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François Bonvin

Still Life


François Bonvin
Vaugirard, Paris, 1817 – Saint-Germain-en-Laye 1887


Still Life


About 1870


Oil on canvas


37.6 x 46.1 cm


Gift of Dr. Francis J. Shepherd, inv. 1921.11


Western Art

François Bonvin was one of a group of artists who challenged the idea that still-life painting was a mode of artistic expression inferior to the lofty genre of history and religious painting. Bonvin championed the Realist conviction that everyday subject matter was the truest form of artistic expression. Fascinated by the work of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century still-life and genre painters, notably Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin, he was instrumental in the revival of attention to these artists in the nineteenth century. In this painting, the restrained palette, dominated by brownish and ruddy tones (today a little darkened through chemical changes in the paint), shows Bonvin’s careful study of Chardin’s subdued colour values.

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