The Deaths Of Henri Regnault

Hardcover | June 9, 2016

byMarc Gotlieb

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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.

Both an in-depth look at Regnault’s violent art and a vibrant essay on historical memory, The Deaths of Henri Regnault lays bare a creative legend who helped shape the collective experience of a generation.

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From the Publisher

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 ...

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.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 7 × 1.1 inPublished:June 9, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022627604X

ISBN - 13:9780226276045

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“The Deaths of Henri Regnault is a terrific achievement—a brilliant and highly original study not just of the short career of an ambitious Orientalist  painter, but equally of the complex and fascinating vicissitudes of Regnault’s reputation following his heroic death in the Franco-Prussian War. It’s hard to know what to praise more—Gotlieb’s superb analyses of key paintings in the light of contemporaneous art criticism, his wide-ranging discussion of the larger context of the Orientalist obsession with light, or his painstaking and continually surprising excavation of responses to Regnault’s art and death from the 1870s to the present.”