Auguste TOULMOUCHE (Nantes, 1829 – Paris, 1890)
Scene of family life during Antiquity
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated 1856 lower left
60 x 80 cm
Pupil of Charles GLEYRE since 1846, Auguste TOULMOUCHE was one of the most famous painters of the Second Empire, following the example of Alfred Stevens and Carolus-Duran.
In the early 1850s, he painted genre pictures inspired by Antiquity and was part of the “Neo-Greek Group” created by Jean-Léon GERÔME, HAMON and PICOU, all three students of DELAROCHE. Following HAMON’s example, the world of childhood was one of his favorite subjects. Their innocence and their spontaneous curiosity provided TOULMOUCHE with original themes in which the painter could deploy his imagination to seduce or amuse. This is the case in our painting.
However, he later abandoned the neo-Greek style and turned to the contemporary world. He was then one of the first painters to compose scenes inspired by the bourgeois life of the Second Empire. He devoted himself especially to scenes of genre, interiors of worldly life and to the feminine portrait, which made his fame. He did not hesitate to reuse in his worldly canvases motifs previously used in his neo-Greek works. For example, the Maternal Kiss (Salon of 1857, no. 2553) reproduces in every point the motif of the seated mother embracing her child in her arms present in the left part of our composition.
TOULMOUCHE exhibited at the Salon de Paris, from 1848, obtaining a third-class medal in 1852, a second-class medal in 1861, a third-class medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1878.
He was made knight of the Legion of Honor in 1870.
He became the cousin by marriage of Claude MONET following his marriage in 1861 in Nantes with Marie LECADRE, daughter of a lawyer from Nantes. TOULMOUCHE will help MONET in his early Parisian years, in particular by encouraging him to follow the teaching of Charles GLEYRE.
Auguste TOULMOUCHE is buried in the Montparnasse cemetery.
Museums : Beaufort, Béziers, Nantes, New-York, Saint Louis…