Gustave Colin

French, 1828-1910 Biography

A French painter and writer, Colin served his apprenticeship in 1847 at Arras, in the studio of the landscape painter Constant Dutilleux. Later, in Paris, he studied under Ary Scheffer and Thomas Couture. As was the case for many artists from Arras, he was in close contact with Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and influenced by his teaching.

In 1857, he made his début at the Paris Salon with Portrait of a Grandmother. He discovered the Pyrenees in 1858 and settled at Ciboure in the far Southwestern corner of France. He then painted landscapes, especially coastal views and bullfighting scenes, in which he captured a colorful atmosphere, highlighting momentary events and changing light. His brushwork became increasingly transparent, his drawing simpler and his palette richer. The heightened effect of these original compositions invites comparisons with the work of Edgar Degas.

In 1863, Colin exhibited at the Salon des Refusés, where Whistler was showing his Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl. He also showed five paintings in the first Impressionist exhibition. As a writer, he is remembered for his biography of Constant Dutilleux and an interesting article on Corot. He is recognized as an important link between the Barbizon school and the Impressionists and as one of the masters of plein-air painting. His compositions are fairly classical, his colors warm, and the brushwork free and strong. A general exhibition of his work was held at the Salon de la National in 1906.

Salon of Paris, France, 1857
Salon des Refusés, Paris, France, 1863
Salon de la National, 1906

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Arras, France
Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Bayonne, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Puy, France
Museum of Fine Arts, Neuchatel, Switzerland
Chateau de Pau, France
The Louvre, Paris, France
Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Reims, France

La Toilette (Avant le Bal)

Oil on canvas
42 ½ x 52 ¾ inches
62 x 75 inches framed
Signed lower right: Gustave Colin

Anonymous collection
Hammer Galleries, New York

Exposition des beaux-arts, Palais Rameau, Lille, France, August 25-October 31, 1881, no. 334
Vente Gustave Colin, 1886, no. 15
19th and 20th Century European and American Collection, 80th Anniversary, Hammer Galleries, New York, 2008, pg. 28-29

Tableaux par Gustave Colin. Hotel Drouot Sale. December 3, 1909.