Sunday, June 27, 2010


Gustave Boulanger (1824-1888)
From Mémoires du pays de Glux

Gustave Clarence Rodolphe Boulanger
Source ARC
From Wikipedia

Boulanger, born in Paris, lost both his parents when he was fourteen. He was taken in by an uncle who sent him to Algeria where he did many studies of its exotic landscape and the people. When he returned to Paris, Boulanger became a student of Pierre Jules Jolivet and also studied with Paul Delaroche. In 1846 he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts, and was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome in 1849.
Boulanger first exhibited the Salon de Paris in 1848 where his two paintings, A Moorish Café and Indians Playing with Panthers, caused a sensation.....

The Flute Concert
From Wikimedia

Theatrical Rehearsal in the House of an Ancient Rome Poet
Oil on canvas, 1855
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
From Web Gallery of Art

Boulanger’s knowledge of the ruins at Pompeii, which he visited while studying at the Ecole de Rome, gave him ideas for many future pictures, including the Rehearsal in the House of the Tragic Poet (above), in which the influence of Stratonice is still obvious. This was later developed into the Rehearsal of the ‘Flute Player’ and the ‘Wife of Diomedes’ (1861; Versailles, Château), which recorded the preparations being made for a performance given before the imperial Court in Napoleon’s mock-Pompeian Paris house. Boulanger specialized in painting studies of daily life from ancient Greece and Rome, as well as Arab subjects. He also painted a number of decorative schemes, at the theatre of the Casino in Monte Carlo (1879), at the Paris Opéra (1861–74) and other locations, opportunities gained through his friendship with CHARLES GARNIER, his fellow pensionnaire at the Ecole de Rome. He entered the Institut de France in 1882 and became an influential teacher, well known for his dislike of the Impressionists and their successors.

An Arab Horseman
Oil on canvas, 1865
Private collection
From ARC

C'est Un Emir
Oil on canvas, 1870
Private collection
From ARC

Reception Of An Emir
Oil on canvas, 1871
Private collection
From ARC

A Tale of 1001 Nights
Oil on canvas, 1873
Private collection
From ARC

Traveling with the Prized Horse
The Return
Oil on Canvas
From Rafael gallery

La Cour du Palais de Dar Khdaouedj El Amia, Alger
Oil on canvas, 1877
Source The Artbook
From Wikimedia

La Cour du Palais de Dar Khdaouedj El Amia, Alger (above) is undoubtedly Gustave Boulanger's masterpiece and one of his most mature, elaborate and detailed compositions. However, no records of its commission have been found, and scarce records of its history are available. In fact, during the last decade, La Cour du Palais de Dar Khdaouedj El Amia, Alger has resurfaced at auction with different titles, yet never with the proper identification of the landmark building depicted.
Boulanger, a great enthusiast of the Middle East, traveled to the region for the first time in 1845, and executed numerous detailed sketches of the places he visited. The courtyard of the palace in the present work is arguably the most famous landmark in the coastal city of Algiers in Algeria. The history of the palace of Dar Khdaouedj El Amia suggests that around the time of Boulanger's visit to the French Colony of Algeria the building would have been open to the public or to privately arranged visits, especially to French travelers…..
Scenes depicting palace courtyards in Algeria and Morocco with lounging men, and singing and dancing women were a favorite of many Orientalist artists. Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Jan-Baptist Huysmans, and Antonio Maria Fabres y Costa are other influential Orientalists to name a few who have also used these settings in their paintings. Such compositions were extremely popular for they allowed artists to represent the exotic luxuries of urban life in North Africa through splendid objects and exquisite architecture.
Boulanger was a Professor at the École des Beaux Arts and at the Académie Julian. He was elected to the membership of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1882. Boulanger’s work is found in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris; the Hermitage in St. Petersburg; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Cleveland Museum of Art; as well as museums in Amiens, Narbonne, Dunkerque, Rennes, and Vire. The Flute Lesson, perhaps his best known work, is in the Museum of the Château of Versailles. He painted the mural decorations of the foyer of the Paris Opéra.
Boulanger had a direct influence on American art in that he taught some of its most prominent 19th century artists, including Edmund Tarbell, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, and George Hitchcock.

A Woman with an Urn
Oil on canvas, 1888
Private collection
From ARC

Gustave Clarence Rodolphe Boulanger in his studio, 1888
Photograph attributed to Auguste Giraudon

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