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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 ...


French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 19 July 1834, in Paris, France; died 26 September 1917, in Paris.

Painter, pastellist, sculptor, printmaker (monotypes, etchings, aquatints, lithographs), draughtsman, photographer. History painting, figures, nudes, portraits, genre scenes, interiors with figures, sporting subjects.


Impressionist group.

Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas was born in Paris into a well-to-do banking family. His father, whose family originated from Breton nobility, was born in Naples and his Creole mother, Célestine Musson, was born in New Orleans. She died in 1847 when Degas was 13 years old. His grandfather (who had left France at the time of the French Revolution) and his father always signed their names ‘de Gas’, a usage that Edgar continued until about 1870. He only signed works when he sold or exhibited them, and after his death, the executors of his estate stamped red signatures on all the works in his studio. Degas rarely dated his works....


Rodolphe Rapetti

(b Paris, June 7, 1848; d Atuona, Marquesas Islands, May 8, 1903).

French painter, printmaker, sculptor and ceramicist. His style developed from Impressionism through a brief cloisonnist phase (in partnership with Emile Bernard) towards a highly personal brand of Symbolism, which sought within the tradition of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes to combine and contrast an idealized vision of primitive Polynesian culture with the sceptical pessimism of an educated European (see fig.). A selfconsciously outspoken personality and an aggressively asserted position as the leader of the Pont-Aven group made him a dominant figure in Parisian intellectual circles in the late 1880s. His use of non-naturalistic colour and formal distortion for expressive ends was widely influential on early 20th-century avant-garde artists.


Danish, 20th century, male.

Active also in Germany.

Born 1 September 1938, in Copenhagen.

Painter (oils, watercolours), sculptor, draughtsman, engraver, performance artist, environmental artist. Landscapes.


Fluxus, Nouveaux Fauves.

Per Kirkeby received a doctorate in geology and has participated in several scientific expeditions to Greenland, Central America, Central Asia, and Ireland. In the 1960s, he was a member of the experimental art school in Copenhagen, which was close to the Fluxus group, and, in 1978, was made professor at the fine arts academy in Karlsruhe. He has lived and worked in Copenhagen, on Læsø island (north Jutland), and in Karlsruhe.

Kirkeby’s modes of expression are eclectic: he is a painter, sculptor, and draughtsman, but also a poet and maker of prints, environments, models, films, and documentaries. At the beginning of his career, he was inspired by Surrealism and Pop Art, calling himself a ‘superrealist’. He subsequently produced collages based on a spontaneous form of associationism, which incorporated dried vegetable elements and were sometimes arranged in letter shapes. Later, he became involved in the Fluxus group and took part in performances with Joseph Beuys in Copenhagen, with Immendorf in Aachen, and with Nam June Paik in New York. He also mounted exhibitions that brought together various objects he had gathered during his travels. Nothing remains of his work from this period....


American, 20th century, male.

Born 8 June 1876, in Altona.

Painter, engraver, sculptor.

Willi Otto Max Lange trained at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts, and at the Académie René Prinet in Paris. He painted Impressionist-style harbour scenes and seascapes.

Hamburg (Kunsthalle)

Hanover (Kestner-Mus.)


Anne Distel

(b Limoges, Feb 25, 1841; d Cagnes-sur-Mer, Dec 3, 1919).

French painter, printmaker, and sculptor. He was one of the founders and leading exponents of Impressionism from the late 1860s, producing some of the movement’s most famous images of carefree leisure. He broke with his Impressionist colleagues to exhibit at the Salon from 1878, and from c. 1884 he adopted a more linear style indebted to the Old Masters. His critical reputation has suffered from the many minor works he produced during his later years.

Renoir was born in Limoges but lived with his family in Paris from 1844. The sixth of seven children, he came from a humble background; his father, Léonard Renoir, was a tailor and his mother, Marguerite Merlet, a dressmaker. At the age of 13 he was apprenticed to M. Levy, a porcelain painter who perceived and valued his precocious skill. Nevertheless his ambition was to become a painter.

From 1860 he copied Old Master paintings in the Louvre, and by ...


French, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 25 February 1841, in Limoges; died 3 December 1919, in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Painter, pastellist, engraver, lithographer, sculptor, draughtsman. Figure compositions, figures, nudes, portraits, scenes with figures, landscapes, still-lifes, flowers.

Impressionist group.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s father was a tailor and his mother was a seamstress. The house where he was born, which still stands, indicates his humble background in Limoges. In 1844, the family left Limoges and moved to Paris. From 1854 to 1859, Renoir was apprenticed to various craftsmen and found work as a decorative painter. In Paris, he joined the studio of the porcelain manufacturer Lévy, where he was assigned to paint decorative floral motifs and pastoral scenes inspired by the 18th century, as well as profile portraits of Marie-Antoinette. Around 1858, he left the Lévy studio and then painted on fan-shaped fabric and blinds for the Gilbert firm. In 1859, he decorated about 20 cafés with mythological scenes. Attracted by painting, he attended evening classes in Paris. From 1860 to 1864, he was entered in the register of requests for permission to work in the Musée du Louvre, where he copied 18th-century paintings by Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. These were the first works of art that filled him with admiration, and he would remain attached to them for the rest of his life....


Leila Krogh

(b Copenhagen, Sept 7, 1863; d Cannes, April 4, 1958).

Danish painter, printmaker, sculptor, ceramicist, architect and collector. He studied from 1881 at the Kunstakademi in Copenhagen and in 1886 at Peder Severin Krøyer’s Frie Skole there. His style changed radically during his travels in France and Spain (1888–9) and during a stay in France, where he met and exhibited with French artists, including Paul Gauguin. In Brittany he painted several scenes of local people, similar to Gauguin’s work of this period, for example Two Women Walking, Brittany (1890; Frederikssund, Willumsens Mus.). In such works Willumsen emphasized the element of vigorous movement. From the start of his career Willumsen also made prints (etchings from 1885, lithographs from 1910 and woodcuts from 1920): early, more realistic works, such as the Copenhagen townscape of Woman Out for a Walk (1889) soon gave way to a bolder, more Symbolist approach, as in Fertility (1891), which showed his wife Juliette in an advanced stage of pregnancy and raised a storm of protest when exhibited at the Copenhagen Frie Udstilling (Free Exhibition), which Willumsen and others had founded. His major work from this period is ...


Roger Avermaete

(b Mechelen, Aug 21, 1882; d Amsterdam, July 11, 1916).

Belgian painter, sculptor, draughtsman and printmaker . From the age of 11 he worked in the studio of his father, an ornamental sculptor. After studying painting in 1899 at the Akademie van Schone Kunsten in Mechelen, he went to Brussels in 1902 to study sculpture under Charles Van der Stappen; although he did not stay there long, he continued to sculpt, taking up painting only in 1911. In 1905 he married Hélène Duerinckx, known affectionately as Nel, who first worked for him as a model earlier in the year. They were rescued from poverty only in 1911, when Wouters signed a contract with the Galerie Giroux in Brussels.

Wouters was particularly productive as a painter from 1912 to 1914, painting some of his best works, such as the portrait of his wife entitled Woman with Yellow Necklace (1912) and The Flautist (1914; both Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.), in which a man in pensive pose is set against a landscape seen through a window. An exhibition held at the Galerie Giroux at this time was highly successful. After being called up in ...