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Achenbach, Gabrielle  

French, 20th century, female.

Born in Nucourt (Val-d'Oise).

Painter. Figures, still-lifes, flowers.

Achenbach was a pupil of Gustave Courtois, H. Royer and the realist painter Dagnan-Bouveret. She worked in Paris, where she exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, first in ...


Adler, Edmund  

German, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1871; died 1957.

Painter. Figures, genre scenes, animals.

Edmund Adler, who painted in an extremely controlled Realist style as far as detail is concerned, specialised in scenes from childhood.

New York, 13 Oct 1978: Children Watching a Frog in a Jar...


Agbokou, Félix Nyakpogbé  

Togolese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 12 February 1977, in Lomé.

Painter (mixed media).

Félix Agbokou studied under Sokey Edoth between 1996 and 1999. He abandoned realism in favour of depicting a fantasy world, and his paintings are spontaneous to the extent that they have no predefined theme. Painted at night and by candlelight, each series of paintings is directly inspired by its immediate surroundings: Lomé, Kouma, Abouri or Ghana. Agbokou uses materials that come readily to hand - leaves of indigenous plants or the bark of local trees - and mixes them with acrylic paint, outlining his forms and individual colours with a black line obtained from a mixture of coconut milk and old nails. His work has featured at group exhibitions, including the ...


Albacini, Carlo  

Italian, 19th century, male.

Born 1777, in Rome; died 1858.


Carlo Albacini was inspired by Canova but sought to give his works a more Realist expression, which reduced them to exaggeration. His Realism ultimately bordered on coarseness, notably in some of his statuettes which appeared in the Chapel of Pescivendoli in Rome. Copies of statues of the antiquities are attributed to him, including ...


Alfano, Vincenzo  

Italian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 11 November 1854, in Naples.


Vincenzo Alfano was a pupil of Morelli and Palizzi. He was one of the most interesting personalities of the Italian Realist school. Abandoning Classical formulas, he sought to give life's emotional intensity to his terracotta objects. His work attracted both violent opposition and ardent support. His statue of ...


Alfaro Echevarría, Ángel  

Cuban, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1952, in Yaguajay.


Ángel Alfaro Echevarría has already gone through several periods: Naturalist, Abstract and then a return to the Figurative, albeit in a more detached, impulsive style.


American Scene painting  

M. Sue Kendall

Term used to describe scenes of typical American life painted in a naturalistic vein from c. 1920 until the early 1940s. It applies to both Regionalism and Social Realism in American painting, but its specific boundaries remain ambiguous. The phrase probably derived from Henry James’s collection of essays and impressions, The American Scene (London, 1907), published upon James’s own rediscovery of his native land after 21 years as an expatriate. The term entered the vocabulary of fine arts by the 1920s and was applied to the paintings of Charles Burchfield during 1924.

In the two decades following World War I, American writers and artists began to look for native sources for the aesthetic and spiritual renewal of their modern technological civilization. This search engaged and activated many thoughtful and creative people in the 1920s and 1930s and resulted in that flurry of activity that Waldo Frank (1889–1967) discussed as ...


Anli, Hakki  

Turkish, 20th century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 6 October 1920, in Istanbul.


Hakki Anli was a student at Istanbul’s school of fine art until 1942, moving to Paris in 1946. His early work was of the realist genre, but he was later influenced by Picasso’s cubist art and abstract art. His painting was thus solidly based on a cubist infrastructure but gradually became freer in time....


Antigna, (Jean-Pierre-)Alexandre  

David Ojalvo

(b Orléans, March 7, 1817; d Paris, Feb 26, 1878).

French painter. He was taught at the school of drawing in Orléans by a local painter, François Salmon (1781–1855). On 9 October 1837 he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, first in the atelier of Sebastien Norblin de la Gourdaine (1796–1884). A year later he became a pupil of Paul Delaroche, from whom he acquired his understanding of dramatic composition.

Antigna exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1841 with a religious canvas, the Birth of Christ (untraced), and showed there every year for the rest of his life. Until 1845 his exhibits were primarily religious scenes and portraits. Influenced by the effects of industrialization and the sufferings of the urban working class, which he witnessed at first hand while living in the poor quarter of the Ile St Louis in Paris, he turned towards contemporary social subjects dominated by poverty and hardship. The ...


Antigna, Jean Pierre Alexandre  

French, 19th century, male.

Born 7 March 1817, in Orléans; died 26 February 1878, in Paris.

Painter. Religious subjects, genre scenes.


Alexandre Antigna travelled to Paris at the suggestion of André Salamon, then professor of composition at a college in Orléans. He enrolled in Norblin's workshop before going on to work for seven years under the direction of Paul Delaroche. He exhibited at Paris salons on a regular basis from 1841 and was awarded the Légion d'Honneur in 1861. His work was principally on religious themes but, from 1841 to 1846, he took an increasing interest in genre painting. His style brings together observation of nature with studio poses and mannerisms observed from painters such as Daumier....


Aprea, Giuseppe  

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1879, in Naples.

Painter. Religious subjects, figures, landscapes.

Aprea was a pupil of the history painter Domenico Morelli and the Realist painter Filippo Palizzi at the fine art academy in Naples. As early as 1900 he showed his painting Queen of the Sky...


Arnaud, Marie Joséphine  

French, 19th – 20th century, female.

Born 1854, in Argentière-La-Bessée (Hautes-Alpes); died 1921, in Beaume-des-Arnauds (Hautes-Alpes).

Painter. Landscapes.

Marie Joséphine Arnaud's landscapes have a quality of such objective Realism that they evoke what was later to become Hyperrealistic painting.

Gap (Mus. départemental): Farmyard in Ribiers


Arrieu, Lucien Frédéric  

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1913.

Painter. Genre scenes.

Lucien Frédéric Arrieu was a Realist and sought out anecdotal or picturesque subjects.

Paris, 29 May 1964: Abandoned Canvas, FRF 2,000

Paris, 5 July 1994: Still-life with Bottle (oil on canvas, 23½ × 11¾ ins/60 × 30 cm) ...


Art for Art’s Sake  

Hilary Morgan

[Fr. L’Art pour l’art]

Concept that emphasizes the autonomous value of art and regards preoccupations with morality, utility, realism and didacticism as irrelevant or inimical to artistic quality. It was the guiding principle of the Aesthetic Movement.

In France the phrase ‘l’art pour l’art’ first appeared in print in 1833, but the concept had been popularized earlier by Madame de Staël’s De l’Allemagne (Paris, 1813) and Victor Cousin’s philosophy lectures at the Sorbonne, Du vrai, du beau et du bien (1816–18; pubd Paris, 1836). Théophile Gautier was its main literary publicist, especially in the preface to his novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (Paris, 1835). Studies of l’art pour l’art, such as Cassagne’s, concentrate on the Second Empire literary movement (1851–70) that included Charles Baudelaire, Gautier, Edmond and Jules de Goncourt and the Parnassian poets. The application of the term to art criticism and visual art is uncharted, but it seems to have been used sufficiently loosely to embrace stylistically opposed artists. ...


Aspelin, Gert  

Swedish, 20th century, male.

Born 1944, in Göteborg.


After starting out doing collages in 1966, Gert Aspelin turned to Realist paintings with a didactic purpose. He has exhibited regularly, in solo and collective shows in Stockhom, since 1966.


Aviat, Jules-Charles  

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 26 June 1844, in Brienne-le-Château; died 23 January 1931, in Périgueux.

Painter. Figures, portraits, genre scenes, landscapes, seascapes. Wall decorations.


Jules-Charles Aviat was the son of a bolting (flour-sifting) machine operator, Jean Baptiste Mauperrin, and Marie Marguerite Doux. After the death of her husband, Marie married Pierre Antoine Aviat by whom she had two more children. In ...


Baba, Corneliu; Cornelius  

Romanian, 20th century, male.

Born 18 November 1906, in Craiova.

Painter. Portraits, local scenes.

A pupil of N. Tonitza at the fine arts academy in Jasi, Corneliu Baba like most Romanian artists of the time, produced work strictly realist in character. He specialised in scenes from the life of peasants and labourers. He travelled to the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Italy. He exhibited, from ...


Backer, Harriet  

Norwegian, 19th – 20th century, female.

Born 21 January 1845, in Holmestrand; died 1932, in Oslo.

Painter. Portraits, interiors with figures, landscapes, still-lifes.


Harriet Backer studied under J.F. Eckersberg at the school he established in Oslo. After spending time in Berlin and Weimar, she continued her studies in Italy in ...


Baeder, John  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1938, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist. Urban landscapes.

John Baeder paints in an exaggerated realist style which places him among the Hyperrealists. He enjoys painting typically American places, such as small tourist camps and converted trucks, buses or trailers used for selling hamburgers by the side of the road or in towns....


Baikov, Leonid  

Russian, 20th century, male.

Born 1919.

Painter. Landscapes with figures.

A student at the I. Repin institute in Leningrad, working under the direction of Mikhail Avilov, Leonid Baikov was linked to the 19th academic tradition through his realist style and choice of subjects. He became a member of the Union of the Artists of the USSR and from ...