Gilbert, Victor

A painter who celebrated the simple details of daily life with eloquence and undeniable mastery, Victor Gilbert became, both during his lifetime and afterward, a noted personality within the salons of Paris and Provence.

Victor Gilbert was born in Paris on February 13, 1847. His early affinity for the arts and display of promising talent, encouraged by his parents, earned him the opportunity to apprentice under two well known and successful painters of his day, Victor Jean Adam (1801 1866) and Charles Busson (1822 1908). From Adam’s extraordinary imagination, young Gilbert learned the art of composition, and through Busson’s love affair with color and the landscape, he found the perfect backdrop for his own developing dynamism with figuratives.

His first public exhibition was held in the Hotel de Ville in Paris, and followed by many thereafter through his participation in the Salon de Artistes Francais. Gilbert received his first major prize, the Silver Medal, in the Exhibition of 1889. He was bestowed the prestigious merit award of Cavalier by the Legion of Honor in 1897. And again through the Salon, in 1926, he was awarded the Bonnat prize, founded by the highly acclaimed historical painter and contemporary of Gilbert’s, Leon Joseph Florentin Bonnat (1833 1922) to honor artists for their ambitions in capturing the poetry and reminiscences of their time.

An encore retrospective of Victor Gilbert’s works was presented by the Salon in 1933, shortly before the artist’s death. Collections of his works can be found today in many of the finest museums of France, from LeHavre to Strasbourg to Nice, worthy still of the compliments bestowed by 4onsieur Bonnat, and ever more poetic glimpses into a time which many of us long to know.


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Miki G. Kazmarek
Gallery La Scala