Albert Bartholomé
In the Greenhouse

In the Greenhouse
Albert Bartholomé (1848-1928)
In the Greenhouse
Circa 1881
Oil on canvas
H. 233; W. 142 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Dans la serre [In the Greenhouse]


Presented at the Salon of the Société des Artistes français in 1881, this portrait belongs to a style of painting inspired by Classicism, whilst also embracing Realist techniques and Impressionist innovations.

The painting is a frontal view of a young woman coming through the French windows into a shaded interior. The studied pose and the carefully selected clothes are in the tradition of ceremonial portraits. However, the chiaroscuro effect and bright colours applied with strong brushstrokes are very much an Impressionist technique, in the style of Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) for example. Then the realism and attention to detail recall the significant role of Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884) in the Salons of the second half of the 1870s.

These various contributing factors reflect the intellectual and artistic circles Bartholomé and his wife moved in. A number of very diverse artists and writers frequented their salon. The society portrait painter Jacques-Emile Blanche (1861-1942), the American painter Mary Cassatt (1845-1926), the Naturalist writer and critic Gustave Geffroy (1855-1926) and the Symbolist novelist Karl Huysmans (1848-1907) were all guests there, among many others. This was a happy time in the painter's life, brought to an end on the death of his wife in 1887.


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