Oil on canvas: 90,5 x 131 cm
Signed lower right ‘Outin’
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Pierre Outin’s father was a wealthy trader that did not approve of his son’s taste for art and drawing. Outin’s inclination for art began at the Moulins high school where he learnt to draw. His father wanted him “back on track” and sent him to work in England. He was still under 18 at his return in Paris and was soon hired in the silk trade, to his father’s satisfaction.
Outin was emancipated in 1861 and decided to quit his job. Thanks to family friend sculptor Charles Joseph Lecointe, the young man is accepted at the Cabanel’s studio. This Paris studio was run by Alexandre Cabanel and many important artists studied under him including Henri Le Sidaner, Aristide Maillol and Émile Friant. Outin turned out to be a very gifted pupil, and he won the first prize competition at the Fine Art School in 1863.
In 1868 he submitted this present painting as one of his first paintings to the Salon des Artistes in Paris. His paintings soon indicate his taste for genre scenes with historical connotation. From this moment, he becomes a Salon’s regular.
The young artist stayed in Algeria in 1874 for a long period of time. Outin is mesmerized by the African land, its cities colours, its luminosity spreading all over the streets and the oriental clothes. The surroundings are a change of scene for Outin and this strongly influences his work even after his return: we find a palette with richer and lighter shades.
Like many artists of his generation, he frequented the Nouvelle Athènes café and associates there with Manet, Pissaro and Goeneutte. In the context of the Paris Siege and the Commune, Outin settles in Auvers sur Oise with some of his friends. Whilst there, he paints the portrait of his painter friend Eugène Murer, which is now in the collection of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
During the 1880 Salon his painting “Autumn Race” is, according to art critic Maurice du Seigneur the “the work that most attracted visitors”. From then on, the artist walks off with medals and mentions until his famous and unrivalled painting “The Battle of Quiberon Bay” in 1889. He wins the same year the Honorable mention for his “Filial Piety”. Most of his works are purchased during his lifetime by art dealers Goupil and Valadon as well as English, American and German dealers.
The painter’s favourite themes are historical scenes, romantic genre scenes and a couple of orientalist works. The later paintings are directly stemmed from his long stay in Algeria.
Musée de Moulins
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes