(1841 - 1927)
Oil on canvas, signed. Painted c.1906.
Canvas size: 23.5 x 32in / 60 x 81cm
Frame size: 33.5 x 42in / 86 x 107cm
Private collection, France
Armand Guillaumin, Catalogue Raisonné de l’Oeuvre Peint, G Serret and D Fabiani, Paris, Editions Meyer 1971, reproduced n.680
Probably the most famous of the large group of Impressionists who never gained the recognition of their contemporaries such as Renoir, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, and Degas, Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin participated in six of the eight Impressionist exhibitions, and influenced the work of Pissarro, Signac, Cézanne, and van Gogh
Guillaumin was born in Paris in 1841. By 1857 he was studying art under the sculptor Caillouet, before continuing his training at the Académie Suisse, where he met Courbet and made lasting friendships with Cézanne, Oller, and Pissarro. Guillaumin exhibited in the first Salon des Refusés in 1863 together with Pissarro and Cézanne, and soon added Monet and Renoir to his group of friends. Between 1874 and 1886, Guillaumin participated in most of the Impressionist exhibitions, and by the time of the last exhibition was receiving critical acclaim. As the Impressionist group fragmented, Guillaumin used the opportunity to develop his painting on his own terms, eventually producing works containing strong, vibrant colours that anticipates the later work of the Fauves. During these years, he befriended Signac, mentoring him as he began to paint ‘en plein air’, and enjoyed regular visits from Van Gogh, who was living in Paris at the time.
Unlike most of the Impressionists, Guillaumin had no private income and was deeply poor. It remained extremely difficult to make enough money from selling paintings even after the Impressionist movement began to gain recognition and it was not until he won the substantial sum of 100,000 Francs in the lottery in 1891 that he was financially secure and able to paint freely without the worry of being able to quickly sell the work. Guillaumin used his new-found money to travel around France. By the late 1890s his palette had become quieter again, and interrupted only by the First World War, he continued to journey around the country until the age of 77. By the beginning of the Twentieth century, Guillaumin had settled into a painting style with which he was comfortable, and felt no longer felt the need to try to be part of the avant-garde. His later years were marked by a new wave of critical appreciation, his importance in the formation of the Impressionist movement finally recognised.