Figurative Art: The Reader by Jean-Jacques Henner

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Figurative Art: The Reader by Jean-Jacques Henner

Jean Jacques Henner has been called the Titian of modern art, and in the sense of a grand devotion to color and a wonderful power in the painting of the nude figure he has a certain sympathy with the Italian master. But he is also a portrait painter and a painter of religious subjects of supreme force.

He is the son of a poor workingman, a carpenter, of Bernviller in Alsace, and tells with pride and reverence how his father worked far into the night and stinted himself even in the necessaries of life to make an artist of him. The old man was amply repaid when his son became famous and rich.

Henner studied drawing first under Charles Goutzwiller, at the seminary at Altkirch, and from there passed into the studio of the painter Gabriel Guerin in Strasburg. From Strasburg he went to Paris, where he had Drolling and Picot for masters, and in 1858 the old father had no longer the necessity to assist him.

In that year he won the Prix de Rome, and for four years was supported by the French Government while he continued his studies. “Sleep” was his Salon picture for 1880 and was the success of the year. He commenced to win his medals in 1863, and has now taken a full series; he has been an Officer of the Legion of Honor since 1878, in which year he took a first-class medal at the Universal Exposition.

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