Adolphe Monticelli France

10-14-1824 Marseille, FRA - 6-29-1886 Marseille, FRA

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Monticelli, Adolphe

Adolphe Monticelli was born in Marseille in humble circumstances. He attended the École Municipale de Dessin in Marseille from 1842 to 1846, and continued his artistic training in Paris, where he studied under Paul Delaroche at the École des Beaux-Arts. In Paris Adolphe Monticelli made copies after the Old Masters in the Louvre, and admired the oil sketches of Eugène Delacroix. In 1855 he met Narcisse Diaz, a member of the Barbizon school, and the two often painted together in the Fontainebleau Forest. Monticelli frequently adopted Diaz's practice of introducing nudes or elegantly costumed figures into his landscapes.

Adolphe Monticelli developed a highly individual Romantic style of painting, in which richly colored, dappled, textured and glazed surfaces produce a scintillating effect. He painted courtly subjects inspired by Antoine Watteau; he also painted still life’s, portraits, and Orientalist subjects that owe much to the example of Delacroix.

After 1870, Adolphe Monticelli returned to Marseille, where he would live in poverty despite a prolific output, selling his paintings for small sums. An unworldly man, he dedicated himself single mindedly to his art.

The young Paul Cézanne had befriended Adolphe Monticelliin the 1860s, and the influence of the older painter's work can be seen in Cézanne's work of that decade. Between 1878 and 1884 the two artists often painted landscapes together, once spending a month roaming the Aix countryside.

Confronted with criticism of his style of painting Adolphe Monticelli himself remarked, "I paint for thirty years from now". In its painterly freedom Monticelli's work prefigures that of Vincent van Gogh, who greatly admired his work after seeing it in Paris when he arrived there in 1886. Van Gogh immediately adopted a brighter palette and a bolder attack.

Art Movement: Impressionism
Influences: Paul Delaroche, Eugène Delacroix
Influenced: Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh
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