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Alphonse Osbert


Osbert’s (1857–1939) contemporaries already described his works using musical reference. The blue tones found in his paintings exude quiet piece and his thoughtful figures harmonize with their setting. As Osbert’s popularity grew his works appeared frequently in exhibitions and he was awarded several public commissions.

Osbert studied at the École des Beaux- Arts in Paris and in the studios of Henri Lehmann (where he befriended Georges Seurat), Fernand Cormon and Léon Bonnat. Probably encouraged by Bonnat, he was initially inspired by Spanish art, especially the work of Jusepe de Ribera.

He soon abandoned Naturalism and, responding to the influence of Impressionism, lightened his palette. By the end of the 1880s he had met a number of Symbolist painters, including Alexandre Séon and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Under Puvis’ influence he simplified his approach and began to specialize in poetic landscapes inhabited by classical muses. He experimented with Pointillism, but adopted a narrower range of colours, preferring to paint in cool, muted tones. He exhibited at Sâr Péladan’s Salon de la Rose + Croix in Paris from 1892 to 1896. He also received several commissions for mural schemes, including the thermal baths at Vichy in 1902.