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Entries in Academic Painting (4)


Émile Lévy: An Academician

Émile Lévy - Mme Emile Lévy, née Céline Joséphine Bidard de La Noë - 1883 - Private Collection (click photo for larger image)French Academic Painter Émile Lévy (1826-1890) studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris under Abel Depujol and François Edouard Picot. In 1854 he was given the Grand Prix de Rome award and exhibited several times at the salons and the expositions, after 1859.  His work contains portraits and historical scenes under the influence of the Academism. He also created some poster designs.

Academic Art is the painting and sculpture produced under the influence of the Academies in Europe and especially France, where many artists received their formal training. It is characterized by its highly polished style, its use of mythological or historical subject matter, and its moralistic tone. Neoclassical Art was also closely associated with the French Academy and the 19th century Salons at which art was submitted for display and prizes were awarded. 

French Impressionism was the avant-garde movement that challenged Academic Art, and is now widely regarded as the first movement of modern art. As such, in the realm of art history, Impressionism very much overshadows Academic Art. However, it is important to remember that many highly talented and highly skilled artists were part of the academic tradition.


Sir George Clausen: Working in Multiple Media

George Clausen - The Mowers - 1892 - Oil on canvas, 97 x 76 cm - Usher Gallery, London (click photo for larger image)From the 1880s on, Britain's rural plein-air naturalism was tightened by the example of Bastien-Lepage and the Barbizon school. In 1883, British painter, Sir George Clausen (1852-1944), was in Paris for several months, working under Bouguereau at the Académie Julian. He met Bastien-Lepage, and then followed his own predilection for simple, rustic scenes. Rural subjects remained to the fore in his work, and from the 1890s on he expressed them in his own version of Impressionist techniques. His post-Millet view of nature and farm work can be seen in The Mowers, featured here, which also exhibits effects of color and light reminiscent of Monet. Clausen was proficient in oil and watercolor, etching, mezzotint, dry point and, occasionally, lithography. He was knighted in 1927.


Louis Anquetin: One of the Influences on Vincent van Gogh

Louis Anquetin - Avenue de Clichy - Five O'Clock in the Evening 1887 - Oil on canvas, 69 x 54 cm - Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford (click photo for larger image)French Painter Louis Anquetin (1861-1932) settled in Paris in 1882. His apartment on the Avenue de Clichy and his parents' house at Étrépagny became the rendezvous for international artists. He studied art at the Ateliers of Bonnat and Cormon, where he was a contemporary and friend of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Émile Bernard and Vincent van Gogh. His early work shows the influence of Impressionism and of Edgar Degas. In 1887 Anquetin and Bernard devised an innovative method of painting using strong black contour lines and flat areas of color; Anquetin aroused much comment when he showed his new paintings. This painting is said to have inspired Van Gogh in painting his famous Café Terrace at Night.


Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Franz Xavier Winterhalter - Portrait of the Empress Eugénie Surrounded by her Maids of Honor, 1855, oil on canvas, Musée National de Palais de Compiégnie (click photo for larger image)Academic Painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1875) was born in the small village of Mensenschwad in Germany. He studied painting at the academy of Monaco. In 1835, after he painted portrait of Grand Duke Leopold of Baden, Winterhalter was appointed his court painter. With that portrait his international career was launched. The royal families of England, France, and Belgium all commissioned their portraits from him.