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Léon Bonvin (1834–1866) (Hardback)

Drawn to the Everyday

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Art > Art History

Imprint: Paul Holberton Publishing
Pages: 304
Illustrations: 170
ISBN: 9782958323400
Published: 5th December 2022



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This beautiful publication presents a catalogue raisonné of Léon Bonvin’s work published in both French and English. Introduced by several illuminating essays and accompanying an exhibition at the Fondation Custodia, this book enriches our understanding of the previously overlooked, yet immensely talented, French artist. Léon Bonvin never enjoyed the same notoriety as his half-brother, Francois (1817–1887), who was a well-regarded realist painter in the nineteenth century. He is characterised from the few remaining sources as misunderstood and ill-fated. As he was struggling to make a living, Bonvin took over his father’s inn in Vaugirard, while continuing to paint watercolours. His work, depicting wild flowers, still lifes and views of the still rural and working-class plain exhibit a deep sincerity.


This catalogue raisonné is introduced by a series of essays, the outcome of intensive research that sheds new light on the life and art of Bonvin. Weisberg delivers two essays, a study of his career, and an exploration of contemporary receptions to his art. Luijten’s essay questions the artistic inspiration that Bonvin drew upon. Briggs considers the transatlantic appeal of Bonvin’s works whilst Guichané and Quentin explore his character and artistic practice. The catalogue documents all known works by the artist, which are scattered throughout public and private collections, mainly in the United States of America and France. Among these are many drawings which have never been published before. Together, the essays and comprehensive catalogue of his works, provide an essential foundational knowledge upon which an appreciation of Bonvin’s magnificent oeuvre may be built.

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