Alphonse Osbert (1857-1939)
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Alphonse Osbert was a French Symbolist painter known for his beautifully executed landscapes and genre scenes. He was touted by his contemporaries as a visual poet and a “painter of evenings” and was praised for his ability to create mood and mystery in his paintings. In particular, Osbert was fond of painting scenes of women admiring the sunset, and he created many that were quite similar throughout his career.
Osbert initially trained at the École des Beaux-Arts and studied under Henri Lehmann and Leon Bonnat. During this time, he studied and admired the works of 17th century Spanish Realists, which was apparent in his first compositions submitted to the Salon of 1880. Impressionism, however, was becoming very popular and influenced Osbert to lighten his color palette dramatically. Though he was never a true Impressionist, he employed a number of their techniques, such as pointillism and creating plein air landscapes, which is the practice of painting outside and away from the studio.
Towards the beginning of the 1890s, Osbert began to associate himself with Symbolist poets, writers, and artists, including painter Puvis de Chavannes. It was de Chavannes that influenced Osbert to adopt a poetic style of painting including simplified landscapes and dreamlike, otherworldly subjects. It was Osbert’s goal to purvey inner thoughts and feelings with symbolic elements in his compositions using mystery, color, and light.
Osbert typically employed saints, lambs, and muses to convey his messages in his paintings, which were beautifully executed in blue, silver, violet, and yellow. He would employ pastels and oils to create his beautiful and dreamlike compositions, many of which had an almost misty and ghost-like quality.
His paintings were praised by his fellow Symbolists and were often used as counterparts and illustration for poems by Paul Verlaine and Stephane Mallarme.
Today Osbert’s paintings are housed all over the world and perhaps, in your own home. Still wondering about a French Symbolist painting hanging in your wall? Contact us… we are the Alphonse Osbert experts.