Félix-François Georges Ziem (French, 1821 – 1911)

Grand Canal, Venice

Félix-François Georges Ziem (French, 1821 – 1911)

Félix-François Georges Ziem (French, 1821 – 1911) “Grand Canal, Venice”

Oil on Canvas 25 5/8 x 41 3/8 inches

The city of Venice was a favorite subject for French artist Félix-François Georges Ziem. In this brilliant cityscape, the artist portrays the historic city’s Grand Canal packed with sailboats and gondolas as the sun rises upon a new day. The composition celebrates both the grandeur of the city’s architecture as well as its everyday commerce, while also serving as a beautiful study of light and color. Ziem’s paintings reflect the impact of the Barbizon artists and the group’s ideals of realism by using the contrast of light and shadow to bring his compositions to life.

Ziem originally planned to become an architect until “disciplinary” problems caused him to lose his scholarship to the Academie d’architecture of Dijon in 1841. Upon his dismissal, he decided to embark on a journey to Rome on foot. It was during this time that his hobby of painting became his life’s work. He executed hundreds of sketches of the lands he came across, often selling or trading them for food. No other city struck him as did Venice, with its network of waterways and outstanding architecture–he immediately fell in love. Ziem’s infatuation with the city would last throughout his career and would become the subject of his most desirable and striking paintings. Several of the artist’s renditions of Venice appear in the permanent collections of some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Louvre (Paris), the Musée d’Orsay (Paris), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Art Institute of Chicago.

He would return to Venice again in 1845, this time spending three years sketching the city from nearly every possible angle. Ziem completed several paintings upon his return to France and submitted them to the 1849 Paris Salon with great success. He continued to exhibit at the Salon until 1868, then again from 1888 until his death. His work made him one of the most sought after artists of his day, so much so that in 1864 he was honored to have under his tutelage then Princess (later Queen) Victoria. In 1857, Ziem was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, rising to the rank of Officer in 1878.

Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant (French, 1845 – 1902)

Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant (French, 1845 – 1902) “Judith”

Oil on Canvas 18 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches

Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant (also known as Benjamin Constant), born Jean-Joseph Constant (10 June 1845 – 26 May 1902), was a French painter and etcher best known for his Oriental subjects and portraits.

Benjamin-Constant was born in Paris. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse, where he was a pupil of Alexandre Cabanel. A journey to Morocco in 1872 strongly influenced his early artistic development and lead him to produce Romantic scenes under the spell of Orientalism. Among his noted works in this vein are Last Rebels, Justice in the Harem (both in the Luxembourg Gallery), Les Chérifas, and Moroccan Prisoners (Bordeaux). His large canvas, The Entrance of Mahomet II into Constantinople (Musée des Augustins Toulouse), received a medal in 1876.

Frances Benjamin Johnston, Benjamin Constant, c.?1890–1910, Library of Congress
After 1880, he changed his manner, devoting himself to mural decorations and to portraits. Prominent examples include the great plafond in the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, entitled Paris Convening the World; his paintings in the New Sorbonne, representing Literature, The Sciences, and the Academy of Paris; and the plafond of the Opéra Comique theatre. He was distinguished as a portrait painter, especially in England, where he was a favorite of the aristocracy. His portrait Mons fils André (Luxembourg) was awarded a medal of honor at the Salon in 1896.

Benjamin-Constant painted Pope Leo XIII, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom (1901), Lord John Lumley-Savile, and Henri Blowitz (1902). He was made a member of the Institute in 1893, and was a commander of the Legion of Honor. He visited the United States several times, and painted a number of portraits. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York owns a large mural decoration by Benjamin-Constant entitled Justinian in Council.

Benjamin-Constant also taught; among his pupils was the miniaturist Alice Beckington. He was a writer of repute, contributing a number of studies on contemporary French painters. He died in Paris on 26 May 1902.


19th Century

“Journey to the Crucifixion”

Oil on Canvas 60in X 36in

Louis Auguste Georges Loustaunau (French, 1846 – 1898)

Louis Auguste Georges Loustaunau (French, 1846 – 1898) “Eau Bénite”

Oil on Panel 28 x 21 1/2 inches

Henry John Dobson ARCA RSW (Scottish,1858 – 1928)

Henry John Dobson ARCA RSW (1858 – 1928) “Playing Checkers”

Dobson was a 19th/20th century Scottish artist. He is best remembered for his 1893 portrait of Keir Hardie.

He was born in St John’s Town of Dalry in 1858, the son of Thomas Dobson, a wool merchant. He maintained a studio in St John’s Town of Dalry which still exists and is now the public library.

He trained at the School of Design and Royal Institution in Edinburgh. In the 1890s he was living in Bradford.

In 1911 he had studios at 108 George Street in Edinburgh’s First New Town and lived at 12 Leven Terrace in the Bruntsfield district.

He died on 5 July 1928 and is buried in Liberton Cemetery. The grave lies against the east wall of the north cemetery, midway along its length.

Antoni Maria Fabrés i Costa (Spanish, 1854 – 1938)

Antoni Maria Fabrés i Costa (Spanish, 1854 – 1938) “Commodus “

Oil on Canvas 69 x 53 inches

Antoni Maria Fabrés i Costa (Spanish: Antonio Maria Fabrés y Costa; 1854–1938), also known as Antoni Fabrés, was a famous Catalan sculptor and painter during the turn of the 20th century.

Antonio Fabrés was born in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) in 1854. He started studying at the Escola de la Llotja in his native city at the age of 13. His father was a draughtsman and his uncle a silversmith. When he turned 21, he received a grant to study in Rome. There are records of his sculptures from early in his career but later on he became a painter almost exclusively. He joined Marià Fortuny with a group that became known for their intense realism. Their popularity grew with the taste of the bourgeoisie seeking exotic images with oriental or medieval themes. He went back to Barcelona in 1886 and in 1894 he moved to Paris. The popularity he had earned during his decade in Italy helped him open a large studio where he could create complex scenes for the upper classes.

In 1902 the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City decided to replace their classical techniques with the ones of realism that were popular in Europe at the time. Antoni Fabrés was called to take the place of Santiago Rebull as head of this important institution. Although some of his students went on to become what was later known as the Post-Revolutionary Movement in Mexican art, the faculty had a hard time adapting to his distinct style and personality. In 1907, he returned to Rome. One of his last commissions in Mexico was the decorations of a hall at the Porfirio Diaz mansion where he mainly focused on the art nouveau style.

Fabrés was recognized most everywhere he traveled. He was acclaimed in Barcelona, London, Paris, Vienna and Lyon. At the end of his life, he was dealt a very unfortunate blow when in 1926 he decided to donate a large number of works to the Museu de Belles Arts de Barcelona (nowadays, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya). In exchange for this generous donation, he asked the Museum that a hall be built with his name, but the museum never built that hall and although he protested several times, they could never settle the argument. Antoni Fabrés died in Rome in 1938.

Harry Brooker (British, 1848 – 1940)

Harry Brooker (British, 1848 – 1940)

Oil on Canvas 28 x 36 inches

Harry Brooker was a ‘genre painter’, meaning that he portrayed domestic scenes, often of children at play. Between 1875 and 1920 he painted in excess of 120 paintings including portraits and still life. Many of these paintings still exist in both private collections and a few can be seen in galleries open to the public.

He exhibited at the Royal Academy and other London and provincial exhibitions.

Joseph Jost (Austrian, 1888 – 1969)

Joseph Jost (Austrian, 1888 – 1969) “The Broken Plate”

Oil on Canvas 26 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches

Joseph Jost was born in Vienna in 1888.  Joseph Jost initially taught himself, especially by copying old masters.  In 1908 he exhibited a painting entitled ‘The law of death’ at the Künstlerhaus for the first time.  Other exhibitions followed.  In 1914 Jost was accepted in the master class of the genre painter Franz Rumpler at the Vienna Academy.

During World War II, as a war painter, he portrayed many high-ranking military personnel, but later devoted himself mainly to the still life.  Flowers were his favorite subject, their materiality he could play brilliantly.

Heinrich Hans Schlimarski (Austrian, 1859 – 1913)

Heinrich Hans Schlimarski (Austrian, 1859 – 1913) “Young Woman with Fruit and Flowers”

Oil on Canvas 29 x 15 1/4 inches

Heinrich Hans Schlimarski (born 5 October 1859 in Olomouc; died 13 July 1913 in Hainburg) was a Czech portrait, genre and history painter and pastellist.

He was born in Olomouc on 5 October 1859 and gifted with natural talent. He moved with the family to the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at an early age. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with August Eisenmenger (1830 – 1907), who was an Austrian history and portrait painter in the era of the Ringstrasse and Wilhelminian style, and Hans Makart (1840 – 1884), who was the most famous Austrian academic history and portrait painter of that period.

Heinrich Hans Schlimarski was considered the most gifted student of Makart and became his collaborator, together they signed many large-format works. He went on study trips to Munich and Italy and on his return, he lived mainly in Vienna working for the Viennese high society as a portrait, genre and history painter. A substantial part of its production is made up of female portraits, nudes, large decoration works and oriental subjects. Many of his works became so famous that they were reproduced in prints, illustrated books and postcards. He died in mysterious circumstances; on 13 July 1913 his lifeless body was recovered from the Danube.

His style was influenced by Makart and is based on an exuberant use of colors, intense sensuality as in Eugène Delacroix. The results are dynamic and voluptuous forms full of energy as in the best works of Peter Paul Rubens where the fast and dense application of colors enchanted the fine and almost transparent skin of the sitters.[3] His artistic production, as that of his master Makart, were soon forgotten in favor of the avant-gardes, only in the last decades of the twentieth century their productions of absolute quality have been rediscovered and placed among the great art of the second half of the nineteenth century.

Émile Signol (French, 1804 – 1892)

Émile Signol (French, 1804 – 1892) “The Calumny of Apelles”

Oil on Canvas 27 1/2 x 42 1/2 inches

Émile Signol (March 11, 1804 – October 4, 1892) was a French artist who painted history paintings, portraits, and genre works. Although he lived during the Romantic period, he espoused an austere neoclassicism and was hostile to Romanticism.

Signol was born in Paris. He studied under Blondel and Gros. He made his Salon debut in 1824 with a painting of Joseph Recounting His Dream to His Brothers. He painted a portrait of Hector Berlioz at the Académie de France à Rome, Villa Medici, during the composer’s stay upon his winning the Grand Prix de Rome in 1830. Signol had won the grand prize for the same competition’s painting category with Titulus Crucis.

In 1842 he painted The Death of Saphira for the Church of the Madeleine, and was subsequently commissioned to decorate the churches of Saint Roch, Saint Sévérin, Saint Eustace, and Saint Augustin. Four of his paintings are housed at the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris.

He was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1841, and an Officer in 1865.

Elected in 1860, he held a first seat position at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1862, Pierre-Auguste Renoir studied under Signol and Charles Gleyre across from the École du Louvre at the École des Beaux-Arts. Signol and Gleyre taught Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ in 1861.

Signol died in Montmorency, Val-d’Oise in 1892.

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About The Curator

Carol Seelig Eastman is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Knohl Collection. In this role, she passionately explores the artist’s personal, social, and political world and places their art in a meaningful historical context. Her thematic exhibitions provide visual and educational stimulation that attract and engage a diverse museum audience.