Jules Scalbert

The bather, circa 1885-1890
Oil on panel
Signed lower left
Size: 65 x 53cm

Jules Scalbert paints a charming beach scene. The center of the composition brings together a bather and her governess, the second hands a comforting bath towel to the first. In the surroundings, other bathers take advantage of the benefits of sea bathing, while families relax on the beach. The costumes and hairstyles place the scene between 1885 and 1890.

The bather is a traditional subject of painting that crosses the history of art. The artist reports here on the new experience of social leisure of sea bathing which is said to be good for health, a fashion that came from England during the 19th century.

The beach gradually ceasing to be a medical space becomes a place of sociability and entertainment for the wealthy classes of French society. The seaside resorts setting up casinos to occupy the evenings of their aristocratic clientele. The Pas-de-Calais knows its fans, whether in Boulogne, Malo-les-Bains or Le Touquet.

The rigor of the drawing, the finesse of the touch, the sense of detail, characteristics of the painter serve the delicate subject of the work.

Painter of genre, history and flowers, pupil of Isodore Pils and Henri Lehmann, he studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris and made his debut at the Salon of 1876. He was a Member of French Artists from 1883. He depicts historical and genre scenes, allegorical subjects, figures, flowers.

He travels to Northern Europe and Italy. In Venice, Florence and Rome, he will admire the rigor of the drawing and the freshness of the colors of the masters of the Italian Renaissance.

He attracted a fervent private clientele which allowed him to stay away from artistic events.

Museums : Compiègne, Antoine Vivenel museum; Douai, Chartreuse Museum; Laval, museum of the old castle; Roubaix, The Pool.