L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, October 28, 2016

Posing elegantly on the edge of revolution - genre paintings by Michel Garnier

La Rose mal défendue, 1789.

Michel Garnier (1753, Saint-Cloud - 1819, Paris), French painter. His father was employed by the duc d'Orléans, and Garnier went on to work for the duc and his son, the duc de Chartres (the infamous Philippe Égalité who voted for the death of Louis XVI); his earliest known work, dated 1781, is a portrait of the duc d'Orléans. He studied with the painter Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre and, from 1791 until 1814, he was an exhibitor at the Salon in Paris, mainly of genre subjects in the fashion established by such contemporary painters as Marguerite Gérard and Louis-Léopold Boilly. In spite of his connections to the Orléans family and other aristocratic clientele, he didn't seem to suffer during the Revolution, and continued to show at the Salon. Garnier also painted portraits and later, while living on the island of Mauritius between 1801 and 1810, he painted still lifes. In fragile health, he would return to France before his death at the age of sixty-six.

Garnier was one of the most successful of the petits maîtres who flourished during the fading days of the Ancien Régime and who depicted the lifestyles and morals of the upper/middle classes. Worked in a small format, his paintings are full of exquisite, fashionable furnishings and costume, his often doll-like figures going about their days in very chic Parisian interiors; the pursuit of love and its complications are the dominant themes here. (Indeed, many of his paintings carry a frankly erotic charge.) The narratives of his tableaux are rooted in the Rococo, but the often self-consciously dramatic poses of the characters, their arrangement in a relatively shallow pictorial plane, and the precision of detail and the purposeful treatment of light are a product of the Neoclassical; in fact, his work is an unlikely blending of these two radically different artistic movements.

Une élegante á sa toilette, circa 1788. (Usually captioned 1796, but I think that very unlikely.)
Ils sont d'accord, 1786.
Le Lettre, 1791.
La Jeune musicienne, 1788.
Le Départ du dragon, 1789.
Scène de reproches, 1794.
Le Contrat de mariage interrompu, circa 1789.
Le Départ de monsieur de Saint-Marc à la bataille de Fontenoy, 1788.
Jeune fille écoutant une conversation entre deux amants, 1789.
La Douce résistance, 1793.
Une Merveilleuse sous les arcades du Palais Royal, 1787.
Elégante regardant un portrait miniature, before 1792.


  1. Delicious, exquisite way of painting! Such talent.
    Thank you Stephen. I loved this!