Adolph Von Menzel (1815–1905): Meissonier in his Studio in9/29/2021, 12:35:21 PM
Adolph Von Menzel (1815–1905): Meissonier in his Studio in Poissy (detail), 1869, Oil on panel, 21 x 29 cm. (8¼ x 11½ in.), Private collection . . This intimate snapshot of the painter Ernest Meissonier at work in his summer studio in Poissy, with Mme Meissonier and fellow painter Louis Ricard looking on, is at once a masterful evocation of the age and a symbol of the artistic fraternity that Paris fostered at the time. Menzel spent the summer of 1867 in Paris, and during the stay he visited French artist Meissonier (1815-91) several times at his house in Poissy. In the present oil, Meissonier is seen working on a watercolour (in my story ☝️ 👆). ️ Standing in the background and perusing what may be Meissonier's sketchbook is Ricard (1823-73), a renowned portraitist in his own right whose sitters included George Sand, Eugène Fromentin, and Menzel himself. 🖐️ (His pose very much resembles today's selfie scenes.. What do you think?) Menzel's painting is remarkably informal and unposed. He depicts the master utterly absorbed in his work, oblivious to his guests, his hair dishevelled, his smock crumpled. The atmosphere is of intense artistic concentration, its essence made more palpable by the small format of the work. Menzel depicts the studio not as an idealised, orderly setting, but as it really was, a working environment with all Meissonier's props and tools of the trade strewn pell-mell around the room. In his choice of viewpoint too, Menzel evokes a hermetically sealed world, the studio taking up almost the whole picture plane with the outdoor brightness seemingly introduced by the elegantly dressed visitors, Mme Meissonier and Ricard.