Edouard Debat Ponsan
French Academic Painter, 1847-1913
1847-1913.French painter. He trained in Toulouse and later at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Alexandre Cabanel. In 1873 he won second place in the Prix de Rome and in 1874 the Prix Troyon of the Institut. From the Institut he received a bursary that enabled him to visit Italy. In 1870 he made his debut at the Salon under the name Ponsan-Debat and afterwards exhibited there such genre and history paintings as Jephthah's Daughter (1876; Carcassonne, Mus. B.-A.). He also executed religious works, some of which were for churches and cathedrals: he painted St Paul before the Areopagus (1877) for the church at Courbevoie and the Pity of St Louis for the Dead (1879) for the cathedral at La Rochelle. From 1880 Debat-Ponsan was the name under which he exhibited. The Massage (1883; Toulouse, Mus. Augustins) shows a white female nude massaged by a negress, and the subject attracted comment from contemporary critics. He also painted a number of landscapes, including Corner of the Vineyard (1888; Nantes, Mus. B.-A.). These were painted in a style similar to that of Jules Bastien-Lepage and, when they included figures, were often sentimental. His reputation depended, however, on his portraits, which are distinguished by their vigorous colour and precision, as seen in the portrait of Pouyer-Quertier (c. 1885; Rouen, Mus. B.-A.). Most notable was his portrait of General Boulanger (1887; untraced), which was shown at the Salon of 1887 and was accepted in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Amid scandal, Debat-Ponsan withdrew it soon after the opening because he thought that the Exposition was badly organized and his painting was not shown to advantage. He refused the bronze medal awarded it by the jury. In later years, while producing such paintings as Christ on the Mountain (1889; Toulouse, Mus. Augustins), he increasingly responded to contemporary events in his work.
ID: 25145 Le Massage scene de hammam (mk32) sur toile signee et datee 1883 127 x 210 cm Musee des Augustins Toulouse