Still life fruit oil painting by listed French artist, Francois Bonvin (1817-1887). It is a beautiful oil on canvas laid on panel depicting a delicate still life of a pear, peach and grapes on a table. The work is beautifully executed and signed, lower right. Provenance: Private French collection. Canvas: 12.5"L x 9.5"H. Auction records for Bonvin to $120,000. Hang Your Investments on the Wall is an informative article from The Financial Times about investing in art.
François Bonvin learned to draw at a free course given in the Rue de l'École de Médecine, and after two years, forced to make his living, he became a type-setter, and then took a job in the Prefecture of Police. In his spare time he toured the museums, especially the Louvre, where he studied the Flemish and Dutch masters. He amassed sketches and watercolors of landscapes from life and portraits of the people he mixed with. In the evening he worked first at the Gobelins studio, and later at l'Académie Suisse. He first exhibited in 1847 with Portrait of the Historian Augustin Challamel, but the following year he began to specialise in genre painting in which he soon showed himself to be very skilful. His submissions of 1849 were the proof: Cook, Drinkers, and Piano won him a third-class medal. He decided to resign from the Prefecture in order to devote himself to an official commission, School for Orphan Girls, which received a second-class medal at the Salon of 1851 and some critical acclaim. His later submissions all contain interesting work: Charity (1859), Low Mass (1855), Letter of Recommendation (1859), Bar, an everyday scene perhaps copied from the establishment his father then ran in Vaugirard, Copper Fountain (1861), Apprentice Having his Lunch (1863), Pew for the Poor (1865), Grandma's Café (1866), Friars' School and Woman Washing Dishes, Pig (1875).
A friend of Courbet, he exhibited at the first Salon des Refusés. He also engraved a number of etchings. His visits to Flanders and Holland were especially happy times for him. In 1870 he was awarded la Légion d'Honneur. His life ended very unhappily. Despite an operation in 1881, his health deteriorated seriously and he lost his sight completely. He would have been reduced to penury had his friends and colleagues not organised a retrospective exhibition in May 1886 and an auction for his benefit in 1887.
Bonvin can be considered as one of the best genre painters of the 19th century. There are two stages in the development of his talent. First of all he was a disciple of the Flemish painters he copied in the Louvre in his realist paintings such as Drinkers of 1849, in which he uses colour generously and freely. Without entirely giving up this style, to which he was to return with Bar and Pig, he developed softer forms and a more intimate feeling. As a painter of interiors he could be called the new Chardin. His still-lifes are restrained and masterly in a way that is reminiscent of Baugin. From Chardin he borrowed a simplicity of composition and a truthfulness in colour. One of the attractions of his canvases is the great variety of light effects, sometimes bright, sometimes discreet and blurred, depending on the subject.
Dimensions: 17"L x 1.75"D x 14"H; Canvas: 12.5"L x 9.5"H
Condition: Very good, ready to hang
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Antique Still Life Oil Painting, Francois Bonvin (1817-1887)