The 18th and 19th Centuries




 




Official Art


 




(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)





 



Eugene-Emmanuel Amaury-Duval


Jean Andre Rixens
 


see collections:


Horace Vernet


Alexandre Cabanel


Adolphe William Bouguereau


Lord Frederic Leighton


Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema


Thomas Couture


Paul Baudry


Charles Gleyre


John William Godward



 


 


The Salons and the Academies

Huge crowds regularly flocked to the exhibitions at the Paris Salon and London's Royal Academy of Arts. The public showed extraordinary interest in the paintings on show, some of which had to be protected by barriers and guarded by the police. The fear was not of malicious attacks on the works themselves, but of over-enthusiastic crowds getting too close. Artists whose work was selected for exhibition enjoyed immediate success and the value of their paintings was greatly increased. As a result, a recognizably "academic style" developed as artists sought to create works of art that appealed to the exhibition selectors. Horace Vernet (1789-1863), Jean Leon Gerome (1824-1904), and Alexandre Cabanel (1823-89) were among those artists who enjoyed such high esteem in the second half of the century. Another of their number, Adolphe William Bouguereau (1825-1905), once boasted at the height of his fame, "Every minute of mine costs a hundred francs."
Run according to a strict hierarchy, the French Academy of Painting and Sculpture had been dissolved in 1793 by David and the Abbe Gregoire because, as stated in the Salon guide for that year, "the main characteristic of genius is independence". William Blake and Jakob Carstens, among others, also dismissed the institutions as too didactic. However, in the mid-19th century, they were a necessary testing ground for painters of "serious" art, and won the endorsement of painters such as Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96), who praised the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Overall, the academies became more and more influential, placing greater emphasis on formal, didactic works than on the more spontaneous approach that had previously been so important in artistic training.

 


Charles Gleyre
Evening, or Lost Illusions
1843
Musee du Louvre, Paris

The traditional subject matter of myth and legend found its way into the homes of art collectors:
this work is a relatively informal and intimate portrayal
 

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THE SALON OF 1863

 


Edouard Manet
Dejeuner sur l'Herbe
1863
 

 

The paintings exhibited at the Paris Salons represented only a small fraction of those submitted to the exacting jury, who took care to ensure that academic standards rather than creative genius remained the prime criterion. To pacify the many protesters, Napoleon III created an alternative salon in 1863, to enable the public itself to judge the merit of the works on show. Most of the people who visited the Salon des Refuses that year went in a spirit of hostility. At the Salon of 1863, the emperor himself purchased a nude by Cabanel, regarded as perfectly decent and wholly unsensual because of the mythological subject matter, whereas the Dejeunersur I'Herbe by Edouard Manet (1832-83) was judged by the jury to be vulgar and was turned down. Gerome (and to a lesser extent Cabanel) proved to be the most bitter adversary of the Impressionists and or the work of Manet in particular: he strongly opposed an exhibition of Impressionist paintings donated from the Caillebotte collection that was due to be held at the Musee du Louvre.

 


Alexandre Cabanel
The Birth of Venus
1862
Muse'e d'Orsay, Paris

This work earned the artist entry into the Academie des Beaux-Arts
 

   
 



Eugene-Emmanuel Amaury-Duval


(b Montrouge, Paris, 4 April 1806; d Paris, 29 April 1885).

French painter and writer. A student of Ingres, he first exhibited at the Salon in 1830 with a portrait of a child. He continued exhibiting portraits until 1868. Such entries as M. Geoffroy as Don Juan (1852; untraced), Rachel, or Tragedy (1855; Paris, Mus. Comédie-Fr.) and Emma Fleury (1861; untraced) from the Comédie-Française indicate an extended pattern of commissions from that institution. His travels in Greece and Italy encouraged the Néo-Grec style that his work exemplifies. Such words as refinement, delicacy, restraint, elegance and charm pepper critiques of both his painting and his sedate, respectable life as an artist, cultural figure and writer in Paris. In contrast to Ingres’s success with mature sitters, Amaury-Duval’s portraits of young women are his most compelling. In them, clear outlines and cool colours evoke innocence and purity. Though the portraits of both artists were influenced by classical norms, Amaury-Duval’s have control and civility in contrast to the mystery and sensuousness of Ingres’s.

 

 

 


Eugene-Emmanuel Amaury-Duval
The Birth of Venus

 

 

Eugene-Emmanuel Amaury-Duval

Ancient Bather

 

 


 

Eugene-Emmanuel Amaury-Duval

The Bather

 

 

Eugene-Emmanuel Amaury-Duval

Madame de Loynes

 

 

Eugene-Emmanuel Amaury-Duval

Woman from St. Jean de Luz
 

 

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Lord Leighton
The Bath of Psyche
 


Academic Approval


The French state was eager to patronize artists and issued invitations to them to preside at official openings and other public occasions in Paris. The status of "official artist" was hugely prestigious; artists were indulged by the Salon and by clients, and some were even decorated with the Legion of Honour. At the beginning of the 19th century, many of London's artists lived modestly in the poorer parts of the city, but soon those endorsed by the institutions took advantage of their growing status and moved to more salubrious areas of London. Luxurious and exotic mansions were fashionable among the wealthier artists, most notably Lord Leighton's in Holland Park, which followed a design by George Aitchison (1825-1910). Its outstanding feature was an exotic Arab vestibule. Designed by Walter Crane (1845-1915) and Randolph Caldecott, this Moorish-style room was richly decorated with Persian tiles and a mosaic fountain. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) had two studios in his home: one with Pompeiian decorations for himself, the other, featuring German panelling, for the use of his wife, also a painter. In France, the painter Ernest Meissonier (1815-91) commissioned for himself a luxurious Neo-Renaissance palace in the Place Malherbes, Paris. If one of the strongest motivations of Romanticism was a yearning to be somewhere else, to return to the past through mythology and exoticism, the painting of the so-called pompiers and the artists of the Victorian age favoured precisely the opposite: antique, Oriental, historical, and allegorical subjects were all used metaphorically. The reality of the present was of more interest to them than the remote past. While Romanticism strained to grasp whatever was distant, unknowable, or elusive, academic painting was more direct, and made the subject matter much more accessible to the observer. This new attitude also led to a fresh definition of technique and style: the painting surface was smooth, almost polished, and every effort was made to achieve the greatest possible accuracy and precision. The pursuit of historical accuracy was sometimes taken to excessive lengths, as even the most minute of details had to be verified. Such paintings required months of laborious study: Meissonier struggled with The Battle of Friedland for 15 years, and Mariano Fortuny y Carbo (1838-74) spent his entire life planning The Battle of Tetuan. When Lord Leighton exhibited his Venus Disrobing for the Bath in 1867, the allegorical content and the pure, brilliant style of the painting silenced any criticism, mocking the forces of moral repression and indirectly celebrating the sensual world. Refinement of technique came to be understood as the very criterion of the work's morality. To the prospective buyer, it implied honesty and hard work, and pristine surfaces were associated with integrity and professional conscientiousness, which, in the eves of the bourgeoisie, guaranteed quality. Praise was given for the amount of time spent on an accurate rendering of an outline or for evenly balancing the brushstrokes. This was especially the case with some very large-scale works, such as Romans of the Decadence by Thomas Couture (1815—79). These immense canvases were much in vogue until the 1880s, when the artists themselves began discreetly to buy works produced by the Impressionists. A further sign of the gradual breakdown of the academic tradition was to be found in the arguments that took place between the writer and influential art critic John Ruskin and the American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). Whistler's atmospheric and impressionistic painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (1875) was judged by Ruskin to be like "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face". Whistler sued for libel and won his case in 1878 (he was awarded only a farthing in damages and no costs, leaving him bankrupt). In contrast with such innovative and controversial work, the highly finished painting of the pompier artists started to appear dated.
Meissonier died in 1891, and Paul Baudry in 1886, without having completed the cycle of Joan of Arc intended for the Paris Pantheon. The works of Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904) enjoyed continued success at salon and academy exhibitions throughout the latter half of the 19th century. In the less fashionable areas outside of the main cities, pompier an continued to attract an enthusiastic following.
 

 


Mariano Fortuny y Carbo
The Battle of Tetuan
 

 

 


Walter Crane
The Horses of Neptune
1892

   

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THE "POMPIERS"

 


William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The Birth of Venus
1879
Musee d'Orsay, Paris

This painting contains echoes of the work of Ingres

 

 

The French academic painters of the second half of the 19th century were described as pompiers - an ambiguous term that either signified the notion of ostentation and pomposity or referred generally to the nude figures of David, which were often depicted with plumed helmets (jokingly compared to the headgear of French firemen or pompiers). The pompiers took great pleasure in detail. Their delight in anatomical precision eliminated any possibility of uncertainty, as well as any hint of sentiment or drama. The portrayals of Venus in works by Cabanel and Bouguereau, for example, have no individual character; the female figures are invariably beautifully formed, soft and shapely, sensual yet maternal, all at the same time. They presented the ideal of woman as an embodiment of pleasure, elevated to aesthetic and even, by reason of the allegorical theme, to moral heights. These works reflect the decadent tastes of the Second Empire, with its penchant for prostitution, sensuality, and luxurious living.

 

Jean Andre Rixens
The Death of Cleopatra
1874

Rixens depicts a subject popular in painting since the 17th century
 

Jean Andre Rixens

Portrait de Jeanne Samary
1892
 

   

Jean Andre Rixens

Jean André Rixens was a historical and portrait painter, born in Saint-Gaudens in 1846.

In 1876 he made his debut at the Salon and went on to win a Third Class medal, a Second Class medal and, in 1889, a Gold Class medal at the Exposition Universelle.

By 1900, Rixens had become a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur and a Member of the National Fine Art Society. He died in 1924.

 
   

Jean Andre Rixens

Dejeuner Du Salon, Au Cafe La Cascade

 

 

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INSPIRED BY ANTIQUITY
 

 


At the beginning of the 19th century Lord Elgin, British ambassador to Turkey, brought back to England a large collection of sculptures (the Elgin Marbles) from the Parthenon. Later, in 1846, Sir Charles Newton organized an expedition to Asia Minor, to examine the mausoleum of Halicarnassus. This interest in antique sculpture and the admiration for classical ruins, were the inspiration for many of the works of the English painter  Lord Leighton. The paintings of ancient Rome by the Dutch-born, naturalized English artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema were also the product of exhaustive studies of classical art; during his visits to Naples. Pompeii, and Herculaneum. he assembled a large photographic archive of Roman monuments, sculptures, frescos, and sketches. In The Flautist's Rehearsal of 1861, Gustave Boulanger ( 1824—88) recorded what was in effect a festival, staged in the courtyard of Napoleon's palace which was suitably decorated with Pompeii-style frescos by Gerome. Present was the artist and writer Theophile Gautier, who encouraged members of the state-run Comedie Francaise to perform classical Greek and Roman dramatic works.

 


Gustave Boulanger
The Flute Concert
 

see collections:

Horace Vernet

Alexandre Cabanel

Adolphe William Bouguereau

Lord Frederic Leighton

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Thomas Couture

Paul Baudry

Charles Gleyre

John William Godward
 

 

 

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