Adolphe Monticelli

Born in Marseille on 14 October 1824, Adolphe Monticelli was raised in a peasant family in Ganagobie, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, and studied at the school of drawing in Marseille. From 1846 to 1848 he attended Paul Delaroche’s studio in Paris and was influenced by the painting of Eugène Delacroix. But his real masters were those of the Louvre: Titian, Tintoretto, Rembrandt and, above all, Watteau. He made contact with several members of the Barbizon school, who encouraged him to paint directly from life. Back in Marseille in the 1860s, he began to develop his own style, before returning to Paris. However, the war of 1870 forced him to escape the capital and he walked back to Marseille, where he lived in very modest circumstances. In his final years he painted portraits, circus scenes and a large number of floral and landscape compositions. He died in the summer of 1886 as a result of a stroke suffered the year before. While the Romantic fantasy of his courtly paintings divided opinion and confused many of his contemporaries, certain young artists, among them Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh, admired the light radiating from his strong colours, deep shadows and fluid forms. His work enjoyed greater recognition in the twentieth century than in his lifetime, while Adolphe Monticelli himself stated: “I paint for thirty years from now.”


Previous exhibitions (selection)

Van Gogh / Monticelli
, Centre de la Vieille Charité, Marseille (France)

Monticelli, His Contemporaries, His Influence
, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (United States)