Studio: international art — 14.1898

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The Three Vernets

The three vernets —


Now that the proposal is on foot to
erect a monument in Paris in memory of these three
remarkable artists—grandsire, son, and grandson
—the exhibition of whose works at the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts has proved so eminently successful,
the moment seems opportune to give a rapid
portrait sketch of each of the three Vernets, with a
brief analysis of their respective works.* Thanks
to the great kindness of the Vernet family, I am
now able, even within the small space available in
a magazine article, to give various hitherto private
and unpublished biographical details, and also to
supplement my notes with several reproductions
of works never before seen in this form, works
moreover thoroughly well calculated to give a just
idea of the rare and exclu-
sive genius of each of these

Avignon was the cradle of
the Vernet family, and the
town museum piously pre-
serves a large series of draw-
ings by Joseph, together
with some of his oil paint-
ings, and also a few pictures
by his father, Antoine Vernet
(1689-1753). Thus Joseph
(1714-1789) was not, as is
generally imagined, the first
painter in the family. An-
toine Vernet achieved great
local celebrity; indeed, his
charming decorative paint-
ings on the panels of sedan-
chairs, and his flower-pieces
are still highly esteemed by
the genuine amateur. But
his fame was not destined
to spread far beyond the
boundaries of Provence; it
was for his son that swift
and world-wide celebrity was

Nature lavished her gifts
with a prodigal hand on

* At the time of this exhibition
the author of this article pub-
lished an important work upon
the Vernets, illustrated by means
of numerous wood-engravings.


Antoine Vernet. At the end of thirty years of
married life he found himself the father of thirty-
two children, Joseph being the second, and the
eldest of the boys. At five years of age the child
began to draw in his father’s studio, and at eight he
was assisting his parent in various decorative works.
But in a few years Joseph Vernet’s genius was
cramped by this collaboration in a style of work
which was not his own, and he sighed for wider
fields, larger spheres than those to which he had
been hitherto limited, under this kindly paternal
influence. Antoine Vernet realised too that he
could no longer keep his son a mere decorator,
nor restrain his natural impulses, so he sent him
to Aix to study with Jacques Viali, a painter of
landscapes and sea-pieces. This was in 1732,
Joseph being then eighteen years of age. In 1734,
with the assistance and encouragement of several
noble patrons in Avignon, notably the Marquis de

• a



T-T-S*. ■


[Never previously published)
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