Jean Georges Vibert France

9-30-1840 Paris, FRA – 7-28-1902 Paris, FRA

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Vibert, Jean Georges

Jean Georges Vibert maternal grandfather was the celebrated engraver Jean-Pierre-Marie Jazet and his paternal grandfather, Jean-Pierre Vibert was an important botanist who perfected new species of roses, one of which he named after Jean-Georges.

Jean Georges Vibert was more interested in painting than engraving and entered the studio of Félix-Joseph Barrias and eventually the École des Beaux-Arts when he was sixteen. He remained at the École for six years under the instruction of historic painter François-Edouard Picot. 

During the Franco-Prussian War, Vibert became a sharpshooter and was wounded at the battle of Malmaison in October 1870. Jean Georges Vibert was awarded the Légion d’Honneur and became a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in recognition of his sacrifice. Vibert won a medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1867. He became an Officier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1882.

Vibert submitted work to the Salon until 1899. The popularity of his works spread, notably in America, and fetched high prices including commissions from John Jacob Astor IV and William Vanderbilt.

Jean Georges Vibert gained great popularity with gently teasing depictions of high ecclesiastical officials, usually cardinals, in moments of leisure: reading, eating, or even blowing cigar smoke into the face of a parrot. He pursued a successful sideline as an actor and wrote articles on art for Century magazine. Vibert was also a founding member of the Société des Aquarellistes.

A large collection of works by Jean Georges Vibert was amassed by the heiress May Louise Maytag on behalf of then bishop of Miami Coleman Carroll, who greatly fancied them. This large cache was then donated to the Florida seminary St. John Vianney College in Miami. At this location the extremely impressive collection has had a somewhat checkered conservation history, as well as exhibition history due to the discomfiture of later bishops with the seeming anti-clericalism of the paintings.

Art Movement: Academic
Influences: Félix-Joseph Barrias, François-Edouard Picot

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