Lucien Simon (1861-1945) belonged to the group of French painters. He studied in Paris with Didier and Robert-Fleury at the Académie Julian. He was mainly interested in portrait and religious representations. Together with Charles Cottet and Andrè Dauchez (his brother-in-law, a Breton painter) they formed the “black school of painting” – La Bande Noire. They were inspired by Impressionist painting, but used a much darker palette. They showed views of Brittany, the austerity and religiosity of the daily life of its inhabitants, which Simon had the opportunity to meet during his first stay in this region of France in 1890. *
Description of the painting:
Two paintings, two group portraits, undoubtedly inspired by Manet, present allegories of the arts: “Music” and “Painting”.
At first glance, it seems that these works are completely different, as their titles also suggest. However, when we look at the characters in both paintings, we can observe their undeniable similarity. The man listening to the violin in the allegory of “Music” is the same person who plays the role of the painter in the second representation. The woman playing the instrument has the same features as the mother holding her daughter on her lap in the “Painting” painting. This man is the author of the work himself – Lucien Simon, the woman – his wife Jeanne, Andre Dauchez’s sister, Lucien’s pupil (you can also see his paintings in our Gallery). Dauchez, Lucien and the well-known to you creator of “Happy Evening in Brittany” – Cottet, is a group of founders of the “black school of painting”. The wife of the painter Lucien, whom we see in both representations, was also a painter, although women rarely gained recognition as artists. From the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Lucien, four descendants were born, two of whom also devoted themselves to artistic activities.
But apart from the identical characters captured on both canvases, the paintings have something else in common. The Odet river drawn in the background of the Breton landscape. Reflected on countless representations as often as the characteristic Breton coastal landscapes.
The members of the “Black Band” created in Brittany. A region covering the Breton Peninsula, located in the northwest of France, distinguished not only by its geographical location, but also by its different culture. Painters came here mainly to observe nature and people. However, this place often became so close to them that they decided to settle there permanently. Their unconditional attachment to Brittany was manifested primarily in their work. It was no different in the case of Lucien Simon.