Victor Gabriel Gilbert (1847-1933)

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Victor Gabriel Gilbert was a French, Realist painter known for his depictions of Parisian life in the early twentieth century. Gilbert commonly painted markets and vendors, as well as vagrants who made their homes in the streets. Like many Realists, Gilbert was involved in social issues and supported progressive politics.

Gilbert, The Flower Market

The Flower Market

Gilbert, Flower Market (Marche aux Fleurs)

Flower Market (Marche aux Fleurs)

Gilbert was born in Paris one year before the French Revolution of 1848, which brought significant changes to the country. During Gilbert’s lifetime the Salon system made it easier for artists to exhibit their work. Gilbert realized his interest in painting at an early age and began his training through an apprenticeship with the painter, Eugene Adam. While most art students studied at the Ecole des Beaux, Gilbert’s family could not afford to send him there. Gilbert eventually received some formal training after enrolling in night classes at the Ecole de la Ville de Paris.

Gilbert, Arranging Flowers for a Bouquet

Arranging Flowers for a Bouquet

Despite Gilbert’s limited academic study he was accepted into the Salon of 1873, exhibiting two paintings. During the following years, the art dealer, Père Martin, financially backed Gilbert. Martin supported many up and coming artists and early Impressionists in Paris. With the help of Martin, Gilbert was able to support himself and continue to exhibit his work.

Gilbert, Parisian Flower Market

Parisian Flower Market

As Gilbert became more established as a painter his subject matter shifted, from more commercial design work to still life paintings, and eventually to scenes of everyday life. Gilbert frequented the area of Paris known as Les Halles, filled with commerce and open air markets. Gilbert’s paintings continued be exhibited in the Salon, and in 1880, Gilbert won a second place medal. Gilbert’s prize painting was purchased by the State.

Gilbert, Gardening


Gilbert, Les Halles Centrales

Les Halles Centrales

Gilbert, Lady in a Garden

Lady in a Garden

Gilbert, The Fairgrounds at Porte de Clignancourt

The Fairgrounds at Porte de Clignancourt

Gilbert, The Horoscope

The Horoscope

Gilbert continued to be awarded for his excellence in painting throughout his career. In 1897 he was named the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. Several years later he received the Prix Bonnat. Gilbert not only exhibited in the Salon until 1933, but also served as a Salon juror.

While Gilbert is known for his work as a Realist painter, he was acquainted with many Impressionist artists such as Piere-Auguste Renoir. Gilbert also befriended the circle of prominent writers, which included Emile Zola.

Gilbert’s paintings are known in major collections in Europe and the United States. Gilbert’s paintings have been reproduced as prints and iconic images for decades. Do you think you may own a painting by Victor Gilbert? Contact us. We are the experts on Victor Gilbert.