Edward Robert Hughes (British, 1851-1914)

Royal Procession

Edward Robert Hughes (British, 1851-1914)

Edward Robert Hughes RWS (5 November 1851 – 23 April 1914) was an English painter who worked prominently in watercolors, but also produced a number of significant oil paintings. He was influenced by his uncle and eminent Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood artist, Arthur Hughes, and worked closely with one of the Brotherhood’s founders, William Holman Hunt.

Having settled on his career choice, Edward Robert Hughes attended Heatherley’s in London to prepare himself for the chance of auditioning for the Royal Academy School. Hughes became a student at the Royal Academy School in 1868. While Pre-Raphaelitism played an influential part in shaping Hughes work, Aestheticism is also seen in his paintings.

E.R.Hughes is widely known for his works Midsummer Eve and Night With Her Train of Stars yet he built a career as a portrait painter to the upper classes.

In addition to being an accomplished artist himself, E.R.Hughes was also a studio assistant to the elder artist and Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood founding member William Holman Hunt when Hunt suffered from glaucoma. Two of the paintings that Hughes worked on with Hunt were The Light of the World, which is displayed in St Paul’s Cathedral, and The Lady of Shalott, which is exhibited at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

On his own he experimented with ambitious techniques and was a perfectionist; he did numerous studies for many of his paintings, some of which turned out to be good enough for exhibition.

Hughes held several important offices within the artistic community over his lifetime such as becoming a member of the Art Workers Guild in 1888, and was on their committee from 1895 to 1897. He was elected to Associate Membership of The Royal Water Color Society (ARWS) on 18 February 1891, and he chose as his diploma work for election to full membership a mystical piece (Oh, What’s That in the Hollow?) inspired by a verse by Christina Rossetti Amor Mundi. His painting entitled A Witch was given by the Royal Watercolor Society to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to mark the coronation in 1902. In later years Hughes served as the Vice-President of the RWS before leaving in 1903. Throughout his career, E.R.Hughes exhibited his works in several galleries around London: Dudley GalleryGrosvenor GalleryNew GalleryThe Royal Academy, and toward the end of his career he exhibited with The Royal Society of Painters in Water Colors (RWS).

His works can be seen in public collections including Bradford Museums and GalleriesCambridge & County Folk MuseumMaidstone Museum & Art GalleryBruce Castle Museum, Kensington & Chelsea Local Studies, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, and the National Trust for Scotland.

Birmingham Museums Trust staged a retrospective exhibition, Enchanted Dreams: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of E.R. Hughes, from 17 October 2015 to 21 February 2016 at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.


Jean Jacques Baptiste Brunet (French, 1850 – 1920)

Jean Jacques Baptiste Brunet was active/lived in France. Jean Brunet is known for figure, genre painting. Framed Size: 29 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches

A pupil of Jean-Léon Gerôme, Jean Brunet was a painter of religious, mythological and historical subjects, whose work was described by the contemporary author Octave Uzanne as evocative of ‘an art of passion and truth, where pain is played out’1. He exhibited at the Salons from 1876 onwards, showing mainly portraits, religious and genre scenes, and was awarded several prizes. He exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, winning a silver medal, and also sent paintings to exhibitions in Chicago and Philadelphia. Among his public commissions was the decoration of the ceiling of the salle des fêtes of the Hôtel de Ville in the artist’s native Poitiers with a scene from local history. Brunet is also known to have provided illustrations for Le Figaro illustré.

According to G. Schurr, he looked at mythology, religion and history to arrive at the realistic and “lived” anecdote as indicated by the titles of his paintings: “The story of the wrecked”, “The prayer of widows “. His main works are: “Caron passing the shadows” (1879, honorable mention, museum of Poitiers), “The Gibets of Golgotha” (1883, museum of Poitiers), “The Last cry of the Christ” (1893, museum of Annecy ), “The Triumph of Duguesclin” (Ceiling of the Festival Hall of the City Hall of Poitiers), “The Prayer of the Widows” (1895), “Tales of grandmother”, as well as portraits.

 


Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815 – 1891)

Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier (French, 21 February 1815 – 31 January 1891) was a French Classicist painter and sculptor famous for his depictions of Napoleon, his armies and military themes. He documented sieges and maneuvers and was the teacher of Édouard Detaille. Framed Size: 27 x 23 inches

Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier had one of the more remarkable artistic careers in nineteenth century France.  Although largely self-taught, he became the highest paid painter in the second half of the century, an accomplishment that stems from persistence, congeniality, and the capacity to understand both the strengths and limitations of his work.  Meissonier was born in Lyon on 21 February 1815, just as the Napoleonic era was coming to a close.  His father, a dye merchant, moved the family to Paris three years later. By the early 1830s, Meissonier’s natural inclination for art led him to study very briefly with Jules Potier, and then with Léon Cogniet for a period of five months.  His primary teachers, however, were the seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch, Flemish and French painters at the Louvre, particularly the still life and genre painters.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Meissonier’s first submission to the Salon, in 1834, was a small painting called Flemish Burghers which was essentially a costume piece featuring three sober-looking gentlemen clad in traditional seventeenth century clothing.  The play of light and shadow, as well as the delicately rendered tabletop still life, echoed the works of painters such as Gerard Dou or Gabriel Metsu, whose paintings were attracting increasing attention from a new generation of still life artists.  In addition, Flemish Burghers appealed to the bourgeois taste for historical costume dramas. The critical and popular acclaim was overwhelming; the Société des Amis des Arts purchased the work for 100 francs, and Meissonier’s career was launched before he reached the age of 20.

Despite this early success, Meisonnier’s painting did not bring immediate financial security. Rather, his primary source of reliable income in these years was the design of wood engravings for book illustrations. Today, books such as Léon Curmer’s edition of J-H. Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s Paul et Virginie (Paris 1838) are sought after precisely because of those illustrations.

Meissonier’s persistence in submitting work to the annual Salon also proved to be a smart choice. With the triumph of Flemish Burghers in 1834, the young artist realized that his skill in creating evocative—and precisely detailed—historical genre images had the potential to become a solid base for his career.  Pursuing that strategy, he exhibited Chess Players: Flemish Subject and The Little Messenger at the Salon of 1836; A Reader in 1840; and another Chess Player in 1841, for which he won a second-class medal.

The defining year, however, was 1842 when he exhibited Smoker and The Bass Player, which attracted glowing commentary from the art critic and poet, Théophile Gautier.  “In their small scale, we place these inestimable works without hesitation beside those of Metsu, Gerald Dou, and Mieris; perhaps even above them, because Meissonier has the truth of drawing, the fineness of tone and preciousness of touch joined with a quality that the Dutch hardly possess—style.” [i]  With such acclaim, Meissonier became the most sought-after painter of the decade, appealing to a wide range of collectors.  His prices rose concomitantly, and by 1847, he was able to purchase an elegant suburban home in Poissy—a noteworthy accomplishment for a self-taught, 32-year-old artist who had neither social connections nor high-placed supporters when he began.

Both social and cultural customs changed radically in 1848 when revolution swept through Europe. In Paris, the “citizen king”, Louis-Philippe was forced to abdicate in February, leaving the country awash in civil strife.  As a captain in the National Guard, Meissonier led the troops responsible for defending the Hôtel de Ville; and there he witnessed the carnage first hand.  In part, his response was to paint one of his most significant images: Memory of the Civil War (The Barricades), an unflinching depiction of the incomprehensible horror of civil war. Piles of bodies lie in the claustrophobic street in varying stages of decomposition –untended and unclaimed. Blue shirts and white shirts, all stained with blood, create a grim “tricolore” far removed from patriotic flag-waving. The painting was exhibited at the “Realist Salon” of 1850-51 where it received considerable attention, as much for the change it represented in the artist’s work as for the somber subject.

Although relative peace returned to France as the Second Republic evolved into the Second Empire under Napoleon III, Meissonier remained focused on military subjects.  Throughout the 1850s, he combined genre techniques with military themes such as ordinary soldiers going about daily routines, which found an eager market among the numerous French veterans.  However, when critics at the Salon of 1857 complained that his work was repetitive, Meissonier began expanding his repertoire to include large history paintings.  Clearly, this was a calculated risk: he had already received the Grand Medal of Honor at the Exposition Universelle in 1855, as well as imperial attention when Napoleon III purchased The Quarrel at the behest of Queen Victoria—who then presented it to Prince Albert.  In addition, his private clientele was extensive and growing. Branching out into history painting—without the formal training that typically required—was to court an uncertain future.

Indeed, Meissonier’s initial foray into history painting, in his 1863 painting of Napoleon III at the Battle of Solférino was not well received. Perseverance again served him well however, as he redirected his attention to the romanticized military campaigns of Napoleon I, and received a warm reception at the 1864 Salon for 1814, The Campaign of France. The meticulous detailing of his earlier genre paintings was now magnified many times over in the large format, offering viewers a sense of immediacy in the image, but also requiring long hours of historical research and painstaking painting.

By the time of the 1867 Exposition Universelle, where he showed fourteen works, Meissonier had established his reputation as a history painter as well as a genre painter. The prices he commanded were astonishing: The American collector, A. T. Stewart purchased Friedland, 1807 for an unprecedented 380,000 francs ($60,000) in 1875. [ii] Beginning in the 1870s, Meissonier was represented by the Georges Petit Gallery, who not only promoted his work among wealthy Americans such as William T. Walters of Baltimore and William Vanderbilt of New York, but also showcased his painting with frequent exhibitions. Of particular note was the May 1884 retrospective exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of Meissonier’s Salon debut in 1834; 146 examples of painting, sculpture and engraving were displayed.

In 1889 Meissonier accepted the position of president of the Exposition Universelle, France’s extravaganza celebration of the centennial of the Revolution—for which the Eiffel Tower was designed. For Meissonier at age 74, it undoubtedly brought recollections of his own journey through the politically and artistically turbulent decades. He exhibited nineteen paintings at the Expo and became the first artist to be awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.  Unflagging in his commitment to the arts, he also helped to establish the independent Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts the following year, and became its first president for a brief period.  Meissonier died in Paris on 31 January 1891 just 21 days before his 76th birthday.

Two years later, in 1893, the Georges Petit Gallery held a posthumous retrospective of his works.


Little People

LIL PEOPLE WEB 001


Page 171 of 171First...169170171

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.