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The Forgotten: Léon Auguste Ottin

In the series of forgotten painters from the first exhibition of the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Peintres, Sculpteurs et Graveurs in 1874, this fourth article evokes Léon Auguste Ottin (1836-1918). The latter exhibits 6 paintings there, and appears there at the same time as his father, Auguste Ottin (1811-1890), the only sculptor to have participated in this event.

Édouard Beliard. Le moulin de Chauffour. Effet de neige. 1876-1878. Musée intercommunal d'Étampes
Léon Auguste Ottin. Le quai du Louvre. 1884. Musée Carnavalet

A pupil of Lecoq de Boisbaudran where he met Henri Fantin-Latour, Léon Auguste Ottin exhibited at the Salon des Refusés in 1863 and took part in the Commune in 1871.

He will present paintings at the first two Impressionist exhibitions in 1874 and 1876. In his silky style devoid of frank breaks, the artist will represent many views of Paris, the Seine, the Butte Montmartre.

Édouard Béliard. Le Quai du Pothuis à Pontoise. Effet de neige. 1875.
Léon Auguste Ottin. La plage d'Etretat. 1888. Collection. P. Fonteneau

In this view of Etretat, the almost photographic composition plays on the complementary colors of blue and orange, while the horizon tilted to the right gives this canvas a dreamlike character.

Léon Auguste Ottin. Déchargement sur les quais de la Seine. 1886. Collection particulière
Léon Auguste Ottin. Déchargement sur les quais de la Seine. 1886. Collection particulière

Less gloomy than the painting that Claude Monet painted eleven years earlier on a similar theme, the unloading on the quays of the Seine painted by Léon Auguste Ottin in 1886 attests to a style that is close to an illustration, with its colors deposited with care around the diagonal represented by the steamer, prolonged by the river which is lost beyond the bridges. The rare characters are only sketched, and their treatment contrasts with the noria of Monet's charcoal carriers, who come and go like notes on a score in an oppressive space.


Claude Monet. Les déchargeurs de charbon. 1875.© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Claude Monet. Les déchargeurs de charbon. 1875.© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

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



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