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Meissonier, Manet, Toulmouche, Leroux

The Revolution of 1848 led to the reign of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte as president and then emperor of France (Napoleon III), his rule ending with the loss of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Melville spent an illuminating week in Paris in December 1849, but he did not visit France on the way back to England from Italy in April 1857, passing instead through Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. Both his book collection and his print collection do show that he followed developments in French art after moving from Pittsfield to New York City in 1863. We have already seen his prints after Watteau and Boucher that were published in Paris as the revival of their reputations sparked by the Goncourts in the 1860s spread through journals such as the Gazette des Beaux-Arts and L’Art. He also collected books about contemporary French painters to the end of his life. After acquiring a book on Meissonier published in 1882, he acquired two books on painters of the Barbizon school published in 1890: one on Corot, Daubigny, and Dupré, the other on Millet, Rosseau, and Diaz (Sealts nos. 360-62). Beginning in 1889 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Melville could see the original painting of one contemporary French work in his print collection: Manet’s Boy with a Sword.

Ernest Meissonier was so famous during Melville’s lifetime that Melville’s copy of John Mollet’s 1882 book about his life and art introduces him simply as M. Meissonier, with no first name. He dominated the art of the Paris Salon for two decades during which many of Edouard Manet’s most innovative works were being rejected for exhibition there. The prints Melville acquired are from relatively early in the careers of each artist, before powerful artistic and political developments would place them on opposite sides of the Parisian artistic divide. By the time of Melville’s death in 1891, paintings by both Meissonier and Manet had become highly desired in New York—as were those of Auguste Toulmouche and Hector Leroux.

  • Works cited in this section:
  • “Boy with a Sword, 1861.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
  • Catalogue of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Ed. William Macleod, 43rd ed. Washington, D. C.: 1887.
  • Farwell, Beatrice. “Manet, Edouard.” Grove, 20: 254-62.
  • Gonse, Louis. Leroux [p 491] [need details]
  • ---------. “Salon de 1874.” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 2.10 (July 1874): 25-49.
  • Gotlieb, Marc J. The Plight of Emulation: Ernest Meissonier and French Salon Painting. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.
  • Guérin, Marcel. L’Œuvre Gravé de Manet. Paris: Libraire Floury, 1944. Part 1, Eaux-Fortes.
  • Hand-book, No. 1 (November 1890 to April 1891):  Part 1, The Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection in the New Western Galleries & Part 2, Pictures by Modern Masters in the Old Western Galleries. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
  • Hand-book, No. 6 (May to November, 1891): Part 1, Pictures by Old Masters in the Old Eastern Gallery & Part 2, Loan Collections and Recent Gifts to the Museum in the Old Easter Gallery. Metropolitan Museum of Art,
  • Hand-book, No. 6 (November 1887 to April 1888): Collection of Paintings and Sculpture in the West Galleries and Grand Hall. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
  • Harris, Jean. Edouard Manet’s Graphic Works: A Definitive Catalogue Raisonné. New York: Collectors Editions, 1970.
  • Hazlitt, William. Criticisms on Art, and Sketches of the Picture Galleries of England. Edited by his son. 2 vol. in 1.  London: J. Templeton, 1843 (Sealts no. 266a).
  • Hungerford, Constance Cain. “Meissonier, (Jean-Louis-) Ernest.” Grove, 21: 68-69.
  • King, Ross. The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that gave the world Impressionism. New York: Walker and Company, 2006.
  • Loyrette, Henri. “Modern Life.” In The Origins of Impressionism. Ed. Gary Tinterot and Henri Loyrette. The Origins of Impressionism. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. 265-93.
  • Metcalf, Eleanor Melville. Herman Melville: Cycle and Epicycle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953.
  • Miller, Asher Ethan. Catalog entry for Ernest Meissonier, 1807, Friedland, ca. 1861-75. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Posted in 2015,
  • Mollett, John William. Meissonier. New York: Scribner and Welford, 1882 (Sealts no. 360).
  • --------. The Painters of the Barbizon: Corot, Daubigny, Dupré. New York: Scribner and Welford, 1890 (Sealts no, 361).
  • --------. The Painters of the Barbizon: Millet, Rousseau, Diaz. New York: Scribner and Welford. 1890 (Sealts no. 362).
  • Pons, Bruno. “Leroux, (Louis) Hector.” Grove, 19: 230-31.
  • Sealts, Merton M., Jr. The  Early Lives of Melville. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1874.
  • Shinn, Earl (pseud. Edward Strahan). Chefs-d’oeuvre d’Art of the International Exposition, 1878. Philadelphia: Gebbie and Barrie, c. 1878-80.
  • --------. “The Collection of Miss Catharine Lorillard Wolfe.” In The Art Treasures of America. 3 vol. Philadelphia: George Barrie, 1879-1882. 1:  119-34. 
  • --------. Ėtudes in Modern French Art. New York: R. Worthington, 1882.
  • Young Lady in 1866, 1866.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, website.
  • “The Start of the Race of the Riderless Horses.” Metropolitan Museum website,