Adolphe Monticelli

Adolphe Monticelli was born in Marseille, France, training as an artist in Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Paul Delaroche. In Paris he studied the Old Masters during visits to the Louvre, and particularly admired Eugène Delacroix. In 1855 he met Narcisse Diaz, a member of the Barbizon school, and the two often painted together in the Fontainebleau Forest. Monticelli frequently adopted Diaz's practice of introducing nudes or elegantly costumed figures into his landscapes. He developed a highly individual Romantic style of painting, in which richly colored, dappled, textured and glazed surfaces produce a scintillating effect. He painted courtly subjects inspired by Antoine Watteau, in addition to still lifes, portraits, and Orientalist subjects oweing much to Delacroix.

The young Paul Cézanne befriended Monticelli in the 1860s, and the influence of Monticelli's work on Cézanne's is evident during that time. His work also inspired Vincent van Gogh after he viewed it in Paris. The exposure to the Parisian art scene caused Van Gogh to immediately adopt the brighter palette for which he is now known. Of Monticelli, van Gogh later remarked, "I sometimes think I am really continuing that man." In homage to the artist, Van Gogh and his brother Theo were instrumental in publishing the first book to celebrate him in 1890.

Monticelli's reputation has continued to grown posthumously, and his work is held in important collections, including at one time, Oscar Wilde's.

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