Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919)
La bohémienne (Lise Tréhot), c. 1868
Oil on canvas
Height: 85 cm (33.5 in). Width: 59 cm (23.2 in).
Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) in Berlin
Lise Tréhot was Renoir’s companion from about 1866 to 1871. He painted her at least 23 times, including Lise with a parasol (below) , painted in 1867, Renoir’s first significant critical success which was admired at the Paris Salon in 1868. This success may have inspired Renoir to paint her again, this time in a more informal style.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, (1841–1919)
Lise with Umbrella, c. 1867
Oil on canvas
184 × 115 cm (72.4 × 45.3 in)
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
The painting takes inspiration from the Romantic paintings of Eugène Delacroix, particularly his 1823 painting Orphan Girl at the Cemetery (below) in which the subject’s bodice also hangs off on one shoulder, and also the Realist works of Gustave Courbet (below). It is an example of a transition in Renoir’s style from more formal studio painting to a looser Impressionist style. It was exhibited at the Salon de Paris in 1869 under the title En été, étude, with the word “étude” (French for “study”) added to deflect criticism of the loose, impressionistic style of the background, which was not as highly finished as a completed salon painting (or tableau), such as his Lise with a parasol. More La bohémienne
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, commonly known as Auguste Renoir (25 February 1841 – 3 December 1919), was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that “Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau.”
He was the father of actor Pierre Renoir (1885–1952), filmmaker Jean Renoir (1894–1979) and ceramic artist Claude Renoir (1901–69). He was the grandfather of the filmmaker Claude Renoir (1913–1993), son of Pierre. MorePierre-Auguste Renoir
Hugène Delacroix, (1798–1863)
Jeune orpheline au cimetière, c. 1824
Orphan Girl at the Cemetery
Height: 0.65 m (0.7 yd). Width: 0.55 m (0.6 yd).
Believed to be Delacroix’s preparatory work in oil for the his later Massacre at Chios, Orphan Girl at the Cemetery is nevertheless considered a masterpiece in its own right. An air of sorrow and fearfulness emanates from the picture, and tears well from the eyes of the grief-stricken girl as she looks apprehensively upward. The dimness of the sky and the abandoned laying-ground are consonant with her expression of melancholy. The girl’s body language and clothing evoke tragedy and vulnerability: the dress drooping down from her shoulder, a hand laid weakly on her thigh, the shadows above the nape of her neck, the darkness at her left side, and the cold and pale coloring of her attire.
For Delacroix, colors were the most important ingredients for his paintings. Because of this artistic taste and belief, he did not have the patience to create facsimiles of classical statues. He revered Peter Paul Rubens and the Venetians. More Jeune orpheline au cimetière
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863) was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school.
As a painter and muralist, Delacroix’s use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of colour profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. A fine lithographer, Delacroix illustrated various works of William Shakespeare, the Scottish author Walter Scott and the German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Delacroix took for his inspiration the art of Rubens and painters of the Venetian Renaissance, with an attendant emphasis on colour and movement rather than clarity of outline and carefully modelled form. Dramatic and romantic content characterized the central themes of his maturity, and led him not to the classical models of Greek and Roman art, but to travel in North Africa, in search of the exotic. Friend and spiritual heir to Théodore Géricault, Delacroix was also inspired by Lord Byron, with whom he shared a strong identification with the “forces of the sublime”, of nature in often violent action.
However, Delacroix was given to neither sentimentality nor bombast, and his Romanticism was that of an individualist. In the words of Baudelaire, “Delacroix was passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible.” MoreFerdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix
Gustave Courbet, (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
Jo, La Belle Irlandaise, c.1865–66
Jo, the Beautiful Irish Girl
Oil on canvas
:22 x 26 in. (55.9 x 66 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The “beautiful Irishwoman” depicted in this painting is Joanna Hiffernan (born 1842/43), mistress and model of the artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), and perhaps subsequently Courbet’s lover. Although dated 1866, the picture was likely undertaken in 1865, when the two men painted together at the French seaside resort of Trouville; Courbet wrote of “the beauty of a superb redhead whose portrait I have begun.” He would paint three repetitions with minor variations. More Joanna Hiffernan
Joe was romantically linked to the American painter and etcher James (Abbot) McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) (below) and French painter Gustave Courbet (1819-77) for whom she modelled and became mistress and muse. She is described as a fiery redhead, physically striking with an even more impressive personality. Whistler biographers and friends, the Pennels, wrote that ‘She was not only beautiful, she was intelligent, she was sympathetic, she gave Whistler the constant companionship he could not do without’. More Jo
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists. His independence set an example that was important to later artists, such as the Impressionists and the Cubists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th-century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work.
Courbet’s paintings of the late 1840s and early 1850s brought him his first recognition. They challenged convention by depicting unidealized peasants and workers, often on a grand scale traditionally reserved for paintings of religious or historical subjects. Courbet’s subsequent paintings were mostly of a less overtly political character: landscapes, seascapes, hunting scenes, nudes and still lifes. He was imprisoned for six months in 1871 for his involvement with the Paris Commune, and lived in exile in Switzerland from 1873 until his death. More Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, (1834–1903)
Symphony in White no 1: The White Girl
Portrait of Joanna Hiffernan, c. 1862
Oil on canvas
214.6 × 108 cm (84.5 × 42.5 in)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Whistler first met Hiffernan in 1860 while she was at a studio in Rathbone Place, according to Ionides, and she went on to have a six year liaison with him. She modelled for some of Whistler’s most famous paintings during this period. She was in France with Whistler during the summer of 1861, and in Paris during the winter of 1861-62 sitting for Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl (YMSM 38) at a studio in Boulevard des Batignolles. It is possible that this is where she met Courbet for whom she later modelled. More Joanna Hiffernan and James Abbott McNeill Whistler
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (July 10, 1834 – July 17, 1903) was an American artist, active during the American Gilded Age and based primarily in the United Kingdom. He was averse to sentimentality and moral allusion in painting, and was a leading proponent of the credo “art for art’s sake”. His famous signature for his paintings was in the shape of a stylized butterfly possessing a long stinger for a tail. The symbol was apt, for it combined both aspects of his personality—his art was characterized by a subtle delicacy, while his public persona was combative. Finding a parallel between painting and music, Whistler entitled many of his paintings “arrangements”, “harmonies”, and “nocturnes”, emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony. His most famous painting is “Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1” (1871), commonly known as Whistler’s Mother, the revered and oft-parodied portrait of motherhood. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time with his artistic theories and his friendships with leading artists and writers. More James Abbott McNeill Whistler
Jean-Marc Nattier (1685–1766)
Portrait of Éléonore Louise Le Gendre de Berville, (1740-1761) marquise du Hallay-Coëtquen, c. 1751
Oil on canvas
70,5 × 58 cm
Eléonore Louise Le Gendre de Berville was the daughter of Pierre-Hyacinthe Le Gendre, chevalier, marquis de Berville and Marie-Adélaïde Le Gendre de Maigremont, her first cousin. She was born in Paris on 3 February 1740 and married in 1761 with Emmanuel Agathe, Marquis du Hallay, Earl of Montmoron. She died on 11 December 1761 in Paris at the birth of her son Emmanuel. More Eléonore Louise Le Gendre de Berville
Jean-Marc Nattier (17 March 1685 – 7 November 1766), French painter, was born in Paris. He is noted for his portraits of the ladies of King Louis XV’s court in classical mythological attire.
He enrolled in the Royal Academy in 1703 and made a series of drawing of the Marie de Médicis painting cycle by Peter Paul Rubens in the Luxembourg Palace; the publication of engravings based on these drawings made Nattier famous. He had applied himself to copying pictures at the Luxembourg Gallery, he refused to proceed to the French Academy in Rome, though he had taken the first prize at the Paris Academy at the age of fifteen. In 1715 he went to Amsterdam, where Peter the Great was then staying, and painted portraits of the tsar and the empress Catherine, but declined an offer to go to Russia.
Nattier aspired to be a history painter. Between 1715 and 1720 he devoted himself to compositions like the “Battle of Pultawa”, which he painted for Peter the Great, and the “Petrification of Phineus and of his Companions”, which led to his election to the Academy. More Jean-Marc Nattier
Jean-Marc Nattier, (1685–1766)
Madame de Pompadour (1722–1764), c. 1746
mistress of Louis XV, represented as Diana the Huntress
Oil on canvas
102 × 82 cm (40.2 × 32.3 in)
Palace of Versailles
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour (French: [pɔ̃.pa.duːʁ]; 29 December 1721 – 15 April 1764), was a member of the French court and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to 1751, when she then became and remained a close friend and confidante to the king until her death. She took charge of the king’s schedule and was a valued aide and advisor, despite her frail health and many political enemies. She secured titles of nobility for herself and her relatives, and built a network of clients and supporters. She was particularly careful not to alienate the Queen, Marie Leszczyńska. On February 8, 1756, the Marquise de Pompadour was named as the thirteenth lady in waiting to the queen, a position considered the most prestigious at the court, which accorded her with honors. She was a major patron of architecture and decorative arts, such as porcelain. She was a patron of the philosophes of the Enlightenment, including Voltaire. Hostile critics at the time generally tarred her as a malevolent political influence, but historians are more favorable, emphasizing her successes as a patron of the arts and a champion of French pride. More Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour,
Jules Bastien-Lepage, (1848–1884)
Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), c. 1879
Oil on canvas
82.042 x 109.728 cm
Beaux-Arts museum, Nancy
Sarah Bernhardt (French: 22 October 1844 – 26 March 1923) was a French stage and early film actress. She was referred to as “the most famous actress the world has ever known”, and is regarded as one of the finest actors of all time. Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of France in the 1870s, at the beginning of the Belle Epoque period, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas. She developed a reputation as a sublime dramatic actress and tragedienne, earning the nickname “The Divine Sarah”. In her later career she starred in some of the earliest films ever produced. More Sarah Bernhardt
Jules Bastien-Lepage (1 November 1848 – 10 December 1884) was a French painter closely associated with the beginning of naturalism, an artistic style that emerged from the later phase of the Realist movement. He was born in the village of Damvillers, Meuse, and spent his childhood there. Bastien took an early liking to drawing, and his parents fostered his creativity by buying prints of paintings for him to copy.
Jules’s first formal training was at Verdun, and prompted by a love of art he went to Paris in 1867, where he was admitted to the École des Beaux-arts, working under Cabanel. He was awarded first place for drawing but spent most of his time working alone, only occasionally appearing in class. During the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Bastien fought and was wounded. After the war, he returned home to paint the villagers and recover from his wound. In 1873 he painted his grandfather in the garden, a work that would bring the artist his first success at the Paris Salon.
His initial success was confirmed in 1875 by the First Communion, a picture of a little girl minutely worked up. The last picture, Haymaking (Les Foins), now in the Musée d’Orsay, was widely praised by critics and the public alike. It secured his status as one of the first painters in the Naturalist school.
Between 1880 and 1883 he traveled in Italy. The artist, long ailing, had tried in vain to re-establish his health in Algiers. He died in Paris in 1884, when planning a new series of rural subjects. More Jules Bastien-Lepage
Nicolas de Largillière
Émilie du Châtelet, 18th century
Oil on canvas
One of the rare paintings of Emilie where she is not looking directly out at the artist, she looks skyward with her familiar compass in one hand and the other on top of the world; denoting her intellectual focus
Gabrielle-Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet, (born Dec. 17, 1706, Paris, France—died Sept. 10, 1749, Lunéville), French mathematician and physicist who was the mistress of Voltaire.
She was married at 19 to the Marquis Florent du Châtelet, governor of Semur-en-Auxois, with whom she had three children. The marquis then took up a military career and thereafter saw his wife only infrequently. Mme du Châtelet returned to Paris and its dazzling social life in 1730 and had several lovers before entering into an affair and intellectual alliance with Voltaire in 1733. She was able to extricate the intemperate Voltaire from many personal and political difficulties. To avoid an arrest warrant, Voltaire left Paris in June of that year, taking refuge in Mme du Châtelet’s château at Cirey in Champagne. In this haven they pursued their writing and philosophical and scientific discussions. In 1738 Mme du Châtelet and Voltaire competed independently for a prize offered by the Academy of Sciences for an essay on the nature of fire. Although the prize was won by the German mathematician Leonhard Euler, Mme du Châtelet’s Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu was published in 1744 at the Academy’s expense. She wrote several other scientific treatises and many posthumously published works on philosophy and religion.
Voltaire and Mme du Châtelet continued to live together even after she began an affair with the poet Jean-François de Saint-Lambert; and when she died in childbirth at the court of Stanislas Leszczyński, Duke of Lorraine, these men and her husband were with her. From 1745 until her death she had worked unceasingly on the translation of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica. It was published in part, with a preface by Voltaire and under the direction of the French mathematician Alexis-Claude Clairaut, in 1756. The entire work appeared in 1759 and was for many years the only French translation of the Principia.
The many hundreds of letters that passed between Mme du Châtelet and Voltaire are assumed to have been destroyed, but some were included in Voltaire’s Correspondance, 24 vol. (1953–57). More Émilie du Châtelet
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