Catalogue of the Exhibition Horace Vernet


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Born into a family of artists, Horace Vernet was always a painter. By 1822, at the age of thirty-three, he was already famous, receiving commissions from the King's household. That year, however, his works were rejected at the Salon, because, in the midst of the Restoration, the artist had depicted tricolored cockades in his battle scenes. He then exhibited some fifty canvases in his studio, and achieved great success. Elected to the Institut in 1826, he became, against all odds, director of the French Academy in Rome in 1829.
Horace Vernet shared Théodore Géricault's enthusiasm for contemporary subjects - which he treated as history - and for English literature. His compositions, framing, rapid technique, and sometimes sketchy touch make him a major Romantic artist.
As his principal patron, the Duc d'Orléans, became King Louis-Philippe, Horace Vernet shifted from protest to glorification. He took on commissions for the Historical Galleries at the Palace of Versailles. In 1833, he discovered Algeria on an official trip. Fascinated, he captured the inhabitants in an apparent fidelity to reality that gave the illusion of truth. His gigantic canvases, which cover the walls of the African galleries, seduce with their martial enthusiasm as well as their picturesque anecdotes; they build an imaginary world that historians and art historians are endeavoring to decipher today.

With the supervision of Valérie Bajou
Co-published with Editions Faton, 2023
24 x 27 cm / 448 pages
ISBN 978-2-87844-344-8
Publication date: November 2023
Language: French