Joseph-Paul Meslé (1855-1927), French illustrator and painter, was born on January 25, 1855 in Saint-Servan, near Saint-Malo. His talent for drawing were noticed at a young age and he was sent off to the School of Fine Arts in Rennes.
In 1875, Meslé left for the Beaux-Arts in Paris with a letter of recommendation from Jean François Millet (1814-1875), one of the founders of the Barbizon school. Bright student of Bonnat, hard-working and conscientious, he participated in the Salon in 1880. Meslé moved to Reins in the years 1881-1882, where he quickly became a famous portraitist. In 1890, he married Yacinthe Bremontier and they moved to Jaulgonne located along the Marne, between Dormans and Chateau-Thierry, a few kilometres from his colleague, Léon Lhermitte (1844-1925). In 1892, he abandoned the French Artists to join Rodin, Puvis de Chavannes, and other dissidents of the National Society of Fine Arts.
In 1896, the couple moved to Chamigny. Always very involved with the pictorial movements of his time, he embraced the fauvism movement, exhibiting with the Lagny "neo-impressionists and frequenting Lhermitte and the Luzancy painters, Bouché and Massé.
“He is one of those (painters) who deliver the powers of dreams enclosed in familiar objects”, wrote Maurice Hamel about him in a cultural journal in 1914. Meslé would become a very successful artist and his paintings sold well in France and the United States. He exhibited at the Georges Petit Gallery, one of the most powerful firms in the French art market. In 1925, Americans bought up his entire stock of paintings.
Meslé died suddenly on June 20, 1927 while having a meal in a restaurant.
Museum of Fine Arts, Reims
Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes
City of Paris Museum of Modern Art
Musée Fabre in Montpellier
Musée Briard in Jouarre
Prado Museum (Madrid)
Chamigny Town Hall
Source: Noël Maris Coret, Les peintres de la vallée de la Marne (Éditions Casterman, 2008).
Artist: Joseph Paul Meslé (1855-1927).
Signed on bottom right.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Condition: Very good condition.
Dimensions: 36.5 x 53 cm. / 14 1/2 x 21 in.
Frame: 46 x 63 cm. / 18 x 24 1/2 in. Sculpted wood, Montparnasse style, very good condition.