French Symbolist Painter, 1857-1939
French painter. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in the studios of Henri Lehmann, Fernand Cormon and L?on Bonnat. His Salon entry in 1880, Portrait of M. O. (untraced), reflected his early attraction to the realist tradition of Spanish 17th-century painting. The impact of Impressionism encouraged him to lighten his palette and paint landscapes en plein air, such as In the Fields of Eragny (1888; Paris, Y. Osbert priv. col.). By the end of the 1880s he had cultivated the friendship of several Symbolist poets and the painter Puvis de Chavannes, which caused him to forsake his naturalistic approach and to adopt the aesthetic idealism of poetic painting. Abandoning subjects drawn from daily life, Osbert aimed to convey inner visions and developed a set of pictorial symbols. Inspired by Puvis, he simplified landscape forms, which served as backgrounds for static, isolated figures dissolved in mysterious light. A pointillist technique, borrowed from Seurat, a friend from Lehmann's studio, dematerialized forms and added luminosity. However, Osbert eschewed the Divisionists' full range of hues in his choice of blues, violets, yellows and silvery green. Osbert's mysticism is seen in his large painting Vision
Evening in Antiquity
Oil on canvas
Mus??e du Petit Palais, Paris.