Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Auguste Toulmouche

oil on canvas
65.4 x 55.2 cm
Private Collection

Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890), born in Nantes, was a French painter who painted in the academic realism style. This trend in art was towards realism but also towards greater idealism, which is contrary to realism. The figures depicted were made more abstract and idealized. His themes were in the Regency revival style of genre painting. This would involve both generalizing the forms seen in nature, and subordinating them to the unity and theme of the artwork.

He began his career as a painter of portraits and historical objects, moving on to specialize in interiors, particularly intimate scenes with elegantly dressed Parisiennes. He exhibited his work at the Salon from 1848 onwards, receiving numerous accolades, including a silver medal at the Salon of 1861 and a bronze medal at the 1878 Universal Exposition.

Married to a cousin of Monet's Aunt Lecadre, his place in French art history is secured by his important influence on the early career of Claude Monet. Not only did Toulmouche play a key role in persuading the young Monet to enter Gleyre’s studio at the end of 1862, he served as his artistic advisor if not mentor during the early Paris years of the great impressionist’s career.

Although he also produced portraits and landscapes, he is primarily known for his intimate interior scenes of domestic life. In 1870 he was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.