Friday, March 27, 2015

Jehan Georges Vibert

The Fortune Teller
year unknown
Oil on canvas
68.58 x 101.6 cm
Private collection

Jehan Georges Vibert (1840-1902), French painter, a native of Paris, was a witty man of many talents, and interests. His paintings in oils and watercolors made him a much-admired artist in his native France, as well as in America. He dared to use his knowledge of colors, medium, styles, and subject matter to differentiate himself from other artists of his time. His humorous attacks were viewed however, as a part of the growing democratization of Europe, and made him most famous. In addition to his art, he had a long and active association with the stage and all aspects of theatrical life in Paris. He was also a published author, writing for Century Magazine as well as plays for the Palais Royale, Varietes and the Vaudeville. He wrote several comedies, many of which were successfully produced at Paris theaters.

He entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1857 at the age of sixteen and by 1864 had already won a medal at the Salon . In 1866, the young Vibert exhibited at the Salon a work done in collaboration with Spanish-born artists. He had met the Spanish artist in 1860 and perhaps under their influence traveled several times to Spain. From that point on he became a genre painter. He became a master of the small-scale amusing anecdotal scenes, which had wide appeal among the sophisticated art patrons of Paris.

In 1870, while Paris was under siege to the Prussians, he fought and was wounded at the battle of Malmaison. His courage, though, earned him the honor of being made a Knight of the Legion of Honor. In 1882, he was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honor, for his painting this time. This growing reputation made him one the the most sought after atelier masters at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. This lead him to being one of the seven most influential artists of his time.