Sunday, October 30, 2016

1610-1696: Louise Moillon, French

Louise Moillon was a pioneer in the development of still-life painting in France during the 17th century, specializing in arrangements of fruit.

Background: Louise was born and raised in Paris, one of seven children. She lived in a neighborhood of Paris that was an enclave of people from the southern Netherlands; from them she could have learned the techniques of still life, a popular form in the Netherlands, and they also provided a ready market for sober depictions of fruits and vegetables.

Training: Louise came from a family of artists and was exposed to the techniques of oil painting from an early age. Her father and stepfather were painters as well as art dealers, and her brother Isaac was one of the earliest members of the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.

Private Life: In 1640 Louise married a wealthy timber merchant with whom she had three children; that was effectively the end of her painting career.

Career: Although still life was considered a lowly genre in France, Louise made a successful career of painting fruits and vegetables. No one ever painted more luscious fruit, but her paintings tend to look much alike: always a simple, dignified composition with a dark, featureless background. She worked for the highest nobility in France, as well as King Charles I of England.

She sold her first still life—a bowl of peaches—in 1629. It created such a sensation that right away the royalty of France and England commissioned paintings. Her work was much in demand for about 10 years. About 40 works have been identified as hers.

My photos of Louise's work:

Still Life with a Basket of Fruit and a Bunch of Asparagus, 1630
Chicago / Jan's photo, 2010

Still-life with Fruit, c. 1637
Thyssen-Bornemisza / Jan's photo, 2015

Fruit, 1640
Grand Rapids / Jan's photo, 2013

Internet Example:

Moillon, Louise - The Fruit and Vegetable Costermonger - 1631.jpg
Louise Moillon, 1610-1696
The Fruit and Vegetable Costermonger, 1631
Web Gallery from Louvre Museum
Costermonger means street seller.