LEON AUGUSTIN LHERMITTE
A figure and landscape painter and etcher, Léon Lhermitte attended courses at the Ecole Impériale du Dessin and developed an innovative drawing method based on memory. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon in 1864 where he received a third class medal for his painting The Harvest in 1874. That same year, Lhermitte spent three months in the north of Brittany where he drew constantly, fascinated by the diversity of local customs. He returned there frequently until 1879, showing Breton subjects at the Paris Salon which revealed the influence of Corot, the Barbizon School and Jules Breton in his early work.
Around 1880, hoping to produce important work that would attract the attention of both the Salon jury and the public, he turned his attention to the works of Gustave Courbet and followed the teachings of Jules Bastien-Lepage. The majority of Lhermitte’s work was devoted to the themes of rustic life, subjects made popular by the Realists, championed by Millet and Courbet. In his drawings, Lhermitte achieved a masterful subtlety between light and shadow about which Théodore de Banville once remarked: In his hands charcoal and black are like magical tools. He exhibited at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts; Goupil Gallery; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Royal Academy; and Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers