Jules-Joseph Lefebvre


Jules-Joseph Lefebvre (1836 - 1911)
[Jules Joseph Lefebvre]
Pupil of:   Leon Cogniet

France points with pride to Jules-Joseph Lefebvre as one of the foremost of her great figure painters, in many points the rival of Boughuereau, and in depth of sentiment and feeling undoubtedly his superior. Lefebvre was born in the Seineet-Marne, at Tournan, in 1836. At the age of sixteen he arrived in Paris, bearing a letter of recommendation from Monsignor Salinis, Bishop of Amiens, to Paulin Guerin, the professor of drawing at the Juilly school. Guerin introduced him to Leon Cogniet, who received him into his studio, where he commence to study. His only means of support was a pension granted him by the city of Amiens, of 1,000 francs per annum for five years. He hoped, before this term expired, to win the Prix de Rome, but was doomed to disappointmentThree times he competed for the prize and lost it. At the end of 1859 his pension expired, but he managed to sell a few pictures and paint some portraits. In 1860 he went up for the Roman prize once more, won it, and in 1861 set out for the Villa Medici, the headquarters of the French art school in the Eternal City. He received a Fist Medal at the Salon of 1865, others in 1868 and 1870, and the cross of the Legion of Honor in the later year. For his exhibits at the Universal Exposition of 1878 he received a Grand Medal and was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor. The following year, at the Salon, appeared his "Diana Surprised at the Bath."

Jules Lefebvre whose biography has already been given, presents in "Antique Poetry" a young girl who in a poetic competition has won the coveted wreath of honor. In the simple or antique times it was a wreath of fresh laurel. Later it became a wreath of silver in imitation of laurel. It is such a wreath that the figure in the picture means. The practice was continued into medieval times, especially in Italy and France, long after Christianity had spread over Europe and Paganism had completely disappeared from the civilized portions of the world.

Jules Lefebvre represents in "Salome," the daughter of Herodias, an essentially Semitic type of the antique period, with the sensuous and souless beauty of the tigress rather than the woman, bearing the charger which is to receive the head of John the Baptist, and the sword which is to decapitate him, as indifferently as if it were a dish of fruit.

[Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings:
LEFEBVRE, JULES JOSEPH, born at Tournan, March 14,1834. Genre and portrait painter, pupil of Leon Cogniet; won grand prix de Rome in 1861 for his Death of Priam. Medals: 1865, 1868, 1870; 1st class, 1878 ; L. of Honour, 1870 ; Officer, 1878. Works : Death of Priam, Christmas Eve (1861) ; Roman Charity (1864), Melun Museum Pilgrimage to Sacro Speco (1865), Benedictine Church at Subiaco ; Girl Asleep ( 1865) ; Nymph and Bacchus (1866), Luxembourg Museum ; Pius IX. at St. Peter's ( 1867) ; Woman Eeclining (1868), Alexandre Dumas ; Pascuccia (1869) ; Truth (1870), Luxembourg Museum ; La Cigale (1872) ; Portrait of Prince Imperial (1874) ; Slave carrying Fruits on a Tray (1874), Ghent Museum ; A Dream, Chloc (1875) ; Mary Magdalen ( 1876) ; Girl Laughing (1876), Amiens Museum ; ChloŽ, Young Bride (1878) ; Diana Surprised (1879) ; La Fiammetta, Undine ( 1881); The Betrothed (1882); Psyche ( 1883) : Aurora (1884) ; Laura (1885) ; Mi- rjnon, La Cigale, The Dew (La Rosťe), Wm. Astor, New York ; Mignon, W. H. Vander- bilt, ib. ; Graziella, Miss C. L. Wolfe, ib. ; Virginia, J. J. Astor, ib. ; Sposa da Torrente, ?. Vanderbilt, ib. ; Fruit Girl, M. Graham, ib. ; Truth, S. A. Coale, St. Louis ; Morning Glory, La Cigale, D. Catliu, ib. ; Evening, J. A. Scudder, ib.óBellier, i. 966; Montrosier, iL ; Gaz. des ?. Arts (1869), i. 504 ; Clare- tie, Peintres (1884), ii. 345 ; Art Journal ( 1883), 148. ]

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Vol. XIV.   March 1896.   No. 6.   p.647

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