The gallery is currently researching the lives of the following artists for their respective catalogue raisonnés
Antoine Blanchard, Julien Dupré, Daniel Ridgway Knight and Emile Munier
Antoine Blanchard (Marcel Masson) was born in France on November 15, 1910 in a small village near the banks of the Loire. He was the eldest of three children and his father, a carver, managed a small carpentry and furniture shop. Antoine would watch his father hand carve the furniture and began to display an artistic flair early in life - in an effort to promote this talent, his parents sent him to Blois for drawing lessons. He continued his training in Rennes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he studied sculpture and drawing. Upon completion of his studies, he was awarded the schools highest award: Le Prix du Ministre.
Many of the subjects and scenes he portrayed were taken from images he collected of Paris during the 1890's and he would often work on paintings for days or months before he finally felt they were complete. A.P. Larde comments in his book Antoine Blanchard, His Life His Work that he has always spent much time on his work. This explains why his production has always been rather limited, unlike the hurried and multiple proliferations of some modern artists… Delicate touches of luminous and shimmering tones produce a marvelous impression of harmony, brightness and light. Alternate shadings and lights, sensitive and mellow blending allow the artist to attain a hardly-ever reached degree of grace, of radiant and glimmering freshness.
Till now, very little has been compiled about the life of this important Realist artist who was described in an article in the Magazine of Art (1891) as: "...one of the most rising artists of the French School". Dupré exhibited works at every Salon exhibition from 1876 until his death in 1910 and earned critical acclaim for his depictions of peasant life. He was awarded medals at several Salon Exhibitions and received a Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889 for his pictorial representations of the life of the farm worker.
Dupré was very successful during his lifetime both in Europe and the United States. Wealthy American patrons traveled to Paris to acquire his works and they became part of the great collections of the 19th century. Many of these collections, in turn, would become the cornerstones of our great museums. His painting Au pâturage (exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1882) is now in the collection of the Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, Mo. and Milking Time, a monumental work, is in the collection of The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (a gift of M.H. de Young). Other important works by the artist can be found in the collections of the St. Louis Art Museum; Worcester Art Museum; Joslyn Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and The Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery to name a few.
Daniel Ridgway Knight
Ridgway Knight was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1858 - 1861 and then traveled to Paris and studied at the Atelier Gleyre and with Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1861 - 1863. Knight returned to America to serve in the Army; he met and married Rebecca Webster and in 1871 he and his bride returned to France -where they remained for the rest of their lives.
By 1873 Knight moved to Poissy - a rural area just outside of Paris. It was there that he found the subject matter that would occupy him for the rest of his life - the French farm laborer.
A writer in the May 1876 edition of the Art Journal writes about Knight's Salon painting entitled The French Washerwomen: "...the figures are drawn with remarkable spirit, and in their delineation much grace of form is show. It is without that artificial feeling which belongs to work where the conventional model is called into requisition." It was this ability to portray the human figure so naturally that made Knight so popular not only in his own lifetime, but even today.
Knight's most memorable images come from the time he spent in Rolleboise - after 1896. Here he coupled his beautiful models with the lush landscapes and gardens around his home - creating many of his most highly sought after works.
Emile Munier was born in Paris on June 2, 1840 and lived with his family at 66 rue des Fossés, St Marcel. His father, Pierre François Munier, was an upholstery artist at the Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins and his mother, Marie Louise Carpentier, was a polisher in a cashmere cloth mill.
Through the 1860s, Emile Munier received three medals at the Beaux-Arts and in 1869 he exhibited at the Salon. Munier became a great supporter of the Academic ideals and a follower of Bouguereau; whose subject matter was to become a great inspiration to the young Emile.
Munier entered the studio of William Bouguereau; as evidenced by the fact that in the Salon catalogue for 1872 he is now noted as being a student of not only Lucas, but Bouguereau. Over the years the two became close friends; Bouguereau even had a nickname for him - la sagesse (wisdom) or le sage Munier (Munier the wise).