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François Bonvin

1817 Vaugirard – 1887 Saint-Germain-en-Laye

François Bonvin, a painter and etcher from humble origins, was largely self-taught as an artist. At the instigation of François Marius Granet he turned his attention to painting, scoring an initial succès d’estime at the Paris Salon of 1848. Bonvin’s talent was held in great esteem by critics and experts alike, although his reclusive nature meant that as an artist he was virtually unknown to the public at large. Bonvin, together with Courbet, is considered one of the foremost representatives of realism. He was greatly influenced by the Dutch 17th century masters as regards subject matter and painterly treatment. His small depictions of interiors illustrate everyday scenes from the lives of ordinary people and are distinguished by the high quality of the painting.