European Art: 19th Century

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Portrait of a Man, 1889

Louis Anquetin

French, 1861-1932
Pastel on paper
24-1/2 x 20 in. (62.2 x 50.8 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1977.03.1.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

The sitter of Louis Anquetin’s portrait is unknown, but his seated position and profile pose are very familiar. Anquetin arrived in the French capital in 1882 and studied in two academic ateliers before settling in with a group of friends that included Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh and Émile Bernard. His artistic friendships had a greater influence on him, it seems, than his official studies did, as it was after his exposure to Japanese prints via van Gogh and his consideration of other so-called primitive sources with Bernard that Anquetin developed a style known as Cloisonnism. The term was coined because the artist used large areas of even color bordered by a distinct outline, usually black, an approach that resembled that of stained-glass windows and medieval enamel works. The aged sitter is presented in a hybrid academic-Cloisonnist style: the bulging forms of his arms, torso, head, neck and hands are firmly distinguished from one another by a single black or brown outline. Instead of being merely flat expanses of color, these areas are given volume through the careful employment of light and dark.

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