Description: Theobald Chartran (French, 1849-1907) "Portrait of Elizabeth Alvina Hyde", oil on canvas, signed and dated "1895" upper right, label with sitter's name, artist, and date en verso, 46 1/2 in. x 34 3/4 in., in a period gilt and gessoed wood frame.
Notes: Note: Chartran was a classical academic painter who began his artistic career by creating caricatures of his fellow students at the Lycée Victor Hugo. He studied with Alexander Cabanel (French, 1823-1889) and attended the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1877 Chartran was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome. His earliest works were epic historicizing scenes and he soon received commissions for French Government buildings including, most significantly, the frescoes at the Paris City Hall and the decorations of "L'Escalier d'Honneur" at the Sorbonne. In the 1870s and 80s he was one of a group of artists who worked for the French journal Vanity Fair, producing caricatures of the eminent (and scandalous) citizens of the day. Chartran exhibited wid ly; in 1881 he took part in the Royal Academy exhibition at Grafton Gallery in London, and in 1889 he was awarded the silver medal at the Exposition Universelle. After 1880, Chartran chose to concentrate almost exclusively on portraiture. This was a particularly lucrative decision for the artist and Chartran became a favorite of the privileged and powerful. Beginning in 1893, he made annual portrait painting trips to the United States, specifically New York, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. Chartran effectively took over from his former teacher Cabanel the mantle of portrait painter to the American aristocracy after the elder artist's death in 1889 It was possibly during one of these visits to America that Chartran completed this portrait of Alvina Hyde. Miss Hyde was the oldest daughter of a prominent and wealthy New York doctor and his wife, the heiress to the Babbit Soap fortune. The Hyde family made frequent buying trips to Europe and spent time in France, so they would have been well aware of Chartran's eputation as a leading portrait painter. Chartran was made a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. Reference: Benezit. Dictionnaire des Peintres, Librairie Grund, 1976, vol. 2, p. 685
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