ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, 1824-1898
Hope (1872), The Balloon (1871), La Toilette (1883)
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes is an artist I have only come across relatively recently, when I looked into the work of the Symbolists (being a huge fan of Klimt, Moreau and Munch). Puvis de Chavannes was born in Lyon, and decided to become a painter after an eye-opening trip to Italy in his early life. He studied in Paris under the tutelage of Eugène Delacroix and Thomas Couture, and made his Paris Salon debut in 1850 at the tender age of 25.
Puvis de Chavannes was on the earliest committee of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, a French exhibition society established in 1862. After the death of the society’s first president, Ernest Messonier, Puvis de Chavannes took over the prestigious role, with the sculptor Auguste Rodin acting as his vice-president.