Courting Scene, French Countryside, Adrien Moreau (1843-1906)


Oil on cradled panel measures 24″ x 18.25″
Signed lower right
Fine gold frame measures 28″ x 22.25
Painting and frame in very good condition-faint stable craquelure

Availability: In stock

Born in Troyes in 1843, the popular French genre and landscape painter Adrien Moreau studied under the academic artist Isidore Pils (1813-1875). Pils also went into the genre of battle painting but continued with regular genre pieces, for instance, Rouget de Lisle Singing the Marseillaise for the First Time. He received commissions from Napoleon III and painted the ceiling over the grand stairway at the new Opera House.

Moreau exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1868. Eight years later he won a Second Class Medal for Repose at the Farm and Medieval Fair. In 1877 he exhibited The Gypsies and Under the Shrubbery. A year later came Gypsies at Granada and The Minuet. That year he won the Goldene Erzherzog Carl Ludwig Medal at the Vienna Annual Show (Wiener Jahresausstellung). Another painting, dated 1885, called May Day was exhibited alongside of Plowing the Fields (44 x 66 in.). Later in 1892 Moreau was awarded the coveted Legion of Honor award and he became active in illustration. Voltaire’s Candide (1893), Hugo’s Ruy Blas (1894) and Balzac’s Les illusions perdues (1898) are a few of the classics for which he provided illustrations.

At the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago’s Art Palace, Moreau’s The Bath was part of the French Section. It shows a group of quiet children along the bank of a lake. One of the boys is already waist-deep in the water while the other is disrobing. The girls seem more hesitant. The painting (known in an engraving of 1896), appears to have been painted in the gray-day lighting of Bastien-Lepage. At the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900 Moreau’s Autumnal Harmony was on view. It shows a group of musicians and a soloist on the lyre in the middle ground with a peacock in the foreground.

Clarence Cook chose to illustrate Moreau’s The Courtship, an historical genre piece in which the younger man on the right woos the attractive young woman. At the table are the man’s father, the young lady’s sister and another older gentleman: “A gentle feeling of ennui so pervades the picture. . . .” (Cook, Art and Artists of Our Time, 1888). Several of Moreau’s paintings are housed in French museums: Evening (Musée de Carcassonne); Galant Remarks, Country Dinner and Coconut Salesman (Musée de Nantes); and In the Park (Musée de Troyes). Among American collectors, John Jacob Astor owned The Wedding Party and Moreau’s Lady in Wheatfield was part of R.L. Cutting’s collection.

Submitted by Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.