The Couple , circa 1870
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right
Size: 81 x 65cm
With frame: 101.5 x 81.5 cm.
This painting depicts a couple of musicians. The boy is holding a mandolin and the girl is holding what could be a songbook or a sheet music. The light highlights their delicate gestures, and their attitudes imbued with tenderness. The forest, like a frame within a frame, serves as an alcove for their exchanges. The colors are nuanced, ranging from carmine red to pastel tones.
Pierre-Marie Beyle (1838-1902) was a 19th century French painter, illustrator and caricaturist. He was born in Lyon in 1838, studied in Paris. In the capital, he exhibited regularly at the Salon, from 1867 to 1900. He paints circus scenes, sketched on the spot, while he follows the itinerant entertainers. Around 1870, he went to Algiers. The themes of the city are reflected in his painting. In 1877, the artist exhibited two paintings: A Bazaar at the Casbah of Algiers and Yamina, Moorish of Algiers . From then on, he became known as a painter of historical scenes, genre and the fantasized Orient.
He exhibited at the Grafton Gallery in London in 1881, then went to Scotland where he exhibited at the Institute of Fine Arts in Glasgow. In 1900, he exhibited at the Universal Exhibition. Towards the end of his life, he settled in Chennevieres-sur-Marne.
He worked as a caricaturist in satirical newspapers such as the Petit Journal, the Fun Journal from 1865 to 1872, and the Bouffon from 1867 to 1869. He illustrated La Rue by Jules Valles in 1868 and La Comédie au Boudoir by M. de Podestat. His scope as a painter is vast, ranging from scenes of life abroad, such as The Toilet of a Native Woman in 1869 and General Jocko’s Toilet in 1872, to studies carried out in Algeria between 1867 and 1880 and to seascapes and fishing scenes on the Normandy coast painted after 1880 – Mussel fishermen at Pollet 1881; Rescue at Dieppe 1887; Sea workers 1900 and Woman collecting bait 1902.
His works can be found in museums around the world, from Fécamp to London (Victoria and Albert Museum), via Melbourne, Rochefort and Valence.
• André Malraux Museum of Modern Art – MuMa, Le Havre.
• Tatihou Island Museum, Saint-Vaast-la Hougue.
• George Sand and Black Valley Museum, La Châtre.
• Fécamp Museum; Rochefort Museum; Valencia Museum.
• The Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
• Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria.
• Bénézit, Gallica.