège Rollin and two attempts to enter the Naval College, in which he failed even after a training voyage to Rio de Janeiro (...

Article

French, 19th century, male.

Born 21 February 1815, in Lyons; died 31 January 1891, in Paris.

Painter, watercolourist, sculptor, engraver, draughtsman. History painting, portraits, genre scenes.

Realism.

While still very young, Meissonier showed an extremely strong interest in fine arts, and he entered Léon Cogniet's studio at an early age. He made his debut in 1834 with a genre picture, ...

Article

Jens Christian Jensen

(Friedrich Erdmann von)

(b Breslau, Silesia [now Wrocław, Poland], Dec 8, 1815; d Berlin, Feb 9, 1905).

German painter, draughtsman, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher. He was the most important artist working in Berlin in the second half of the 19th century and in his later years was one of the most successful and respected artists in Germany. Living virtually all his life in Berlin, he executed numerous paintings and illustrations relating to events in Prussia’s recent history and was the foremost chronicler of the life of Frederick the Great (reg 1740–86). Through his portraits and industrial scenes and his more intimate studies of interiors and local religious events he became one of the greatest German proponents of Realism (see Realism, §3).

He was the son of Carl Erdmann Menzel (d 1832), the head of an educational institute in Breslau, who abandoned his profession in 1818 to establish a lithographic printing works. In 1827, at age 12, Adolph Menzel exhibited a drawing and in ...

Article

French, 19th century, male.

Born 4 October 1814, in Gruchy, near Gréville (Manche); died 20 January 1875, in Barbizon.

Painter, pastellist, engraver, draughtsman. Portraits, genre scenes, landscapes, landscapes with figures.

Realism (related to).

Barbizon School.

The son of a farmer from Gréville, near Cherbourg, Millet began to draw on the walls of the family home while still a young child. M. Langlois, curator of the Cherbourg municipal museum, advised the family to allow the boy to work at his drawing, and he was subsequently taught by Mouchel, while continuing to carry out his share of work on the farm. He was quickly hailed as a child prodigy, and helped by friends to secure an annual municipal grant of 600 francs, enabling him to study in Paris. Millet left for Paris in 1838, aged 23, and entered the studio of the painter Paul Delaroche; his already firmly fixed views on art surprised Delaroche, provoking violent quarrels between master and pupil. Millet’s ideas were opposed by the entire studio, earning him the nickname ...

Article

Heather McPherson

(b Gruchy, nr Gréville, Oct 4, 1814; d Barbizon, Jan 20, 1875).

French painter, draughtsman and etcher. He is famous primarily as a painter of peasants. Although associated with the Barbizon school, he concentrated on figure painting rather than landscape except during his final years. His scenes of rural society, which nostalgically evoke a lost golden age, are classical in composition but are saturated with Realist detail (see Realism). Millet’s art, rooted in the Normandy of his childhood as well as in Barbizon, is also indebted to the Bible and past masters. His fluctuating critical fortunes reflect the shifting social and aesthetic lenses through which his epic representations of peasants have been viewed.

Born into a prosperous peasant family from Normandy, Millet received a solid general education and developed what became a lifelong interest in literature. After studying with a local portrait painter, Bon Du Mouchel (1807–46), he continued his professional training in Cherbourg with Lucien-Théophile Langlois (...

Article

Russian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 20 May 1844, in St Petersburg; died 18 July 1927, in Polenovo (Tula region).

Painter, engraver, designer, illustrator, teacher. History painting, religious painting, portraits, genre painting, landscapes, stage designs, costumes, decorative art, architecture.

The Peredvizhniki (Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions)...