French Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions



Figure 1.--Héloïse Leloir painted "costumes de ville pour garçons et filles ?aquarellé" which show fashionable boys and girls clothing for affluent France families. The portrait was painted in 1864.

France has has one of the worlds's greatest artistic heritages. Some of the world's most renowned artists were French. This is particularly true of the 19th century. France is also a renowned center for fashion. Thus French art is an extremely valuable orce for fashion historians. Some of the most fascinating 19th century images come from France, especially the late 19th century impressionists. Thus there are many wonderful portraits providing valuablr information on the history of fashion.

Alleon, Maurice Paul (France, late 19th century)

Here we have a charming pastel portrait of a boy in a sailor outfit signed M. Alleon. Maurice Paul Alleon was a French School portraitist born in Paris in the second half of the 19th Century. He is listed in Benezit (Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs) where details of his work appear. The portrait provides a useful insight into the colors used in sailor suits.

Bashkirtseff, Marie (France/Ukraine, 1858-1884)

Here we have an interesting painting, a reproduction of which is shown, at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. It's a painting by the famous Ukrainian-French painter, Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884). The painting is entitled "A Meeting" (1884) and shows a group of boys congregating in a playground somewhere in the Paris suburbs. It is particularly interesting because it depicts French schoolwear in the late 19th century.

Besnard, Albert (France, 1849-1934)

Albert was born in Paris (1849). He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts with with Jean Bremon. His early work was influenced by Alexandre Cabanel. He was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1874 for the stunning work, the "Death of Timophanes" (1874). He generally followed the coservative academic tradition (until approximately 1880). At which time his work began to show increasing influence from the impressionists. This can be seen in his experimentation with both colur and light. He worked in many mediums and formats with considerable success. He worked with watercolor, pastel, oil and etching. Much of his work was portraiture, landscape and decoration. He did a charming portrait of his familybwith five children (1890). The boys were all dressed in black. We are not sure how common that was. His little girl has a bright red jacket.

Blanche, Jacques Émile (France, 1861-1942)

Jacques Émile Blanche (1861-1942) was a well-regarded French painter with a lengthy career. He was born in Paris. He grew up in Passy. He was raised in a house once belonging to the Princesse de Lamballe. It still retained the atmosphere of 18th century elegance and certainly influenced his adult taste and work. Art was an important topic of convrsation in his boyhood home. The cosmopolitan atmpsphere added to his education. Henri Gervex offered some instruction, but Blanche was a largely self-taught artist. His reputation was primarily due to his portrait work and he has left us some wonderful images of refined, elegant French and English families during the late-19th and early 20th centuries. One of his best-regarded works is a portrait of Proust. There is also a wonderful image of the Norwegian artist Frits Thaulow surrounded by his family.

Boilly, Louis Leopold (France, 1761-1845)

French genre and portrait painter, born at La Russee. He was much influenced by the Dutch genre painters. Notable among the incredible 5,000 paintaings and drawing credited to him is The Arrival of the Diligence (Louvre, 1803). Some of his paintings and real life scenes provide interesting glimpses of French boys' fashions of his time.

Bosse, Abraham (France, 1602-76)

Bosse is the most noted French engraver of the 17th century. His body of work is astonishing, more than 1,500 prints, mostly genre pieces. They offer wonderful glimpses into 17th century life. Many children are depicted in the family scenes providing a great deal of detail on the clothinbg of 17th century French children. Quite a number of his prints are Biblical pieces, but Bosse has depicted them in contemprary 17th cenbtury dress. Bosse was a noted figure in the French artistic community. He was a leading figure at the Académie Royale beginning with its foundation in 1648. Bosse taught perspective. He was eventually expelled in a controversy with Le Brun in 1661. He wrote many books on engraving, painting, perspective, and architecture. He painted a few pieces, but is primarily known for his engravings.

Bouguereau, William-Adolphe (France, 1825-1905)

William-Adolphe Bouguereau was born in La Rochelle in 1825. We do not know anything about his childhood at this time. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was awarded the Prix de Rome (1850). He is noted for very realistic genre paintings and mythological themes. He was a fixture at the annual exhibitions of the Paris Salon. As realistic art went out of favor his work declined in popularity. This wasincreasingly the case after the turn of the 20h century, He criticized the Impressionists his entire life. The art world in recent years has begun to reappraise his work. He was amazingly prolific, prouducing an almost unbelievable 826 paintings.

(Le) Brun, Charles (France, 1619- )

Le Brun is an important, but not a great artist. He dictated art stnandards and conventions to the rein of Louis XIV. Le Brun studied art in Italy. After returning to Paris he establish a reputation as a leading artist and he was raised to the nobility in 1662 and given the title of "Premier Peintre du roi". He was appointed director of the Gobelins factory in 1663. More importantly for French art, he was also appointed the director of the reorganized Académie. Le Brun proceeded in making the Académie an instrument for imposing his views and judgements onto French artists. He codified a system of art and discouraged innovation and experiment. Le Brun is one opf the reasons that French art in the 17th century compares adversely to that of neighboring countries. One portrait is of special interest to HBC as it shows King Louis XIV and the pages of the royal court.

Caillibotte, Gustave (France, 1848-94)

Gustave Caillibotte was one of the Impressionist painters contempoary with Monet and Renoir. While associated with the impressionists, he retained a more realistic style than most of the other imressionists. Most of the infividuals in his paintings were adults nd he left some notable street scenes of Paris in the 1870s and 80s. Caillibotte was also had an interest in photography and its artistic potential. There is a beautiful Renoir portrait entitled the 'Children of Martial Caillebotte'. Caillibotte work as an artist declined at an early age, but becuse of an inheriance, he became an importsnt patron and collector. He bought a propery at Petit-Gennevilliers on the Seine and took up yacht racing. He was close to Renoir who would stay with him. They discussed art, politics, literature, philosophy, and other issues of the day. Caillibotte never married. He spent a great deal of time with his brother Martial and his family. Martial was Gustave's younger brother. He had two children, a boy Jean and a younger sister Genieve. So the portrait shows -- on the left, the elder child, Jean, and the younger child on the right - Genieve.

Canon, Jean Louis (France, 1809-92)

HBC has never heard of this French artist. An e-Bay seller tells us that he is listed: Benezet Thieme-Becker. We can not find any internet sites which mention him. We note one portrait of a boy in period clothing. We know of no similar portraits in contemporaty clothing.

Carolus-Duran (France, 1837-1917)

Carolus-Duran was the name French painter Charles Auguste Émile Durand used. He was born at Lille (1837). As a boy he studied at the Lille Academy. He did his professional studies at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He traveled to Italy and Spain to study the work of Renaisance masters. He was especially interested in Velázquez. His first real success was "Murdered" ("The Assassination"> (1866). He was essentially a portrait painter. He operated one of the most important ateliers in Paris. Some very important future French artists worked their. He helped found the National Society of French Art (Société Nationale des Beaux Arts) (1890). This was the year he painted a maserful portrait of Princess Marguerite de Broglie and her Cousin Robert.

Carrier-Belleuse, Pierre (1851-1932)

Pierre Carrier-Belleuse was a Parisian painter, son of a famour scuptor Albert Ernest Belleuse. His portfolio includes a lot of women. As a result his work provides a marvelous record of women's clothing in the late-19th and early-20th century. He liked to paint balet dancers. Some of the most wonderful balet images along with Degas were created by Carrier-Belleuse. He was a master in pastels, medium popular with the Impressionists. He also did some charming genre works as well as a few landscapes, historical subjects and portrais. He received an honorable mention for his work in 1887 and a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. He did not often paint children. We note only one portrait of a boy. We do not know his identity, byut the portrait was painted in 1913. It is unusual in two respects. First, not only is it the only child portrait by Belleuse that we can find. Second, the sailor blouse had short gathered sleeves. This is something we do not see in the photographic record.

Cezanne, Paul (France, 1839-1906)

Paul Cezane is considered by many to be the father of 20th Century art. He apparently was a close boyhood friend of the novelist Emil Zola. The boys bathed nude in the river near their home in Aix-en Provence. Zola supported Cezanne when his early career achieved little critical acclaim. Later Cezanne refused to speak with him because of how he thought he was depicted in one of Zola's novels. Many believe that Cezanne's many paintings of bathers were influenced by his boyhood relationship with Zola.

Chardin, Jean Simeon (France, 1699-1779)

Chardin was born into a humble Paris family. His farher encouraged him to pursue painting. He was eventually awarded a pension by King Louis XV. He is perhaps best known for his still lifes, but painted some wonderful, if sentimental, studies of children and families.

Courbet, Gustav (France, 1819-77)

Courbet came from a prosperous family. He emerged as an angry young man of his era critical of the restored monarchy. His ambition was to paint peasant and rural life and greatly admired Millet, but he persued many other themes.

David, Jacques-Louis (France, 1748-1825)

David was a noted neoclassicist artist who painted huge, heroic historical sunjects. His subjects were both classical as well as contemprary Revolutionary and Naopelonic themes. He was propent of the Revolution and voted for the execultion of Louis XVI. One of his masterpieces is the "Death of Marat". He almost lost his head in the Terror. The clasical theme, "The Sabine Women" was done in honor of his wife who saved him. He caught the eye of Napoleon and masterpieces of Napoleon crossing the Alps and the Emperor's coromation are further masterpieves of French neoclassicism. After the fall of Napoleon he lived in exile in France, He did few portraits, but his rendeing of Louis XVII is perhaps the best image of the boy--although we are unsure about the accuracy.

Degas, Edgar (France, 1834-1917)

Edgar Degas was acknowledged as the master of drawing the human figure in motion. His work is characterized by innovative composition, skillful drawing, and perceptive analysis of movement made him one of the masters of modern art in the late 19th century. He was profoundly influenced by Japanese art. Degas worked in many mediums, preferring pastel to all others. He is perhaps best known for his paintings, drawings, and bronzes of ballerinas and race horses-both of which required a mastery of handling motion.

Delacroix, Eugene (France, 1798-1863)

Eugene Delacroix is one of the most recognizable French artists. He is difficult, however, to place in a specudic school of art. Baudelaire, a noted art expert wrote, "The last of the great artists of the Renaissance and the first modern". He is generally comsidered the most important French Romantic painters. He is noted for expressive brushstrokes and his use of color. Art historians believe he was a majoe influence on the Impressionists. He is noted for his dramatic historical and mythological scenes. He was a child of the Revolution. After the restoration of the Bourbons (1814) he could not paint scenes of the Revolution. He did paint with passion about the Greek struggle for independence against the Ottomans. The peoople of Paris knew how to get rid of unwanted kings. A popular 1830 Parisian insurection deposed Charles and his reactionary regime. A popular assembly elected a new liberal king, Louis Phillipe, the former Duke of Orleans. Now Delacroix could express his passions and the result was his masterpiece--"Liberty Leading the People" (1830). It is one of the best known paintings of history. It shows Parisians who have taken up arms, marching forward against tyranny under the tricolor banner of the Revolution. Louis-Philippe's government purchased the painting, but thought it to inflamatory to display. Children occassionaly appear in Delacroix's canvasses. He also did portraits, but I do not know of any children he painted.

Duran, Carolus (France, 1837-1917)

Charles Auguste Émile Durand took the name Carolus-Duran as it seemed more stylish for his high spciety clientele. Carolus-Duran was born in Lille (1837). He studied at the provincial Lille Academy and then at then at the the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Like other painters, he traveled to Italy to study the great msters (1861). He also went to Spain where he ws memerized with Velázquez. The dramatic "Murdered/Assassination" was one of his first real (1866). Most of his work is portraits. He is primarily renmembered for his beautuifully rendered, stilized portraits of the members of the high society duruing the French Third Republic. This included a few children and family groupings. He was called “The Prince of Color” by another Third Republic artist Toulouse-Lautrec. His portraits have been described as a mixture of French high-society and Spanish realism. His studio was one of the most popular in Paris and there he trained some of the most important rising artists of the next generation, among them the American John Singer Sargent. Sargent followed his mentor Duran in painting high scociety portraits and most believe surpassed him. The best portrait of Duran is painted by Sargent. Duran was one of the most respected academic artists of the era, but as this was also the period in which impressionism rose, he is not as well known today as he was in France during his life time. He painted his clients in aealistic, albeit styilized way. Informally he experimented more. He was elected a commander of the Legion of Honour (1889). He helped created the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts (1890). He entered the Académie des Beaux-Arts (1904).

(The) Dwarf (France, 17th century)

"The Dwarf" or Le Nain is the name used by thre French brothers. For dtails see "(Le) Nain".

Gauguin, (Eugene Henri) Paul (France, 1848-1903)

Gauguin was one of the foremost painters of the Post-impressionist movement. He was born in Paris. His father was a journalist from Orleans. His mother was partly Peruvian. He had a cosmopolitan childhood, growing up in Lima, Orleand, and Paris. He was a seaman, served in the French Navy during the Franco-Prussian War, and worked as a stock broaker and successful back agent. He did not begin to paint until 1873 after his mairrage. He exibited his first work in 1876 and begun to revolutionize modern art. I only know one boy he painted, the son of a friend, but it is a wonderful piece.

Gérard, François-Pascal-Simon (France, 1770-1837)

French painter François-Pascal-Simon Gérard was born and raised in Rome until approaching his teen years. There he was exposed to the great works of the Itlian Renaissance which influenced his work. Here is classified as a Neoclassical artist. He returned to Paris (around 1782). He studied as a teenager under several important artists, including sculptor Augustin Pajou and painter Jacques-Louis David. David emoloyed him as an assistant in the tumultuous times of Revolutionary France (1791). Gérard earned money by illustrating folio editions of literature. Miniature painter Jean-Baptiste Isabey helped him. He commissioned the portrait that launched Gérard's reputation portraitist with Parisian society (1796). His portraits were admired for their naturalism and superb characterizations. Gérard's portraits soon came to Emperor Napoleon's attention. And his court favor rivaling even David. He helped mentor Marie-Éléonore Godefroid who also gained court favor. You can see David's influence in his work, but one art historial sees a more dream-like quality. He has provided us withwonderful images from the Napoleonic and Restoration eras, including family images. Gérard was essentally apolitical and found favor in the different political regimes which convulsed France. He thus flawlessly pursued his career during despite the momentous changes. He was made a baron by King Louis XVIII and is commonly referred to as Baron Gérard. He is still regarded as one of he great painters of the age. One art historiann quips, "What matter that he is first painter to the king? He is the king of first painters."

Godefroid, Marie-Éléonore (France, 1778-1849)

Marie-Éléonore Godefroid (1778-49), was a French portrait painter duting a fasination period in Frenh history. the Napoleonic Era and Bourbon restoration. She bridged the two eras a painted some important peronages. This was rare at a time that few women coud become artists. And for HBC's purpses, some of the portraits included children. Marie-Éléonore was the daughter of the painter Ferdinand-Joseph Godefroid and he saw her talent and encouraged it. As a teenager she becae a professor of arts and music at the institute of Saint-Germain de Jeanne Campan. But quickly decded to pursue a career as an artists. She trained in studio of Baron Gérard and studied under Isabey where she acquied some proficency in different mediums. She she exhibited portraits at the Louvre (beginning about 1800). One of her best known is the full-length portrait of the children of Marshal Ney (1809). She also did a portrait of the children of the Duke of Rovigo and Queen Hortense (1812). She fautlessly made the transition to the Bourbon restoration, presumavly a measureof her talent. She did a portrait of the children of the Duke of Orleans (1819). Other important commissions followed. In addition to her on paintings, she did estoration and copy work for the Government.

Greuze, Jean-Baptiste (France, 1725-1805)

Jean Baptiste Greuze was a French genre and portrait painter. Greuze was an eminent portraitist. Among his most famous portraits are those of the Dauphin, the ilfated son of King Louis XVI, Robespierre, Napoleon, as well as numerous political and artistic figures. Few portraists painted such a diverse list of subjects. Some of his most striking portraits are the heads of anonamous children and young women.

Hersent, Louis (France, 1977-1860)

French artist and printmaker Louis Hersent painted some wonderful portraits in the early and mid-19th century, including some charming portraits of children. Louis had parents who supported his youthful interest in art. He was an academic painter and is best known for his historical and classical depictions. His mixed genre paintins, neither history nor daily life, was popular with the new of aristocracy of Napoleon's First Empire.

Hunert, F.

We do not yet know anything anout French artist F. Hunert. We do note an egraving he exhibited in 1900. It is of Alex and Elsa Grand. I'm not sure if he painted the actual portait.

Lauchert, Richard (France, 1823-68)

Lauchret was reportedly born in Sigmaringen. The Crown Princess Victoria arranged that Richard Lauchert, who had also studied in Munich and whose work at various German courts had included portraits of the her uncle, Prince Albert's elder brother and his wife, should paint the beautiful young Princess of Wales, her brother Bertie's wife. This was the first in a set of portraits, to hang at Windsor, of the Queen's daughters-in-law. Lauchert also initiated, with his portrait of the Crown Princess's eldest daughter, the series of portraits of the Queen's grandchildren, a series in which a number of German painters were to be employed. He maried Amalie Adelheid v.Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (1821-1902). She probably helped him make contacts with the royals. that is probably how he got his assignments with the royals.

Leloir, ?éloïse (France, 1820-83)

?éloïse Leloir painted "costumes de ville pour garçons et filles ?aquarellé" which show fashionable boys and girls clothing for affluent France families. The portrait was painted in 1864.

Manet, Edouard (France, 1832-83)

Manet was a noted French painter and printmaker. In his career he made the transition from the realism to Impressionism. He establish new precedents in his choice of subjects, preferring contemporary events. He exhibited in 1863 at the Salon des Refusés, arousing the hostility of critics steeped in realism, but was aplauded by the young painters who were later to be many of the great Impressionists. Manet's body of work is quite small, but it included some masterpieces, one of which was "The Fifer"--a boy fifer. It was rejected by the Salon, but is today recognized as a great work. Shockingly Manet provided us with no background.

Monet, Claude (France, 1840-1926)

Monet is one of the greatest French painters, perhaps the best known of all the French painters. He helped found the impressionist movement. One of his paintings, "Impression: Sunrise" led to the name of one of the most important artistic movements in history--impressionism. Claude grew up in the seaport of Le Havre. His talent for caricature was noted as a boy. Boudin mentired him and redirected his interest toward landscape and paining outdoors. Monet studied in Paris at the Atelier (Studio) Suisse where he formed a friendship with Pissarro (1859). Mobet did 2 years of compulsory military service in Algiers. After returning to Le Havre and met Jongkind who he wouls later say helped educate his eye. Next he worked in Gleyre's Paris studio (1862). There he met Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille--the core of the Impressionist group. At the time that Monet was developing as a artist, the new medium of photography was providing way of very accurately capturing detail. Monet in many ways was at the forefront of the artistic response. Monet would capture impression and color in a way that photography st the time could not. The result was some of the most beautiful works of art ever painted. Monet from the beginning was devoted to painting outdoors, especially in his gardem. And he was very careful about the lighting conditions as he worked on his paintings. Some of the best loved impressionist paintings were painted there and not all by Monet. His wife Camille and son Jean Monetat figured in some of them.

Mathey, Paul (Paris, 1844-1929)

Paul Mathey studied art in Paris under several noted artists, including Leon Cogniet, Pils, Mazerolle and Oury. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon (1868). Mathey was a painter, etcher and designer. Many painters learned etching beccause etchings (Engravings) were needed to publish art images, but etching was an art form in itself and Mathey was very accomplished at it. He worked in many different formats, including landscapes, still lifes, figure studies, and portraits. He did many important portraits of fellow artists as well as composers. We note a charming pinterior with ihis son Jacques (1883- ) and his wife Mme. Fermande Mathey (1857-1941). Mathey was awarded a medals by the Salon (1876). He was awarded a second medal (1885). He won the prestigious Gold Medal at the Exposition Universalle (1889) . The French Government awarded him the chevalier de la Legion d'honneur (1889).

(Le) Nain (France, 17th century)

Le Nain (the Dwarf) is the name used by three French brothers: Antoine (about 1588-1648), Louis (about 1593-1648) and Mathieu (about 1607-77). They began working in Paris during 1629. The brothers became members of the l'Académie Royale of painting and sculpture. This was the year the Academy was founded and the tear that Antoine and Louis died. They form part [? aux côtés de Georges de la Tour] of the group of painters of the r?alit?, strongly influenced by reality "clair-obscur" of Caravage. The brothers formed an association and signed without their first (Christian) which makes it rather difficult to attribute their works to one of the three brothers.

Pissarro, Camille (France, 1830-1902)

Pissarro was the son of a Sephardic Jewosh father and Dominican mother and grew up in the Caribbean, but he studied and painted in France. He was one of the most productive of the impressionists. Like Renoir he painted several studies if children. He had a four sons and one daughter, who died at an early age. Several painting of her exist. The most famous one shows her in a smock with short pants, an unusual costume of a girl. All of the boys wore long hair when they were young. The youngest boy until he was 11 or 12. Some the books on Passario contain photographs of his children. At least one of these photos shows a fairly large boy at play with the ends of his hair rolled up on curlers.


Figure 5.--Jean was a model for this painting. He was age 6-7. Notice his long hair is uncurled in the French style. He wears a sailor suit with knickers. He is in the park playing with his hoop.

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste (France, 1841-1919)

Renoir's predilection towards gay, light-hearted themes was influenced by the great Rococco masters. Renoir endured much hardship early in his career, but he began to achieve success as a portraitist in the late 1870s and was freed from financial worries after the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel began buying his work regularly in 1881. These portraits include several family portraits illustrating children's clothes. Renoir is perhaps the best-loved of all the Impressionists, for his subjects---pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenes, above all lovely women---have instant appeal, and he communicated the joy he took in them with great directness. `Why shouldn't art be pretty?', he said, `There are enough unpleasant things in the world.' He delighted in painting his sons. Most of those paintings were executed when the boys were younger and wearing dresses and smocks or fancy Fauntleroy suits. They provide a good idea of French boys clothes in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. One of his sons, who was a particularly favorite subject was the celebrated film director Jean Renoir (1894-1979), who wrote a lively and touching biography (Renoir, My Father) in 1962.

Sabatté, Fernand (France, 1874-1940)

Fernand Sabatté was born in Aiguillon (Lot-et-Garonne) (1874). His parents separated when he was about 6 years old. His mother took him to Bordeaux where he grew up. After following the course of the École des Beaux-Arts, he joined the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1893). Sabatté worked in the studio of Gustave Moreau. He won the Grand Prix de Rome for his painting 'Un Spartiate et l'Ilote' meaning 'A Spartan and Helot'. We note a detail of that paonting, depicting a Spartan father and his sons. He did a number of worls on Grece, but unlike several othger period artists focused more on Sparta than Athens. He was mobilized during World war I and was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor for bravery. He taught painting at the École des Beaux-Arts de Lille (1926-29) and then the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. One of his most talented students was Louise Cottin wwho won a second prize of Rome (1934). Sabatté founded the bimonthly magazine Art (1929). He entered the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institut de France (1935). He wa killed by a German Army truck during the World war II occuoation of France (1940). We suspect that he was deying the Germans.

Saint-Mémin, Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de (France, 1770-1852)

Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin (1770–1852) was a French portraitist and museum director, but during his exteded stay in America created important oportrait of the early leaders of the Americn Republic. His parents were Benigne Charles Fevret and Victoire Marie de Motmans. He was educated at Ecole Militaire, Paris and graduated in 1785. He served in the French Guard just before the Revolution. Saint-Memin and his family first travelled to Switzerland and then to New York City (1793). They planned to travel to Santo Domingo (Haiti) 'to prevent the sequestration of the lands of his creole mother'. While in New York news arrived of the slave revolt making it imposible to travel there. Saint-Mémin's education was military. While in New York, needing to make a living, he taught himself to work portraits. He quickly became one of the foremost portrait engraver in the United States (late 18th and early-19th century). Perhaps because of his lack of artitistic training, he turned to the physiognotrace technique, invented by Gilles-Louis Chretien (1786). .He created portraits from life of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others. With the fall of Napoleon, he returned to France (1814). He became the director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (1817). He died in Dijon (1852).

Tissot, James Jacques Joseph (France/England, 1836-1902)

This French painter fled France after the French Commune in 1871 and lived and worked in England where he was widly popular. Modern critics consider his work insipid and sugary. Sugary it is, but it is also technically skilled and provides us marvelosly detailed windows into the life of the Victorian family--however idealized. His images provide fascinating glimes on the children appearing in all the static studio shots of the late 19th Century.

Vigee le Brun, Elizabeth (France, 1755-1842)

Elisabeth Vigee le Brun was notable for the images she painted of the French royal family, especially Marie Antoinettee and her children. The best portraits of the royal children were done by le Brun. After the Revolution she went into exile, living in Italy and Austria and finally Russia where she was protected by the Emperess Catherine II. She wrote a fascinatin memoir which is available online.

Vuillard, Édouard (France, 1868-1940)

Édouard Vuillard had a long professional career. His work covered the fin-de-siècle of the 19th century and the first 4 decades of the 20th century. He was a prolific artist, completing over 230 works. He has been described as a "quintessentially Parisian artist". His earlist rather formal academic studues gave way to the innovative Nabis paintings done during the the 1890s. These are the paintings for which he is best known and deal primarily with the avant-garde theatre. Less well known are his light-filled landscapes and several elegant portraits done late in life. We note his paintings in parks and other outdoor scenxes giving charming view of Parisain life. Children often figure in these scenes.

Weerts, Jean-Joseph (France, 1847-1927)

Jean-Joseph Weerts was born in Roubaix (Nord) (1847). He was a pupil of Isidore Pils and Alexandre Cabanel at the Beaux-Arts, Paris. He made his debut at the Salon de Paris early in his career (1869). Much of his better known works are historical works focusing on the Revolution. Weerts was elected a member of the Société des Artistes Français (1883), but later to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (1892). He was made a Commandeur of the Légion d'honneur. France has a history of art used for military propaganda. David during the Revolution and Napoleonic period is perhaps the greatest example. There was a long period after the Napoleomic Wars in which this genre was eclipsed. This changed with the military disaster France experienced in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) . One of the most important paintings that came out of the new burst of nationalism and military spirit was Weerts "The "Death of Barra" (1883). Joseph Barra (1779-93) was a boy hero of the French Revolution. Joseph's death was turned into a propaganda moment by Robespierre. As Tribune, he memorialized Joseph before the Convention, proclaiming that "only the French have thirteen-year-old heroes". He ordered Joseph's remains transferred to the Panthéon. There was a boy named Joseph Bvarra who fought for the Republic. It is unknown, however, to what extent Joseph's story is fact or myth.

Unknown French Artists

We have acquired some images of what we believe to be French paintings, but they are not signed works. Several provide interesting glimes into French boys' clothing even though the artist can not be identified. Identified paintings are most useful and they can often be dated. These unidentified paintings, however, can still be very useful.








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Created: July 10, 2003
Last updated: 7:42 PM 4/4/2017