Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

(1824 - 1898)
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes Vigilance Dated 1867

Biography

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes was a major decorative painter in nineteenth-century France. His work had an important influence on later artists such as Gauguin, Seurat, Denis, Matisse and Picasso. Puvis initially developed an interest in art after travelling in Italy. He spent two weeks in the studio of Eugène Delacroix and then trained under Thomas Couture, who had an important influence on his development. In 1864 he received his first public commission from the Musée Napoleon. Thereafter he exhibited regularly at the Salon and was a frequent member of the Salon jury. His most important decorative schemes were for the Sorbonne, the Hôtel de Ville and the Panthéon in Paris. He also produced a number of easel paintings which were sold through the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. He died in 1898.

Glossary terms

  • The representation of subjects or ideas by use of a device or motif to create underlying meaning. A literary and artistic movement that originated in France and spread through much of Europe in the late 19th century. There was no consistent style but rather an appeal to the idea of the artist as mystic or visionary and the desire to express a world beyond superficial appearances.