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E U R O P E A N  A N D  B R I T I S H  G A L L E R Y

Fred Hall 1860 - 1948

Photograph of a painting by Fred Hall.

Primrose Day

Oil on canvas, 24 x 17 inches. Signed by the artist and dated 1887

Exhibited: Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dec. 2002

Fred Hall had established a Newlyn studio by 1885 following a visit there the previous year. The number of former associates he found working there would have encouraged him. It could be said that the Newlyn School was founded in Antwerp in the early 1880’s as the artists who formed the backbone of the group had formed friendships during their time in the Academy. Hall studied there under Verlat in 1882 and 1883 and developed a friendship with Norman Garstin. He shared lodgings with Walter Osborne. Fellow students at the Academy were Nathaniel Hill and Joseph Malachy Kavanagh.

The Academy had a profound effect on all who studied there. Charles Verlat, Professor of Painting from 1877 to 1883 built on the reputation already established over the preceding decades as a centre for history and genre painting. Although the father of English naturalist painting, George Clausen, spent only a brief period there, it had a lifelong effect on his style although his main influence, in common with those at Newlyn, emanated from the great French naturalist, Jules Bastien Lepage. The Newlyn painters followed Lepage’s principles of painting in the open air and living amongst those who were the subject matter. Although he was looked upon as a figurehead, they were not prepared to portray the reality of rural life in the harsh manner of the master.

As a first generation Newlyn painting, Primrose Day is another great example of the portrayal of rural life in a remote English village. The painting almost certainly depicts Primrose Day, celebrated on the 19th April to commemorate Disraeli who regarded the flower as his favourite.

Stanhope Forbes, Ralph Todd and Frank Bramley also painted versions of the theme at about the same time. In Todd’s rendition, a girl of about the same age sits at a table and arranges a collection of primroses, which she takes from a basket on her lap. Bramley’s girl, in similar costume to ours, sits on a chair holding a posy of primroses, which she appears to have collected in her bonnet. In the same way, the young girl in our painting appears to be arranging a posy on her lap with primroses taken from a basket at her feet. The painting is set in a loft, similar to those converted by many of the artists for use as a studio. The bare floorboards, whitewashed walls and onions strung from a beam are found in many Newlyn paintings including Bramley’s version of our canvas.

Edward Stott 1859 – 1918

Photograph of a painting by Edward Stott.

Tin Whistle Player

Oil on canvas. 15 x 18 inches. Signed by the artist and dated 1884

Exhibited: Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dec. 2008

The flat expanse of this landscape suggests that it was painted close to Stott’s home in Littleton, situated in the Vale of Evesham. The work is reminiscent of a number of paintings by Walter Osborne, who painted in the company of Stott in 1884 and 1885 in the small picturesque villages, which are scattered around this part of England. They were both attracted by the same type of subject matter, and the portrayal of children in rural settings was a common theme. In the preceding years, they had both come under the spell of Jules Bastien-Lepage while working in France.

The cattle grazing in the far distance, represented by small flecks of white paint, set the scale of the view, which is bordered by a line of trees on the horizon. Just in front of this, there is a final glimpse of the waterway as it snakes across the countryside. Immediately behind the boy, a family of ducks paddle about with their hatchlings. The young girl rests her arms on the gate as she listens to the boy’s tune. The children are dressed in their best cloths; the boy’s sun hat and the girl’s bonnet give them an older appearance. Stott pays much attention to the girl’s costume, and the detail of the decoration on the border of her apron. He depicts the highlights and shadows of her dress with great care. The wildflowers, which grow in the foreground, are a feature of many of his works.

Stott was born in Rochdale, near Manchester. He studied in Paris under Cabanel and Carolus-Duran. Besides Bastien-Lepage and the French rural naturalists, Jean-François Millet had a strong influence on his work, painted in a plein air style comparable to that of George Clausen and Henry Herbert La Thangue. He had a particular working method and did many drawings, mostly in pastel, in preparation for his oils.

Minnie Agnes Cohen 1864 – 1940

Photograph of a painting by Minnie Agnes Cohen.

Fisherwomen

Oil on canvas, 18 x 12 inches. Signed by the artist

Minnie Agnes Cohen was born in Eccles, Lancaster, in May 1864. Very few of her paintings have come to light but the recent rediscovery of one of her best works, At the Capstan Bars, caused quite a stir in the market. She worked in oil and watercolour and is also remembered for her exceptional pastels. The quality of her work is not surprising when we consider her training. She studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London and in Paris under Benjamin Constant, Puvis de Chavannes and Edouard Bordes. During her illustrious career, her work was hung in the most important Salons of London, Paris, Antwerp, The Hague, Rotterdam, Hanover, Berlin and Florence. These were mostly figurative works, many of which were painted in Holland in the picturesque fishing village of Katwyk, at the mouth of the Old Rhine. 

The resort was reached by means of a steam tram that ran through endless fields of brightly coloured tulips. A few miles back along the sandy beach is Scheveningen, where Hone did some fine work on the beach. Katwyk was an ideal painting ground and home to a number of artists. They were attracted there by the richness of the subject matter and the fine costume of the locals. As we can see from the current work, they wore many layers of clothing as protection from the harsh, unbroken west winds. Minnie Agnes enhances the study by attending to small detail such as the tie cords that hold down the wide brimmed hats. She indicates the strength of the breeze by the tie string on one of the aprons, blown out in a straight line. As was the case in Brittany, villagers could be identified by the style of their dress. The distinctive bonnets provided much needed protection from the harsh wind and from the sun. The wide brimmed hats appear to be worn by the older women. The clogs and heavy black stockings are typical of the dress of the fisherwomen and were undoubtedly worn for the warmth they provided. 

The surf, whipped up by the strong breeze, merges with the white light of the horizon and contrasts strongly with the brooding, overcast sky. Reflections are skilfully handled, not only in the rivulet that runs down to the sea, but also in the wet sand. The solitary figure by the waterside forms a link for the eye that joins the three main parts of the composition and establishes the perspective for the various elements. Empty baskets suggest that the fisherwomen are waiting for the catch to be landed. The long narrow pennant flown from the masthead is typical of the fishing fleet that sailed off the Dutch coast. The hull and rigging can be compared to that shown in paintings by contemporaries such as Maris, Mesdag and Blommers.

Edmond Petitjean 1844 - 1925

Photograph of a painting by the French artist, Edmond Petitjean.

Stacking Hay 

Oil on canvas, 11 x 19 ½ inches. Signed by the artist
Inscribed on label verso: achete a M. Petit Jean, Mai 1873 

Price on application

Edmond Petitjean was born on the 5th of July 1844, in Neufchateau, France. Inspired by the simple naturalism of Courbet, he worked mainly as a landscape painter and produced many views of Lorraine, and river scenes along the banks of the Meuse. His seascapes usually feature the busy ports of the west coast of France, and occasionally those of Normandy. He travelled widely throughout France, and also painted in Holland. Petitjean appears not to have dated his works prior to 1876. However, the label attached to our painting suggests a fairly reliable date of 1873. This was the year in which he made his debut at the Paris Salon with a painting called Morte-eau près de Blainville. At this time the Impressionists were preparing for their inaugural exhibition, held in Paris the following year. Although Petitjean did not join them, their influence was widespread. The treatment of the sky in this painting is not unlike the work that Eugene Boudin was painting at this time. Petitjean’s harbour scenes are also very close in style.

The long shadow, in which a young child sits, suggests an evening scene. The meadow grass has been dried by the sun, and is gathered and forked into small stacks by the field workers. Harvesting scenes such as this were a particular favourite with the French naturalists of the late nineteenth century. It has not been possible to identify the town in the background, even though the landmarks are distinctive, and similar to the architecture of the towns and villages surrounding Petitjean’s native Neufchateau. However, following two destructive wars, it may be that many of these buildings no longer exist. The church on the left, which may be the earliest of the buildings, stands on high ground overlooking the town, the base of its spire rising from a sphere, which sits on top of the tower. A little further to the right, a monument in the form of a column or needle can be seen. This is likely to stand on the town square. Further to the right, another spire is surrounded by tall trees, and may be the turret of a chateau. Moving further right, a modern church spire appears in the distance. On the extreme right is the most distinctive church in the painting. It has been suggested that this is the Basilica of St. Nicolas de Port, but the rest of the architecture does not appear to fit in. The two spires with rounded domes and open belfries are also similar to those of the Eglise St. Jacques de Luneville, but again the surrounding buildings are not identifiable. Examples of Petitjean's work may be found in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, and the Musee d'Orsay, Paris, and many regional museums throughout France. 

Thérèse Cotard-Dupré 1877-1920

Photograph of a painting by Therese Cotard-Dupre.

La Fenaison 

Oil on canvas, 21 ¾ x 18 inches. Signed by the artist
Exhibited: Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dec. 2004

As a painter, Thérèse Cotard-Dupré could not have had a better start in life. Born in Paris in 1877 her father was regarded as one of the finest of the group of second-generation Realist painters of the late 19th century. Thérèse grew up to be one of his students. Her work is extremely rare, with only a handful of works appearing on the market over the last decade. She comes closest to Julien Dupré’s style with La Fenaison. It is undoubtedly the finest of her works to come to light so far. 

As the work of a third generation Realist, there is a significant difference in the treatment of the subject matter to that of Millet or Breton. Rather than portraying the harvester as downtrodden, Thérèse depicts the young girl as elegant, proud, strong, healthy and engrossed in work. The figure is drawn with supreme control. Her poise shows perfect balance. The impression is given that this is a task that she has carried out many times before, one that requires a degree of skill. It is not portrayed as a menial chore. 

Great attention is paid to detail such as and the ties of the apron and the folds of the Seine Maritime costume, painted with a wonderful display of colour harmony. The bent leg and rotated shoulders are caught in a split-second pause, just before the grasses are tossed from the fork. The blades of grass add further to the feeling of movement as they float through the air. The triangle formed by the horizontal line of the pitchfork and the girl’s straightened arms is intended to strengthen the composition.  

In the background, the main group of harvesters are at work loading a wagon. They are lit through a break in the overcast sky. The threat of rain might explain the anxious expression on the harvester’s face. They work in front of a bank of trees, which possibly stand along the banks of the river as it runs through the Valée de la Durdent. This fertile Normandy valley is formed by the rolling hills that form the backdrop to our painting.

 Henri Guérard 1846 – 1897

Photograph of a painting by Henri Guerard.

Wagonnets, Honfleur

Oil on canvas, 9 ½ x 13 inches. Signed by the artist

Exhibited

Théâtre d’Application, Paris, 1891, ‘Exposition Henri Guérard’ number 201;
Milmo-Penny Fine Art, Dec. 2001

Henri-Charles Guérard was born in Paris at 41 rue Bourbon Villeneuve on the 28th of April 1846. Having first studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in 1870 he changed course and applied himself to the fine arts of painting and engraving under the tutelage of Nicolas Berthon. In this same year, he began his impressive exhibition career with an oil, Le Puits , at the Salon des Artistes Francais. He became one of the elite group of Impressionist painters in the circle of Manet and Renoir. For the remainder of his life, he continued to show at the most important French and American venues. To this day, his work is featured in prestige exhibitions worldwide.

In 1874 he posed for his future wife, Eva Gonzales. She modelled for Edouard Manet and was his only pupil. Under Manet’s guidance, Eva became a fine painter. Connoisseurs of Irish art will be familiar with Manet’s impressive portrait of Eva seated at her easel. Purchased by Hugh Lane, it was later bequeathed to Dublin’s Municipal Gallery. Manet’s study of Guérard is probably even more famous. He may be identified as the imposing-looking gentleman in the top hat seated between two ladies the celebrated masterpiece, At the Café, painted in 1878. Guérard lent Manet his assistance with the etchings he produced in his later years. Manet evidently held Guérard in high regard as is illustrated by a letter to Eva, in which he refers to Guérard as “our one and only etcher”. As can be seen from the current example, Guérard was also a fine oil painter. His work in this medium is extremely rare and consists mainly of coastal and harbour scenes, reminiscent of Boudin and early work by Monet.

Émile-Louis Foubert 1848 – 1911

Photograph of a painting by Emile-Louis Foubert.

La Péche a Bougival

Oil on panel, 10 ½ x 8 ¾ inches. Signed by the artist

 

The French system of Academic training and apprenticeship, at its height in the nineteenth century, produced numerous fine painters of great skill. The normal practice was to work through the studios of two or three masters. Indeed, the handful of Irish artists who went through the system, have become household names. That is not to say that the French artists are not recognised in their homeland. In fact, their work is shown not only in the premier museums in Paris but also in the local museums throughout France. Émile-Louis Foubert developed his early talents under the figure painter Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat and his second master, Charles Busson. His landscape work was developed under Henri Léopold Lévy. By the age of twenty-seven he was an award-winning exhibitor at the Paris Salon. He also had a meritorious career at the Sociéte des Artistes Francais, attaining silver medal status in 1900.

The theme of a young boy fishing was a popular one with many of these artists. The Arthur Burrington shown overleaf is another fine example. However, in the current painting, Foubert delights in combining his figure skill with that of a master of landscape. Without any hint of clutter he produces a spellbinding composition, which captivates the attention of the viewer. The nurse ignores the young boy, engrossed in his fishing. She sits on the riverbank, a sleeping child beside her, and gazes down the river, lost in thought; perhaps thinking of home or bygone summers.

The glasslike surface of the water suggests a scene of peaceful stillness; the cattle grazing along the riverbank introduce a suggestion of lazy movement and thoughts of long balmy summer days. The tall mast of the riverboat flies a French flag. It may have made its way from the coast along the Seine to Bougival, where it has tied up to a landing pier similar to the one from which the young boy fishes.

Burrington may have been attracted to the area through his familiarity with the great paintings of Alfred Sisley and his contemporaries who painted many wonderful works along this same stretch of river.

Jacques Eugène Feyen 1815 – 1908

Photograph of a painting by Jacques Eugene Feyen.

A Casualty

Oil on board, 20 ½ x 15 ½ inches. Signed by the artist

Eugène Feyen was born in Bey-sur-Seille, Muerthe-et-Moselle, close to Nancy in the east of France. His younger brother, Auguste, was also a fine painter who became a lifelong friend of Jules Breton. Eugène entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at the age of 22. He studied under Paul Delaroche who nurtured his emerging talent as a fine genre painter. He had a distinguished career at the Paris Salon between the years 1841 and 1882 and was awarded many honours in later life.

Feyen’s work was much admired by van Gogh. In a letter from London in 1874 to his brother Theo, he lists Eugène Feyen as one of the few painters he particularly liked. In another letter of the previous year to Carolien and Willem van Stockum-Haanebeek, he included photographs of a number of paintings, Feyen’s Lune de Miel amongst them. He wrote that he regarded Feyen as “one of the few painters who pictures intimate modern life as it really is, and does not turn it into fashion plates”.

Our painting is a very good example of what van Gogh found so impressive. Feyen demonstrates graphically the harshness of life in a fishing community. The younger girl, has cut her foot, which has been bandaged over. She is carried on the back of the older girl who struggles under her weight as the young boy, probably her brother, looks on, full of concern.

Rather than the more picturesque villages to the west, Feyen chose to work in the town of Cancale. In the 19th century, as the closest port to Paris, it was a vital source of fish and oysters for the capitol. The local fleet sailed regularly for the Newfoundland fishing grounds, leaving the local community to be run by women. Feyen and a handful of other artists, John Singer Sargent amongst them, made their depiction famous.

Christopher Dean fl. 1895 – 1924

Photograph of a painting by Christopher Dean.

Dutch Girl Knitting by the Sea

Oil on canvas, 10 x 14 inches. Signed by the artist

Exhibited: Milmo-Penny Fine Art, December 2005

Christopher Dean was born in Glasgow and worked there before moving to Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in 1895. He is well documented as a black and white illustrator, but he also worked in watercolour and oil. In these times, many artists relied on work as illustrators for their daily bread. Yeats and O’Kelly spring immediately to mind.

Simon Houfe’s dictionary of illustrators has a comprehensive entry on Dean and his work. Good examples are also illustrated in the ‘Studio’ of 1898 and the winter edition of 1900. Clearly influenced by the Glasgow School, he developed a bold, unique style, which was a combination of Art Nouveau and Celtic inspired decoration.

He exhibited a number of works at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. Amongst these works were a Glasgow streetscape and a view of Glasgow Cathedral. A harbour scene indicates an attraction for coastal views such as the current work. The setting for this painting is a little unusual. The girl sits on a sturdy kitchen chair, the weight of which suggests that it has been carried only a short from her house to the seafront. She has also gone to the trouble of taking a cushion for her back and a footstool on which to rest her feet. These arrangements might suggest that she is engaged in an occupation similar to what we have seen in Grégoire’s works.

The style of her distinctive and appealing costume and her attractive lace bonnet indicate that she is a native of Volendam, a picturesque fishing village on the shore of the Zuider Zee, in the northwest of Holland. Above her lace bib, decorated with flowers, she wears a traditional neckband of large coral beads, closed at the front with a gold clasp. The edge of her skirt is finished with colourful embroidery.

Eleanor Gordon Cumming fl.c.1900 – 1920

Photograph of a painting by Eleanor Gordon-Cumming.

Springtime, Valley of the Oise

Oil on canvas, 18 x 30 inches. Signed by the artist
Title inscribed on artist’s label, verso
Additional title, verso:
Spring Time at Valmondois

Exhibited: Milmo-Penny Fine Art, December 2006

From the harvesting of apples in Calvados, we move a short distance to another orchard and another season. Artists are often at their best in springtime, their creative spirits rejuvenated after the long winter months. For many, an apple blossom scene signalled the start of a new year. This composition is a wonderful exercise in the study of light. Mottled shadows are cast by the branches of the apple tree as it stretches out across the path. Dressed in traditional costume, an old woman drives a small flock of sheep to pasture. They make their way along the narrow track, which winds down towards the river. The high bank of trees in the background appears to follow the line of the Oise as it twists through the valley.

There is a strong tradition of painting in Valmondois. Honore Daumier was a resident there, while Charles Francois Daubigny spent his childhood nearby at Auvers. He returned regularly and painted a scene on the Oise that shows the same high ground in the distance. One of his best known etchings, Claire de Lune, was also drawn at Valmondois. Theodore Rousseau and Maurice de Vlaminck also worked in the area.

The identity of the artist presents something of a mystery. The present painting appears to have been exhibited twice, yet no exhibition record has been found. According to the labels attached to a number of her works and the signature on the present painting, the artist had a triple barrelled surname with a hyphen before Gordon Cumming. Unfortunately, the first part of the name is illegible and it is this name which would have been used for exhibition records. A label on another painting states that the artist was the daughter of the Lion Hunter. This refers to Roualeyn Gordon Cumming of the Altyre clan. He had two daughters but it has not been possible to trace either of them. Other works that have come to light suggest that she worked at the turn of the century with the East Linton School, 20 miles east of Edinburgh.

Ludovico Marchetti 1853 – 1909

Photograph of a painting by Ludovico Marchetti.

Giovane Donna

Oil on canvas, 32 x 25 inches. Signed by the artist

Born in Rome in 1853, Marchetti studied in his native town under Mariano Fortuny before moving to Paris where he took up residence in 1878 at the age of 25. He attained bronze medal status at the Paris Salon in 1889 and also developed a following in the Salons of Munich and Berlin. He painted in oil and watercolour genre scenes, elegant interiors and some orientalist work in a quasi photo realist style.

The small bouquet of fresh poppies in the girl’s hair suggests a canvas painted in the open air of woodland or extensive garden and act a a balance for the large bouquet which she arranges on her lap. Giovane Donna con Fiori in Paesaggio is inspired by the work of Bougereau as can be seen from a quotation from last years catalogue. “The composition is by no means as casual as it first appears. The arrangement is carefully planned and contains the same elements as those found in Bouguereau’s La Couronne de Marguerites; an attractive young girl is placed in the foreground; a colourful middle ground leads to a dark woodland to the right with an enticing view to the top left of a brightly lit sky glimpsed through the edge of the trees."


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