The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
While his contemporaries were rebelling against the constrictions of
academia, Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (1852-1929) was absorbing its
lessons like a piece of unprimed canvas: he studied eight years at the École
des Beaux-Arts in Paris, most of them in the atelier of Jean-Leon Gerome.
And if his training was thoroughly academic, so would be his work throughout
his life. Unlike the Impressionists—Post- and Neo- included—among
them Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Renoir, Gauguin, and Seurat, Dagnan-Bouveret
seems never to have been even tempted to question the official canons laid
down by the Salon. Officialdom rewarded him. In 1875, only a year after the
Impressionists—prompted by their frustration over failing to gain recognition
at the official Salon—had held the first of their eight independent
exhibitions, the 23-year-old Dagnan-Bouveret had two drawings accepted at
the Salon; three years later he won a third-class medal. In the meantime,
he had also won first place for figure drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts
and second place in the Prix de Rome competition and had had one of his paintings
purchased by a state museum. When his own inevitable revolt did come, it was
not against the academy or the style it imposed, but against what he called
"modernism." Dagnan-Bouveret would remains its staunch opponent all his life.
Southgate MT. Woman From Brittany. JAMA. 2002;287(18):2327. doi:10.1001/jama.287.18.2327
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