Oil on canvas signed bottom left
Dimensions: H. 68 x W. 90 cm (with frame: 93 x 115 cm)
THEODULE RIBOT, IS ONE OF THE GREATEST FRENCH REALIST PAINTERS. HIS DARK AND POWERFUL OILS REVEAL A FASCINATING PAINTER, INSPIRED BY REMBRANDT AND VELASQUEZ
Théodule Augustin Ribot was born in Saint-Nicolas-d'Attez in 1823. In 1840, his father died while he was studying at the school of arts and crafts in Châlons. He had to work to support his family. He moved to Paris in 1851 and lived there by executing a large number of drawings for industrialists and copies of Antoine Watteau for the United States by day, and by painting for himself at night.
In spite of these difficult beginnings, his immense talent will bring him closer to the greatest masters of the time: he becomes the friend of Fantin-Latour, Eugène Boudin, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Auguste Rodin and Claude Monet. From 1861 onwards, he appeared at the Salon and won medals in 1864 and 1865. He also received a medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1878. Théodule Ribot, painted historical scenes, religious compositions, still lifes, portraits and genre scenes. Ribot became famous for treating simple subjects of working class life in a meditative, dramatically-lit style inspired by Rembrandt and the Spanish 17th-century masters.
In this picture, one of the major works of this artist, Ribot uses brilliant light to illuminate the hunter’s grizzled hair and beard, and his weathered face and hands – the most expressive elements of the picture. Ribot included critical narrative details such as the carcass of the deer, the hunting rifle, and the dog, but drenched them in shadow to subordinate them to his dramatic focus: the poacher. The man’s hat placed at an unusual angle covers part of his greyed hair. His expression is wary and intent. By taking a point of view level with the poacher’s head, Ribot brings us eye to eye with the figure and allows us to enter more completely into his world. Ribot’s characteristic chiaroscuro style communicates not only the nocturnal secrecy of poaching, but its socially charged meaning: hunting as crime.
After Ribot’s death, this painting was exhibited in his retrospective exhibition held at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in May 1892.
The works of Théodule Ribot are kept in the museums of Amsterdam, Arras (Musée des beaux-arts), Bayeux (Musée Baron-Gérard), Bilbao, Boston, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Caen (Musée des beaux-arts), Chicago, Colombes (Musée municipal d'Art et d'Histoire), Dresden, Grenoble, Lausanne (Musée cantonal des beaux-arts), Lille, Lyon, Marseille, New York, Paris (Louvre and Orsay), Philadelphia, Reims, San Francisco, Vienna...