Although Gustave Courbet is often seen as the primary Realist artist in France during the 19th century there were other creators who were both prolific and significant in fostering an art for man, an art for the people. Among these figures were François Bonvin (1817- 1887) and his friend and colleague Théodule Ribot (1819-1891) whose careers were both prolific and well appreciated at the time.
Working in all media Bonvin and Ribot were often seen by art critics of the nineteenth century as reincarnations of earlier artists, those painters who had worked in a realist mode in the seventeenth century in France, Holland or Spain. Bonvin was often dubbed the new “Chardin” and Ribot’s work was compared with the compositions of the Spanish painter tenebrist Jusepe Ribera. Although cognizant of these earlier masters Bonvin and Ribot were able to forge their own approach in paintings, charcoal drawings, watercolors and etchings contributing to the increasing revival of interest in many media. Focusing on the intimate scenes of daily life, Bonvin and Ribot extolled the virtues of a simple, humble existence. Their works that stressed quietude were well appreciated at the time entering into major private collections where they were often hung alongside works by Chardin or the Spanish masters of the seventeenth century.
Now, with the availability of a selection of works by Bonvin and Ribot from the Dhawan Collection, contemporary audiences will be able to learn anew about the evolution of nineteenth century realism.BEING REALIST is curated Dr. Gabriel P. Weisberg, an expert on nineteenth century realism and the author of basic texts on François Bonvin and Théodule Ribot. The exhibition which includes fifty works by these artists, in all media, examines the intimacy of their work and the importance these artists had in the expanding awareness of the evolution of the realist tradition. The exhibition is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions.