top of page

Marie Joséphine Fesser: a friend for Jongkind...

Painter, born in Namur, Marie Joséphine Fesser (1819-1891) is the wife of the cook Alexandre Fesser. Around 1860, she met Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) in Nièvre where her husband practiced his profession. It was the beginning of a close friendship of more than 30 years and an incredible artistic bond for these almost twins who died the same year a few months apart.

Marie Joséphine Fesser. La neige à la Côte Saint-André. 1886. Hotel de Ville de la Côte Saint-André
Marie Joséphine Fesser. La neige à la Côte Saint-André. 1886. Hotel de Ville de la Côte Saint-André

When Marie Joséphine Fesser met Johan Barthold Jongkind in 1860, he lived miserably. He goes to her house regularly on rue Servandoni in Paris. The friendship that developed between the two artists and Marie Joséphine's son, Jules, helped Jongkind to regain a taste for painting.

Marie Joséphine Fesser. saint Parize le Châtel. 1863. Collection particulière
Marie Joséphine Fesser. saint Parize le Châtel. 1863. Collection particulière

The two painters will never leave each other. they often painted together, notably in Normandy, in Honfleur. They will stay every year in Nivernais, with Alexandre, Marie Joséphine's husband. After the latter's death, his son Jules bought a house in Isère at Côte Saint-André, Hector Berlioz's native village. He had a workshop set up for Marie Joséphine and Johan Barthold in the “Villa Beauséjour”.

Johan Barthold Jongkind et Marie Joséphine Fesser. Bateaux à Dordrecht. 1872. Collection particulière
Johan Barthold Jongkind et Marie Joséphine Fesser. Bateaux à Dordrecht. 1872. Collection particulière

From this haven of peace, the two friends will often travel to Paris, in the south, never stopping painting. But it was on the Côte Saint-André that they spent most of their time, from 1883, with a nice Parisian break to visit the Universal Exhibition of 1889.

Jongkind bequeathed 66 paintings and 121 watercolors to Marie Joséphine. This collection was dispersed after her death, a few months after that of her friend.

Castagnary wrote, about Marie Joséphine in 1863, the year of the Salon des Refusés: "She imitates Jongkind to a fault. Jongkind is a true artist but a bad example to follow...".


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the 19th century in France...



Comments


bottom of page