Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lehmann, Henri

Portrait of Franz Liszt
oil on canvas
140 x 87 cm
Musee Carnavalet, Paris

Henri Lehmann (1814 - 1882) was a German-born French historical painter and portraitist.
In 1831, at the age of 17, he travelled to Paris to study art under Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, becoming one of his most accomplished pupils and a close associate for many years. His first exhibition was at the Salon in 1835 where he won a second-class medal. Thereafter he exhibited regularly at the Salon, winning first-class medals in 1840, 1848 and 1855.
Lehmann lived in Rome from 1838-41, where he continued his artistic education with Ingres (who was by then Director of the Academie de France there), and collaborated with him on some works. In Rome he befriended Franz Liszt and his lover, the author Marie d'Agoult, corresponding with them for many years and painting portraits of them. He settled permanently in Paris in 1842. He was awarded many commissions for large-scale public works. He went on to paint portraits of many well-known and distinguished people of the day including Charles Gounod, Victor Cousin, Liszt, Chopin, Stendhal, the Princess Christina Belgiojoso and many others.

In 1846 Lehmann received the Legion d'honneur and in 1847 became a French citizen. In 1861 he became a teacher at the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts and was appointed Professor in 1875. He founded the Lehmann Prize to recognize academic excellence in art. In 1864 he was elected a member of the Institut de France.