"The Greatest Painter in the World" Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815-1891)
"One of the un-constestable masters of our epoch." "All of us will be forgotten, but Meissonier will be remembered."
-Eugène Delacroix, Painter and Friend of Meissonier
-- "His presence will be assured in the museums of the future."
-Théophile Gautier, Nineteenth Century Critic
-- "One of the greatest glories of the entire world."
-Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany
Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815-1891) Self-portrait (1889) Oil on canvas
In his book, The Judgment of Paris--which I have referred to on more than one occasion on this blog--Ross King explores how one of the world's formost painters could become nearly anonymous nearly 100 years after his death.
Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815-1891). The Siege of Paris (1876) Oil on canvas. Private collection.
Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier was the highest paid painter of his day. His paintings, which often took years to paint, were unveiled to huge crowds and discussed in international newspapers. The list of people buying his painting reads like a who's who of late-nineteenth-century, European money and power.
Now, he is primarily remembered as a "costume painter."
Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815-1891). The French Campaign (1861) Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
In short video interview, Ross King talks about Meissonier and his fall into obscurity (Click here to see the video.)