The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand

Henry Pierre PICOU

Friday 11 March 2016, by Barbara Cogollos

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The painting that we propose is signed and dated ’Henri PICOU 1891 "lower right. It illustrates a purely pastoral topic quite unusual for him and although the main subject is the female body, it’s an end of career work. His artistic maturity is present through every brush stroke giving to this oil on canvas all its grace.

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This oil on canvas is the work of Henri Pierre PICOU. This French artist born in Nantes on February 27 and died on July 17, 1895 is one of the most prominent painters of the Second Empire.

He is a brilliant student at the School of Fine Arts in Nantes where he become friends with Jean-Leon Gerome and Gustave Boulanger. Together they defend an aristocratic conception of the artist, they distinguish themselves by a realistic form they consider trivial by taking reference to antiquity, mythology and historical compositions.

The PICOU career is launched immediately after leaving school, and from 1847 he begin to exhibit in the salons, he wins numerous awards especially in 1848 and 1857. Note that is the winner of the second prize of Rome in 1853 for his painting "Jesus driving out sellers from the temple."

He moves to a giant workshop on Boulevard Magenta in Paris in which he honors the commands. So he created a fresco for the church Saint Roch in Paris in 1854. He realizes some sumptuous paintings that decorate the mansion of the Marquise de Paiva at 25 Avenue des Champs Elysees where you can still admire his paintings.

It is important to note that PICOU is appreciated by his contemporaries and many of his works are widely available in the United States and Great Britain in the form of lithography.

With time his style mellows and if he continues to paint especially the female body, is now considered his style as a balance between the realism of Courbet and the symbolism of Puvis de Chavanne.

Henri Pierre PICOU is, nowadays exhibited in various prestigious museums; Dahesh Museum Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Nantes, or the Musée d’Orsay.

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