MARIE FRANÇOIS FIRMIN-GIRARD
Signed 'Firmin-Girard' bottom left, oil on panel
14 3/4 x 21 1/4 in. (37.5 x 54cm)
Executed circa 1900.
Private Collection, Pennsylvania.
(Possibly) Salon, Paris, 1902, (no. 420, p. XII in the Catalogue Illustré).
Born near the Swiss border in France, Firmin-Girard relocated to Paris at the age of sixteen, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, eventually becoming a pupil to famed Orientalist painting, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). As the 1870s brought Impressionism to the fore, Firmin-Girard began painting his landscapes and genre scenes in a style meant to capture the moment, using colorful brushstrokes that aimed at representing the shifting of light and producing thicker, visible impasto. The artist's quintessential cityscapes, such as the present lot for instance, often incorporate interesting perspectives, with distinctive vantage points and vanishing points. While he does present highly recognizable and famous buildings, such as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in the center of the scene, the unique angle of the road as it passes through the canvas and dissipates in the far right corner makes this painting more than an average representation of the heart of Paris. Featuring street vendors, laborers, and bustling city dwellers, the vignette is a pleasing rendition of a picturesque Parisian day. The painting probably dates from the early 1900s, when Firmin-Girard painted many views of Paris, including Place Pigalle, all reminiscent of Italian vedute and meant to glorify Paris rather than its inhabitants. The figures depicted here are more a part of the urban landscape that close-up subjects, which was not the case in the artist's earlier views of Paris such as Le Quai aux fleurs in 1876.
We wish to thank Mr. Patrick Faucheur, great-grandson of Marie François Firmin-Girard, for kindly confirming the authenticity of this lot, which will be included in his forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of the artist's work.
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