Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Émile Friant (1888)

Émile Friant: Idyll on a Bridge (Les Amoureux) 
Émile Friant: Spring
Émile Friant: The Rowers of the Meurthe

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Dream (1888)

Edouard Detaille: The Dream

Detaille, like his friend de Neuville, specialised in military painting, celebrating the "glorious vanquished" of 1870-1871. Yet this large painting, presented at the 1888 Salon, is a direct political statement. The young conscripts manoeuvring, probably in Champaign, are dreaming of future revenge. This was the implicit program of the "brave general" Boulanger, whose popularity was then at a high point. The Boulangistes federated all the discontents and disappointments caused by the first decade of republican rule. Likewise, Detaille's soldiers associate reminiscences of the glorious French past : the victorious soldiers of the Revolution and Empire have the lion's share, but neither are neglected their comrades of the Restoration, whose white flag also carried the day in the Trocadero or Algiers, nor the "brave people" of Reichshoffen, under a hail of bullets, or the survivors of Gravelotte, gloriously vanquished. The Boulangiste stance of the painting was soon forgotten. The modern spectator finds in this great heroic painting a celebration of the army, the "holy ark" of the country.

Detaille was awarded a medal and his painting was bought by the state and presented at the 1889 World Fair. All republicans acclaimed this exaltation of the national army at a time when the Republic was instituting military service for all young citizens (law passed July 15, 1889). [Musée d’Orsay]

Monday, June 19, 2017

Abduction (1888)

Charles Edouard Edmond Delort: Abduction

A pupil of Gleyre and Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Charles Delort debuted at the Salon in 1864. He accompanied Gérôme to Egypt and returned to France via the Maghreb. The scenes of Algerian life inspired many of his artworks. He also enjoyed painting pastiches inspired by the eighteenth century, a vein displayed in the current painting, showing young women about to be sold as slaves to the port of Algiers. In the rear of the scene, the ladies’ husbands are seen as prisoners, still dressed in their costumes of the eighteenth century.

The painting was sold in 1890 with the following description: "Around 1750, noble families of Venice undertook a trip to the Aegean. Their ship was captured by Algerian pirates. Women and girls were sold as slaves. They are grouped on the quay of the port. A rich Mohammedan, wearing gold embroidered red velvet, arm in arm with a eunuch, examines them." [Sotheby’s]