Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Pre-Impressionists: Charles Jacque and Léon Jacque

Hello everyone. I'm not intending to revive this blog, as I simply don't have the time, but I have found a few posts that are so nearly complete that it seems a shame not to post them. So here's an addition to the posts I made about Barbizon artists quite a while back.

The Jacque brothers, Charles Émile and Léon, are minor figures in the Barbizon School compared to Corot, Millet, Rousseau, and Daubigny, but their art has an honesty and charm that still keeps it alive today. Charles Émile Jacque was born in Paris in 1813, and died there in 1894. The younger brother Léon Jacque was born in 1828, and surprisingly his date of death appears to be unknown. I haven't come across any work by Léon Jacque after 1872, so I would hazard a guess at a death in the early 1870s. The whole Jacque family seem to have been artistically gifted; there are also Charles Jacque's sons Émile, Frédéric, and Maurice, and a Marcel Jacque who seems to be some kind of relation.

Léopold Massard, Charles Émile Jacque
Etching, 1884

Charles Émile Jacque was born and died in Paris. Charles was apprenticed to an engraver of maps at the age of 17; wishing to become an artist, he made his first original etching at this period, a head of a woman after Rembrandt. Unable to support himself as an artist, Charles Jacque then joined the army for a period of seven years, taking part in the siege of Anvers. During this time Jacque continued making drawings, which he sold for a franc apiece. After a further two years as a wood engraver in England, Charles Jacque returned to France, and established himself in Paris.

Charles Jacque, L'escalier
Etching, 1845

Charles Jacque, Les Gaudes
Relief etching (procédé Comte), 1852

Charles Jacque, A Cottage
Etching, 1865

Charles Jacque, La fenêtre de l'auberge
Etching after Adraen van Ostade, 1845

Charles Jacque
Etching after Meindert Hobbema

William Brassey Hole, Le retour du troupeau
Etching after Charles Émile Jacque, 1888

Charles Jacque made his Salon debut with etchings in 1845. Jacque became a prominent member of the group of plein-air landscape painters known as the Barbizon School. He was particularly close to Théodore Rousseau, and influenced by Millet, who was his neighbour at Barbizon for many years.

Léon Jacque, L'étable
Etching, 1864

Léon Jacque, Environ de Fontainebleau
Etching, 1864

Léon Jacque, Pensée amoureuse (femme de profil cousant)
Etching after Edmé Bouchardon, 1864

Léon Jacque exhibited at the Salon de Paris for only a brief period, from 1864-1866, and contributed original etchings to the revue L'Artiste between 1863 and 1872. His brief career seems to have been lived very much in his older brother's shadow, yet Léon Jacque was a very accomplished artist in his own right. I wish I knew more about him.

Marcel Jacque, La bouillie
Etching after Jean-François Millet, date unknown

I would guess the etching above, made  by Marcel Jacque in facsimile of the original 1861 etching by Millet, dates from around the mid-1890s, when Eugène Delâtre commissioned various artists to create loving facsimiles of Millet's etchings, the original plates being no longer available. I'll reproduce more of these when I get round to Millet in this series of posts on the Pre-Impressionists.

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