[UCP Books]: The Deaths of Henri Regnault
“It would be hard to think of another book that encompasses the oeuvre, career, and reputation of a particular artist, let alone one that handles the topic with such archival perspicuousness, better than Marc Gotlieb’s study of the ups and downs of Henri Regnault. It is nothing short of a tour de force.” Hollis Clayson, author of Paris in Despair
By Marc Gotlieb
|US Publication Date: June 27, 2016||Cloth $60.00 / £42.00|
|International Publication Date: July 25, 2016||ISBN-13: 978-0-226-27604-5|
This is the first book in English on Henri Regnault (1843–71), a forgotten star of the European fin-de-siècle. A brilliant maverick who once seemed to hold the future of French painting in his hands, Regnault enjoyed a meteoric rise that was cut short when he died at the age of twenty-seven in the Franco-Prussian War. The story of his glamorous career and patriotic death colored French commemorative culture for nearly forty years—until his memory was swept away by the vast losses of World War I. In The Deaths of Henri Regnault, Marc Gotlieb reintroduces this important artist while offering a new perspective on the ultimate decline of nineteenth-century salon painting.
Gotlieb traces Regnault’s trajectory after he won the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome, a fellowship that provided four years of study in Italy. Arriving in Rome, however, Regnault suffered a profound crisis of originality that led him to flee the city in favor of Spain and Morocco. But the crisis also proved productive: from Rome, Madrid, Tangier, and Paris, Regnault enthralled audiences with a bold suite of strange, seductive, and violent Orientalist paintings inspired by his exotic journey—images that, Gotlieb argues, arose precisely from the crisis that had overtaken Regnault and that in key respects was shared by his more avant-garde counterparts.
Marc Gotlieb is the Class of 1955 Professor of Art at Williams College and director of the Williams College / Clark Art Institute graduate program in the history of art. He is the author of The Plight of Emulation: Ernest Meissonier and French Salon Painting.
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