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François-André Vincent (1746-1816), an artist between Fragonard et David

Musée Fabre Montpellier, February 8 – May 11, 2014
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, October 19, 2013 – January 19, 2014

The life and work of Francois-Andre Vincent had not been thoroughly studied until now even though he was one of the most talented artists of the neoclassical period, the great rival of Jacques-Louis David before the Revolution. In 2013, the publication Athena was dedicated to Vincent through the work of Jean-Pierre Cuzin, former chief curator of the Louvre’s art [paintings] department. The article fills in this important gap in the history of art. This release was accompanied by a retrospective exhibit organized by the two FRAME museums, the museum of Beaux-Arts in Tours and the Fabre de Montpellier museum: Francois-Andre Vincent, an artist between Fragonard and David.

Each presenting about 110 pieces, these two exhibits are distinguished essentially by completely different works up to 50 pages each. A great designer, Vincent executed various techniques and a variety of subjects in his portraits viz. historical and allegorical subjects, as well as caricatures. This huge and impressive collection perhaps makes him the best designer of his time. These designs are maintained in the most famous graphic arts companies such as the Louvre, the Albertina, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, as well as the museum of Besancon, the Atger museum, and the Fabre museum of Montpellier. Some paintings are shown only at Montpellier: a Portrait of a Man in the Fragonard style is an early work done just before his departure to Italy; in a private collection, the portrait presumed to be the singer Mme. Duplant from the revolutionary period is a masterpiece from the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, and finally the overall sketch of the Agriculture Lesson, a canvas from a private collection which shows the composition of the final painting before its partial destruction in the Bordeaux museum fire in the 19th century.

François-André Vincent, Arria et Poetus, oil on canvas, 1784, Saint Louis Art Museum, Funds given by Mr. and Mrs. John Peters MacCarthy, Director’s Discretionary Fund, funds given by Christian B. Peper, and gift of Mr. Horace Morison by exchange.



François-André Vincent, Bélisaire, réduit à la mendicité, secouru par un officier des troupes de l’empereur Justinien, 1776, huile sur toile, Montpellier, musée Fabre, © Musée Fabre Montpellier Agglomération / Cliché F. Jaulmes.


François-André Vinvent, La leçon de labourage, 1798, Oil on canvas, Bordeaux, musée des Beaux-Arts (C) mairie de Bordeaux, cliché Lysiane Gauthie