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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Decorative white women - genre paintings by Charles Baugniet

Baugniet's paintings are a perfect late nineteenth-century example of the sort of very pretty genre pieces that were popular for - literally - centuries. Attractive upper middle class people, predominantly female, acting out the petty joys and dramas of their patently artificial lives. Always fashionably dressed, always ensconced in the most fashionable interiors. Usually rather insipid, at best, and quite often toothache-inducingly sugary and vulgar, or even mildly salacious. Baugniet's are quite a bit better than most. The situations are just as false and coy, but his characterizations are more naturalistic and sober. He displays restraint and taste in color and detail. His draftsmanship, use of light, and descriptive abilities are rock-solid. And his handling of drapery is superb. All of these paintings have obvious and rather pointless titles, and all are from the very end of the 1860s into the 1870s.

La Leçon de dessin (The Drawing Lesson).
Fabulous details and drapery.
Les Primeurs au printemps (Spring's New Arrivals).
La Lettre (The Letter).
Memories, or Consolation.
La Convalescente (The Convalescent).
Father's Favorite Chair.
After the Ball.
Honoring George Washington with a Laurel Wreath on his Portrait.
Eavesdropping, or Behind Closed Doors.
The Love Letter. (The young lady in mauve doesn't look particularly happy about the contents of the "love letter"...?)
Again, the rendering of fabric/drapery is wonderful.


Charles-Louis Baugniet (27 February 1814, Brussels - 5 July 1886, Sèvres), Belgian painter and lithographer. He attended the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels for two years, beginning in 1827, and his first attempts at lithography date from that same year. His reputation grew steadily with the appearance of his first portraits in the magazine L'Artiste in 1833. Two years later he began a collaboration with Louis Huard to produce a series of portraits of the Belgian House of Representatives. (Huard finished only six portraits, with Baugniet completing the remainder, only finishing in 1842.) This project was followed in 1836 by a series of thirty portraits of contemporary artists: "Les Artistes contemporains". He was commissioned to do portraits of the Belgian Royal Family, and this led to his appointment as court painter in 1841. In 1843 he moved to London where he became a popular society portrait painter. Baugniet also designed the first Belgian postage stamp which began circulation on 1 July 1849; the stamp depicted Leopold I, King of the Belgians, after a painting by another artist. Baugniet settled in Paris in 1860. The invention and development of photography rapidly stifled the market for lithographic portraits, forcing many of Baugniet's colleagues to become professional photographers. Baugniet however concentrated on producing portraits and elegant genre paintings, the latter enjoying great popularity, a popularity which bridged the fall of the Second Empire and rise of the Third Republic. He died in a suburb of Paris at the age of seventy-two.

1 comment:

  1. Every single one of these women depended on Laudanum to make it through the day. And who could blame them.