BIOGRAPHY - Leon Girardet (1857 - 1895)
Images of romance and gaiety abound in the art of the 18th century through the works of Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard. The idle rich, dressed in silks and satins, were captured in their beautifully groomed gardens or elegant interiors in situations that captured the imagination with stories of love and romance.
Many of the late 19th century artists looked back to the 18th century with enthrallment. Artists like Charles Soulacroix, Vittorio Reggianini, Maurice Leloir, Edouard Toudouze, Jean Meissonier, Marcus Stone, Johann Hamza, Luis Jiminez y Aranda and Henry Victor Lesur, who came from diverse cultural backgrounds, were among the many artists who chose to paint these beautifully detailed costume paintings. The artist Alfred Stevens once remarked that: the public are attracted to costume subjects in the same way that they fall in love with the fancy dress of a masked ball.
Born in Versailles in 1857, Leon Girardet received his formal training under the great Academic artist Alexandre Cabanel. It was from his studies with Cabanel, that Girardet honed his abilities to become a great figurative artist – working in both oils and watercolors.
Girardet’s highlife genre paintings are filled with light and color. The figures are adorned in clothing made of rich satins and silks, which shimmer and shine as the sunlight illuminates their deep jewel tones. They are often captured in conversation and, whether lovers or just friends, appear to be enjoying their time together.
Girardet was a member of the Société des Artists Français and a member of the Société des Amis des Arts and exhibited at the Paris Salon during his lifetime.