Auguste Toulmouche Biography | Oil Paintings.

9-21-1829 Nantes, FRA – 10-16-1890 Paris, FRA

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Toulmouche, Auguste

Auguste Toulmouche studied drawing and sculpture in Nantes with the sculptor Amédée Ménard and painting with the portraitist Biron. Auguste Toulmouche at the age of seventeen left his hometown for Paris in 1846 where he entered the studio of the Swiss painter Charles Gleyre, later known for his training of many of the Impressionists painters. Gleyre’s gave Auguste Toulmouche guidance in the traditional French curriculum of learning to draw from classical plaster casts before learning to paint from live models. By 1848, at the age of nineteen, he had his Paris Salon exhibition and exhibited there also the next two years.

Be that as it may, 1848 was not a good year for starting a profession in any field other than the military. In just four years, France changed from a republic and reverted back to an empire when Napoleon III declared himself ruler in 1852. For Toulmouche, this unforeseen development was a blessing in disguise. At the 1852 Paris Salon, Auguste Toulmouche received a third class medal, but more importantly, his painting La Fille was bought by Napoleon III. The following year, Empress Eugénie was so pleased with Toulmouche’s painting The First Step, a domestic genre scene, that she too made a purchase, while Princess Mathilde bought After Lunch.

With his successes at the Salons and royal endorsement of his art, Auguste Toulmouche’s reputation was all but guaranteed. He continued to specialize in depictions of enchanting domestic scenes of mothers and children or of young ladies in the throes of various romantic dilemmas. This type of painting, referred to as Costume Painting, was purchased by both the middle class and upper class and brought Toulmouche professional success and critical acclaim. As an expert of Costume Painting, Toulmouche was one of a group of artists who changed the passionate expressiveness of earlier history painting to the depiction of romantic narratives based on day to day life. Toulmouche’s figures express a range of stylized gestures that would have been part of any theatrical play.

Auguste Toulmouche’s part in the historical backdrop of art cemented in 1861 when he married one of Claude Monet’s cousins exactly at the right time when Monet’s father was looking for someone to “supervise” Claude's art studies in Paris. Toulmouche’s reputation as a successful Salon painter made him the natural choice. When the twenty-one-year-old Claude Monet arrived in Paris late in 1862, Toulmouche guided him promptly to Gleyre's studio, Monet began his studies eagerly enough, but soon was unhappy with Gleyre’s insistence that he painted in the strict Academic style as opposed to painting the image as he actually saw it. In any case, it was at Gleyre’s studio that Monet met fellow students Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille, all of whom became his close friends. With respect to Toulmouche, he was happy to have placed his headstrong cousin where he could study art, while at the same time keeping peace in the family, unfortunately this was a double-edged sword because, with the rise of Impressionism in the 1870s, Auguste Toulmouche’s popularity suffered a decline from which it never recovered.

Art Movement: Academic Realism.
Artists Influencing Auguste Toulmouche: Charles Gleyre.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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