Rehs Galleries Inc., a New York gallery specializing in 19th and 20th-century European and American works of art, has launched an updated Emile Munier (1840-1895) Virtual Catalogue Raisonné.
The catalogue raisonné project began in 2003 when Howard Rehs started researching the life and work of the 19th-century French artist. Like many artists from the period, information about Munier was scarce. While the Frick Art Reference Library and the Getty Research Institute proved to be valuable resources for information about the artist’s work and sales, there is still a great deal of research to be done on his personal life.
Emile Munier was born in Paris on June 2, 1840. His father, Pierre François Munier, was an upholstery artist at the historic Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins and his mother, Marie Louise Carpentier, was a polisher in a cashmere cloth mill. The Gobelins was a factory that rose to notoriety for supplying the French monarchs with tapestries, furniture, and other fine goods since the 1600s. Their workshop was known to take in promising talent, and the Munier brothers displayed an artistic ability from an early age; Emile’s first self-portrait dates from 1854 when he was just 14 years old. As such, they entered the Gobelins, attending classes in drawing (with Abel Lucas), painting, anatomy, perspective, and chemistry in relation to wool dyeing.
During Emile’s time at the Gobelins, he met Henriette Lucas, Abel’s daughter, and the two were married in 1861. In 1867 Henriette gave birth to their son Emile Henri, and approximately ten weeks later, she passed away from complications of severe rheumatism. By 1871, Emile left the Gobelins and devoted his time to painting and teaching.
The following year he would remarry close friend and fellow artist Sargines Angrand-Campenon; the couple moved to 8 rue des Beaux-Arts, where Corot and Fantin-Latour had studios. It was at this time he entered the studio of William A. Bouguereau (who, in 1872, secured a part-time teaching position at the Academy Julian). The two became very close friends, and it is even said that Munier created several of Bouguereau’s reductions.
Munier exhibited his first painting at the Paris Salon in 1869 and continued to show there until his untimely death in 1895.
Director Howard Rehs commented, “Over the past few years, we have worked to develop a new program for our catalogue raisonnés, giving us more flexibility with data entry and images. Alyssa Rehs and Lance Rehs were responsible for the website’s final, more contemporary look. We are very pleased with the results and have now updated all three of our catalogue raisonné sites, the others being juliendupre.org and antoineblanchard.org.”
The Emile Munier virtual catalogue raisonné is an ongoing project. Anyone with additional information about Emile Munier’s life or work should contact the gallery through the Munier website or by calling Howard Rehs at (212) 355-5710.
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