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Cesare August Detti Italian 1847 – 1914
A gifted genre painter, Cesare Detti established his reputation as a specialist in “costume pictures.” These works were of subjects chosen mainly for their suitability for picturesque treatment; usually of by gone ages when dress played a distinctive part of rank in society.
People held a fascination for earlier time, and artists, catering to that interest, attempted to capture their imagination. As Alfred Stevens, the Belgian painter remarked: “The public are attracted to costume subjects in the same way that they fall in love with the fancy-dress of a masked ball.”
The inclusion of dwarfs held a brief fascination for the viewing public in the 1860’s. The success of a work by Ferdinand Roybet in the 1866 Paris Salon in being purchased by Napoleon’s cousin, Princess Mathilda, inspired a number of imitators. This popularity may have also come with the success of the play “Rigolleto” by Verdi.
Born in Spoleto, Italy, Detti was a student of Mariano Fortuny, an artist known internationally for his brilliant technique and bold colors. He also studied with Podestis, a painter of animals and historical subjects and for several years at the Academy of San Luca in Rome. In 1872 Detti participated in his first exhibitions in Rome and Naples and, after a successful acceptance at the Paris Salon of 1879, the artist moved to that city. There he was awarded medals in 1889 and 1900 at both Universal Expositions.
Although he continued to exhibit throughout Europe and America, where his work brought high prices, he married and spent the remainder of his life in Paris. A familiar and popular figure, his face became well known among the boulevards, cafes, salons and studios.
Biography excerpted from the unpublished catalog by Edward P. Bentley for the Haussner Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, titled: Haussner’s, The Children.