Théodore Chassériau

Last updated
Théodore Chassériau
Chasseriau-Redingote.jpg
A self-portrait of Chassériau painted at the age of 16
Born(1819-09-20)September 20, 1819
DiedOctober 8, 1856(1856-10-08) (aged 37)
Nationality French
Education Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Movement Romanticism; Orientalist

Théodore Chassériau (September 20, 1819 – October 8, 1856) was a Dominican-born French Romantic painter noted for his portraits, historical and religious paintings, allegorical murals, and Orientalist images inspired by his travels to Algeria. Early in his career he painted in a Neoclassical style close to that of his teacher Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, but in his later works he was strongly influenced by the Romantic style of Eugène Delacroix. He was a prolific draftsman, and made a suite of prints to illustrate Shakespeare's Othello .

Contents

Life and work

The Toilette of Esther, 1841, oil on canvas, 45.5 x 35.5 cm, Paris, Louvre Esther.jpg
The Toilette of Esther , 1841, oil on canvas, 45.5 x 35.5 cm, Paris, Louvre

Chassériau was born in El Limón, Samaná, in the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). [1] His father Benoît Chassériau was a French adventurer who had arrived in Santo Domingo in 1802 to take an administrative position in what was until 1808 a French colony. [2] Theodore's mother, Maria Magdalena Couret de la Blagniére, was the daughter of a mulatto landowner born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). In December 1820 the family left Santo Domingo for Paris, where the young Chassériau soon showed precocious drawing skill. He was accepted into the studio of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1830, at the age of eleven, and became the favorite pupil of the great classicist, who regarded him as his truest disciple. [3] (An account that may be apocryphal has Ingres declaring "Come, gentlemen, come see, this child will be the Napoleon of painting.") [4]

After Ingres left Paris in 1834 to become director of the French Academy in Rome, Chassériau fell under the influence of Eugène Delacroix, whose brand of painterly colorism was anathema to Ingres. Chassériau's art has often been characterized as an attempt to reconcile the classicism of Ingres with the romanticism of Delacroix. [5] He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1836, and was awarded a third-place medal in the category of history painting. [6] In 1840 Chassériau travelled to Rome and met with Ingres, whose bitterness at the direction his student's work was taking led to a decisive break. While in Italy, Chassériau made landscape sketches and studied Renaissance frescoes. [7]

Venus marine dite Venus Anadyomene, 1838, Paris, Louvre 1838 Theodore Chasseriau - Venus Anadyomene.jpg
Vénus marine dite Vénus Anadyomène, 1838, Paris, Louvre
Andromede attachee au rocher par les Nereides, 1840, Paris, Louvre 1840 Chasseriau Theodore - Andromeda Chained to the Rock by the Nereids.jpg
Andromède attachée au rocher par les Néréides, 1840, Paris, Louvre
Macbeth and Banquo Meeting the Witches on the Heath, 1855. An example of one of Chasseriau's many works inspired by Shakespeare MacbethAndBanquo-Witches.jpg
Macbeth and Banquo Meeting the Witches on the Heath, 1855. An example of one of Chassériau's many works inspired by Shakespeare
The Two Sisters, 1843, Paris, Louvre Theodore Chasseriau - The Artist's Sisters - WGA4808.jpg
The Two Sisters , 1843, Paris, Louvre
Portrait of Reverend Father Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, 1840, Paris, Louvre Theodore Chasseriau - Reverend Father Dominique Lacordaire - WGA4805.jpg
Portrait of Reverend Father Henri-Dominique Lacordaire , 1840, Paris, Louvre
Portrait d'Alexis de Tocqueville, 1850 Alexis de tocqueville.jpg
Portrait d'Alexis de Tocqueville , 1850

Among the chief works of his early maturity are Susanna and the Elders and Venus Anadyomene (both 1839), Diana Surprised by Actaeon (1840), Andromeda Chained to the Rock by the Nereids (1840), and The Toilette of Esther (1841), all of which reveal a very personal ideal in depicting the female nude. [8] Chassériau's major religious paintings from these years, Christ on the Mount of Olives (a subject he treated in 1840 and again in 1844) and The Descent from the Cross (1842), received mixed reviews from the critics; among the artist's champions was Théophile Gautier. In 1843, Chassériau painted murals depicting the life of Saint Mary of Egypt in the Church of Saint-Merri in Paris, the first of several commissions he received to decorate public buildings in Paris. [7]

Portraits from this period include the Portrait of the Reverend Father Dominique Lacordaire, of the Order of the Predicant Friars (1840), and The Two Sisters (1843), which depicts Chassériau's sisters Adèle and Aline.

Throughout his life he was a prolific draftsman; his many portrait drawings executed with a finely pointed graphite pencil are close in style to those of Ingres. [9] He also created a body of 29 prints, including a group of eighteen etchings of subjects from Shakespeare's Othello in 1844. [10]

He exhibited the colossal portrait Ali-Ben-Hamet, Caliph of Constantine and Chief of the Haractas, Followed by his Escort in the Salon of 1845, where it received equivocal reviews. In 1846, Chassériau made his first trip to Algeria. From sketches made on this and subsequent trips he painted such subjects as Arab Chiefs Visiting Their Vassals and Jewish Women on a Balcony (both 1849, now in the Louvre). A major late work, The Tepidarium (1853, in the Musée d'Orsay), depicts a large group of women drying themselves after bathing, in an architectural setting inspired by the artist's trip in 1840 to Pompeii. His most monumental work was his decoration of the grand staircase of the Cour des Comptes, commissioned by the state in 1844 and completed in 1848. He followed the example of Delacroix in executing this work in oil on plaster, rather than in fresco. [7] This work was heavily damaged in May 1871 by a fire set during the Commune, and only fragments could be recovered; these are preserved in the Louvre.

After a period of ill health, exacerbated by his exhausting work on commissions for murals to decorate the Churches of Saint-Roch and Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, Chassériau died at the age of 37 in Paris, on October 8, 1856. He is buried in the Montmartre Cemetery.

Legacy

His work had a significant impact on the style of Puvis de Chavannes and Gustave Moreau, and—through those artists' influence—reverberations in the work of Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse. [11] There is in Paris a Society for the painter: Association des Amis de Théodore Chassériau.

Works of Chassériau are in the Musée du Louvre where a room is dedicated to him, in the Musée d'Orsay, and in the Musée de Versailles. Collections in the United States holding works by Théodore Chassériau include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, the National Gallery of Art of Washington, D.C., the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of the Art Rhode Island School of Design, The J. Paul Getty Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Exhibitions

Selected works


See also

Notes

  1. Guégan et al. 2002, p. 163.
  2. Guégan et al. 2002, pp. 58, 163.
  3. Guégan et al. 2002, p. 168.
  4. Guégan et al. 2002, pp. 60, 168.
  5. Rosenblum 1989, p. 32.
  6. Guégan et al. 2002, p. 170.
  7. 1 2 3 Rosenthal.
  8. Guégan et al. 2002, p. 53.
  9. Prat 1989, p. 5.
  10. Fisher 1979, p. 13.
  11. Guégan et al. 2002, p. 287.

Related Research Articles

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres 19th-century French Neoclassical painter

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French Neoclassical painter. Ingres was profoundly influenced by past artistic traditions and aspired to become the guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style. Although he considered himself a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, it is his portraits, both painted and drawn, that are recognized as his greatest legacy. His expressive distortions of form and space made him an important precursor of modern art, influencing Picasso, Matisse and other modernists.

Musée dOrsay Art museum, Design/Textile Museum, Historic site in Rue de Lille Paris, France

The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the Left Bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum's opening in 1986. It is one of the largest art museums in Europe. Musée d'Orsay had 3.177 million visitors in 2017.

Louise Catherine Breslau artist (1856-1927)

Louise Catherine Breslau was a German-born Swiss painter, printmaker, and pastel artist active in France. She trained at the Académie Julian in Paris and exhibited at the salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the late nineteenth-century.

Bon Boullogne French painter and engraver

Bon Boullogne was a French painter.

Adrien Goetz French writer

Adrien Goetz is a French Art History Professor, art critic and novelist. He graduated from the École Normale Supérieure. His work appeared in Zurban, and Beaux-Arts Magazine. He is Senior Lecturer in Art History at the Sorbonne., and the Editor of Grande Galerie, the magazine published by the Louvre Museum. Adrien Goetz was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts - Institut de France in December 2018.

<i>The Turkish Bath</i> painting by Ingres

The Turkish Bath is an oil painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, initially completed between 1852 and 1859, but modified in 1862. The painting depicts a group of nude women at a pool in a harem. It has an erotic style that evokes both the Near East and earlier western styles associated with mythological subject matter. The painting expands on a number of motifs that Ingres had explored in earlier paintings, in particular The Valpinçon Bather (1808) and La Grande odalisque (1814).

Édouard Debat-Ponsan French painter

Édouard Debat-Ponsan was a French academic painter noted for his allegorical works, scenes of peasant life and Orientalist works.

<i>Self-portrait</i> (Chassériau) 1835 painting of Théodore Chassériau

Self-Portrait, or Portrait of the Artist in a Redingote, is an 1835 oil-on-canvas painting by French romantic artist Théodore Chassériau, which was painted when the artist was 16. It is currently housed at the Musée du Louvre.

<i>Aline Chassériau</i> painting by Théodore Chassériau

Aline Chassériau is an 1835 oil on canvas painting by French romantic artist Théodore Chassériau, which represents Aline Chassériau (1822–1871), the painter's younger sister. Once owned by the artist's brother Frédéric, it was given to the Musée du Louvre by Baron Arthur Chassériau and his wife in 1918.

<i>The Toilette of Esther</i> painting by Théodore Chassériau, 1841

The Toilette of Esther or Esther Preparing to be Presented to King Ahasuerus, is an 1841 oil-on-canvas painting by Théodore Chassériau. The painting depicts a moment from the scriptural Book of Esther, when Esther prepared to meet King Ahasuerus, ruler of Persia, who subsequently took her as his wife. The painting is in the Musée du Louvre. Vincent Pomarède of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon has described it as "one of the most famous (paintings) in the Louvre".

Jules-Claude Ziegler French artist

Jules-Claude Ziegler (1804-1856) was a French painter, ceramicist and photographer of the French school.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours Art museum in Place Francis Sicard, Tours

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours is located in the bishop's former palace, near the cathedral St. Gatien, where it has been since 1910. It displays rich and varied collections, including that of painting which is one of the first in France both in quality and the diversity of the works presented.

Léonce Bénédite French art historian and curator

Léonce Bénédite was a French art historian and curator. He was a co-founder of the Société des Peintres Orientalistes Français and was instrumental in establishing Orientalist art as a legitimate genre.

<i>The Two Sisters</i> (Chassériau painting) painting by Théodore Chassériau

The Two Sisters is an 1843 oil painting on canvas by the French romantic artist Théodore Chassériau. Completed when the artist was twenty-three years of age, it depicts Chassériau's sisters Adèle and Aline. It is housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.

<i>Venus Anadyomene</i> (Ingres) painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Venus Anadyomene is a painting by the French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. It is now held at the Musée Condé, Chantilly, France. It is a female nude of the Venus Anadyomene type, showing the goddess Venus rising from the sea.

Paul Jamot French art historian

Paul Jamot was a French painter, art critic and museum curator.

Madame Cavé French painter and drawing professor

Madame Cavé was a French painter and drawing professor. Born Marie-Élisabeth Blavot and also known as Marie Monchablon in her youth, she married the painter Clément Boulanger and then, after Boulanger's death, Edmond Cavé—whom she also outlived.

Jacques Hérold Romanian painter (1910-1987)

Jacques Hérold was a prominent surrealist painter born in Piatra Neamț, Romania.

Frédéric Reiset French art collector and art historian

Marie Frédéric Eugène de Reiset was a French art collector, art historian and curator. He served as curator of the department of prints and drawings at the Louvre and as director-general of France's Musées Nationaux.

<i>Horse Frightened by a Thunderstorm</i> C. 1824 painting by Eugène Delacroix

Horse Frightened by a Thunderstorm or White Horse Frightened by a Thunderstorm is a watercolour on paper work by Eugène Delacroix painted sometime between 1824 and 1829, most probably in 1824

References

Further reading