Paris - La Seine à Conflans-Charenton by Antoine Guillemet

  • This highly modern view of Paris by Guillemet captures the Seine River at Conflans-Charenton
  • The work was exhibited in the Salon of 1892 and the Exposition Universelle of 1900
  • It reveals the influence of the Barbizon School on the painter, particularly Corot
  • Large in scale, it is a masterwork from this modern painter of the Parisian landscape
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5895

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Antoine Guillemet
1843-1918 | French

Paris: La Seine à Conflans-Charenton

Signed and dated "A. Guillemet. 1891." (lower right)
Oil on canvas

Described by critics as "one of the best painters of Nature [of his] time," Antoine Guillemet was a master of the Parisian landscape, earning accolades during his lifetime for his sprawling canvases. The present view, capturing the Seine River at Conflans-Charenton, was painted at the height of his career and reveals his expertise at his craft. The work was exhibited in the Salon of 1892 to great public and critical praise, and it was later exhibited once more, at the Exposition Universelle of 1900, before disappearing for nearly 100 years, only recently being re-discovered in a private collection.

The work is highly modern in its subject, offering a traditional Barbizon treatment of the French landscape with a modernist's view of the urban sprawl of Paris. Painted en plein air, the composition is also executed in the palette of the Barbizon painters, revealing the tremendous influence of the legendary Camille Corot on the artist. While the Parisian skyline with the iconic Eiffel Tower is visible in the distance, the artist focuses here on the modern industry along the banks of the Seine, as puffs of smoke from steamboats deftly mix with the white and grey clouds that fill the sky.

Born in Chantilly, Normandy, Guillemet briefly studied law before discovering his love for art at the age of 19, after entering a contest to copy Gericault’s famous The Raft of the Medusa (Musée d’Amiens, France). Just two years later, Guillemet met through Berthe Morisot the great master of the 19th-century landscape, Camille Corot. Like many of the young artists, Guillemetaffectionately called Corot “Papa” and remained a lifelong admirer of the artist. This meeting led to Guillemet’s studying with Corot’s pupil Achille Oudinot, and it was through Oudinot that Guillemet met other masters of the French landscape, including Daubigny, Jean Meissonier, Honore Daumier and Antoine-Louis Barye.

Like any ambitious artist at the time, Guillemet looked to Paris to prove his worth, and in 1865 debuted at the Paris Salon. He soon began to paint large panoramic views of the capital city from various sites, most often using the Seine with its bustling traffic as a central motif. This is not surprising, considering the artist’s love of Paris and the fact that this Parisian series began in 1874 with dramatic success. At his height, he exhibited extensively at both the Paris Salon and the Universal Exhibitions, leading the critique Lafenestre to describe him “as the real heir to the great school of landscape, this man, grandson of Daubigny, nephew of Vollon, if you wish, above all himself, is one of the best painters of Nature at this time.”

Circa 1891

Canvas: 51 1/2” high x 79 1/4” wide
Frame: 64 3/4” high x 91 1/2” wide

References:
Armand Sylvestre, “Le Salon de 1892, Champs-Elysées,” in L’Echo de Paris: Supplément illustré, May 1, 1892
A. Dalligny, “Le Salon de 1892, Peinture salle XXVI,” in LeJournal des Arts, May 13, 1892, p. 1
Charles Yriarte, “Le Salon des Champs-Elysées, La Peinture,” in Le Figaro: Supplement littéraire, April 29, 1893, p. 3
J. P. Crespelle, Les Maitres de la Belle Epoque, 1966, p. 47 no. 63a (illustrated)

Paris Salon, Palais des Champs-Elysées, 1892, no. 823
Exposition universelle de 1900, Paris, no. 954
Antoine Guillemet 1841–1918, John Mitchell and Son, London, 1998, no. 2
Paris -  La Seine à Conflans-Charenton by Antoine Guillemet
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Paintings
Depth: 5.5 Inches
Width: 91.5 Inches
Height: 64.75 Inches
Style: Barbizon School
Canvas Width: 79.25 Inches
Canvas Height: 51.5 Inches
Paris -  La Seine à Conflans-Charenton by Antoine Guillemet
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