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.
by Jo Briggs, Maud Guichané, Ger Juijten, Michèle Quentin and Gabriel P. Weisberg
Hardcover, 280 x 210 mm
304 pages, 170 illustrations
Fondation Custodia, Paris
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.