Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier Biography | Oil Paintings
2-21-1815 Lyon, FRA - 1-31-1891 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
From his early school days Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier had a talent for drawing and painting, and by the age seventeen, his parents finally agreed to let him be an artist. With the recommendation of a second class Prix de Rome winner named Potier, he was admitted to the art studio of Léon Cogniet, he would also go to the Louvre museum to study the paintings of the Dutch masters, who also influenced his style.
Ernest Meissonier's work commanded enormous prices and in 1846 at the age of thirty-one, he purchased a large chateau in Poissy, known as the Grande Maison. Like Alexandre Dumas, he excelled at depicting scenes of gallantry and masculine adventure against a scenery from seventeenth and eighteenth-century life in pre-Revolutionary and pre-industrial France.
After some poor results with religious painting, under the influence of Paul Chenavard, he returned to the subject matter Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier was born to excel in, and exhibited with much success the Game of Chess, Painter in his Studio, and the Game of Bowls, works which show the finish and certainty of his technique, and assured his success. Ernest Meissonier became known as the French Metsu, a reference to the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Gabriel Metsu, who specialized in miniature scenes of bourgeois domestic life.
In 1859, Emperor Napoleon III, along with Victor Emmanuel II King of Piedmont and Sardinia, tried to oust the Habsburgs from their territories in northern Italy, Meissonier was appointed to illustrate scenes from the campaign, one of his oil paintings, Emperor Napoleon III at Solferino took Meissonier more than three years to finish.
In 1868 Meissonier sailed to Antibes attracted there for historical reasons, in 1794 Napoleon had been imprisoned in Fort Carré, and in 1815, returning from exile on Elba he had come ashore at Golfe-Jouan and the island of Sainte-Marguerite where the Man in the Iron Mask was detained.
Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier was part of Napoleon III Imperial staff and again accompanied him to Italy during the campaign of 1870. During the Siege of Paris 1870–1871 he was made a Colonel of a Regiment de Marche, one of the improvised units thrown up in the turmoil of the Franco-Prussian war.
Ernest Meissonier enjoyed great success in his lifetime, to appreciate the prices he commanded while he was alive, his oil painting Cuirassiers now in the collection at Chantilly, was bought from the artist in 1878 for £10,000 (equivalent of US$1.1 Million today), sold in Brussels for £11,000, and finally resold for £16,000 (equivalent of US$2.4 Million today).
Art Movement: Academic Art.
Artists Influencing Ernest Meissonier: Léon Cogniet.
He Traveled To Italy, Switzerland.
Painters Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier Influenced: Édouard Detaille, Daniel Ridgway Knight, Alphonse Moutte, Louis Monziès.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.