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 Francois-Marius Granet  (1775 - 1849)

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Lived/Active: France/Italy      Known for: architecture-churches, figure, portrait and interior scene painting

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from Auction House Records.
Deux moines pêchant
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

François Marius Granet (17 December 1777 – 21 November 1849), French painter, was born in Aix-en-Provence; his father was a small builder.

As a boy his strong desires led his parents to place him, after some preliminary teaching from a passing Italian artist, in a free school of art directed by M. Constantin, a landscape painter of some reputation.  In 1793, Granet followed the volunteers of Aix to the siege of Toulon, where he obtained employment as a decorator in the arsenal.

Whilst a lad, he had, at Aix, made the acquaintance of the young comte de Forbin, and upon his invitation Granet, in the year 1797, went to Paris.  De Forbin was one of the pupils of David, and Granet entered the same studio. Later he got possession of a cell in the convent of Capuchins, which, having served for a 'manufactory of assignats' during the Revolution, was afterwards inhabited almost exclusively by artists.  In the changing lights and shadows of the corridors of the Capuchins, Granet found the materials for that one picture to the painting of which, with varying success, he devoted his life.

In 1802, he left Paris for Rome, where he remained until 1819, when he returned to Paris, bringing with him besides various other works one of fourteen repetitions of his celebrated Chevur des Capucins, executed in 1811.  The figures of the monks celebrating mass are taken in this subject as a substantive part of the architectural effect, and this is the case with all Granet's works, even with those in which the figure subject would seem to assert its importance, and its historical or romantic interest. "

Stella painting a Madonna on his Prison Wall, 1810 (Leuchtenberg collection); Sodoma a l'hôpital, 1815 (Louvre); Basilique basse de St François d'Assise, 1823 (Louvre); Rachat de prisonniers, 1831 (Louvre); Mort de Poussin, 1834 (Villa Demidoff, Florence), are among his principal works; all are marked by the same peculiarities, everything is sacrificed to tone.

In 1819, Louis Philippe decorated Granet, and afterwards named him Chevalier de l'Ordre St Michel, and Conservateur des tableaux de Versailles (1826).  He became member of the institute in 1830; but in spite of these honours, and the ties which bound him to M. de Forbin, then director of the Louvre, Granet constantly returned to Rome. 

After 1848 he retired to Aix, immediately lost his wife, and died himself on the 21st of November 1849. He bequeathed to his native town the greater part of his fortune and all his collections, now exhibited in the house, together with a very fine portrait of the donor painted by Ingres in 1811.

A museum in the centre of Aix-en-Provence is named after him, the Musée Granet.  It was built in 1838, and holds eight paintings by Paul Cézanne.


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