Aimée BRUNE-PAGES (Paris, 1803 – Paris, 1866)
The invalid's alms
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left
71 x 58cm
- Paris Salon of 1835 under number 270
- Chatou, Musée Fournaise, “The age of reason seen by painters in the 19th century”, May 5-November 4, 2018
Madame Brune, born Aimée Marie Alexandrine Pagès, pupil of Meynier, is one of the French women who distinguished themselves most in the arts, whether under the Restoration, the July Monarchy or the Second Empire. Still young, she obtained several orders from the government, and since then she has rarely let an exhibition pass without reaping new successes. She exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1822 to 1833 under her maiden name and then from 1834 until her last participation in 1853 under her married name. She obtained various medals at the Paris and provincial Salons, including in particular a first-class gold medal at the Salon of 1841.
We see by Madame Brune, in the galleries of Versailles, the Portrait of the Lord of Pontchartrain, executed after a painting kept at the Château de Beauregard; the Portrait of Mademoiselle Leclermont after Nattier – and that of Lieutenant General Count Morand – at the Troyes Museum, the Vœu, donated by the government after the Salon of 1837; at the Musée d'Orléans, a study of Young Girl Kneeling. Ten years her senior, Aimée Pagès married on July 24, 1833 Christian Brune (1793 – 1849) who was also a painter by trade and professor of drawing at the École polytechnique. It is very likely that they had the opportunity to collaborate on some of their paintings, she being gifted for characters, he more for landscapes.
The artist died in Paris on August 11, 1866 in his sixty-third year.
Museums: Amiens, Bordeaux, Dijon, Eu, Laval, Nîmes, Orléans, Paris (Mus. Carnavalet, Mus. de l’Armée, Mus. du Louvre), Troyes, Versailles…
A young mother carrying her last born in her arms stretches out her hand to ask for alms from the disabled soldier. The latter only gives the coin to the eldest of the boys. The face of the old man is full of authority and compassion. He seems to be telling this very young boy that he is responsible for his family. Only the few tears in the clothes and the sadness of the faces evoke the misery that the mother and her three children must face. The harshness of the existence of the characters is softened by the prettiness of the landscape and the technical delicacy of the touch and the subtle tones of green.
The scene opposes youth to old age, poverty to infirmity, family to bachelor, but without any brutality. The characters are located in a wooded clearing.
Around 1830, the painter Jeanron offers unpublished images to denounce the misery and growing pauperism in France. Workers' revolts multiplied and the society of the time began to become aware of the risks run by destitute children, such as abandonment and work from an early age in factories.
More classic, Aimée Brune Pagès takes up the compositions of family portraits in their garden which appear at the end of the 18th century.
Bibliography: "The age of reason seen by painters in the 19th century", Fournaise Museum, Chatou, catalog of the exhibition from May 5 to November 4, 2018 (p. 76 - 77)
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