top of page
Léon Bonvin (1834–1866) Drawn to the Everyday

Léon Bonvin (1834–1866) Drawn to the Everyday


This beautiful publication presents a catalogue raisonné of Léon Bonvin's work published in both French and English. Introduced by several illuminating essays and accompanying an exhibition at the Fondation Custodia, this book enriches our understanding of the previously overlooked, yet immensely talented, French artist. 


Léon Bonvin never enjoyed the same notoriety as his half-brother, Francois (1817-1887), who was a well-regarded realist painter in the nineteenth century. He is characterised from the few remaining sources as misunderstood and ill-fated. As he was struggling to make a living, Bonvin took over his father's inn in Vaugirard, while continuing to paint watercolours. His work, depicting wild flowers, still lifes and views of the still rural and working-class plain exhibit a deep sincerity. 


This catalogue raisonné is introduced by a series of essays, the outcome of intensive research that sheds new light on the life and art of Bonvin. Weisberg delivers two essays, a study of his career, and an exploration of contemporary receptions to his art. Luijten's essay questions the artistic inspiration that Bonvin drew upon. Briggs considers the transatlantic appeal of Bonvin's works whilst Guichané and Quentin explore his character and artistic practice. The catalogue documents all known works by the artist, which are scattered throughout public and private collections, mainly in the United States of America and France. Among these are many drawings which have never been published before. Together, the essays and comprehensive catalogue of his works, provide an essential foundational knowledge upon which an appreciation of Bonvin's magnificent oeuvre may be built. 

  • Introductory texts by

    Jo Briggs, Maud Guichané, Ger Juijten, Michèle Quentin and Gabriel P. Weisberg 

    Hardcover, 280 x 210 mm 

    304 pages, 170 illustrations 

    ISBN: 978-2-958-323-40-0

  • Published by

    Fondation Custodia, Paris

    Distributed by Paul Holberton Publishing

  • About the authors

    Jo Briggs is Associate Curator at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Maud Guichané is Assistant Curator at the Fondation Custodia, Paris. Ger Luijten is Director of the Fondation Custodia. Michèle Quentin is a garden historian. Gabriel P. Weisberg is Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. 

bottom of page