"Henri Decaisne (1799-1852) Portrait Of A Young Woman With A Blue Ribbon"Henri DECAISNE
(Brussels 1799 - Paris 1852)
Portrait of a young woman with a blue ribbon
Oil on canvas
H. 42 cm; W. 42 cm
Signed and dated lower left, 1852
The city of Brussels gave birth to many eminent men in the arts, sciences and letters; but too often she has seen them move abroad and seek a brighter place abroad. Henri Decaisne will not be lacking in this observation. Born in Brussels on January 27, 1799, the future artist entered the city's high school early in the day and worked there so well that he obtained a scholarship. It was at the same time a reward and a help, because, at that time, the child, who had just lost his father and his mother, then remained responsible for a family of which he was the eldest, and which consisted of three more sons and one daughter. Decaisne began in his 15th year his studies of drawing then painting under the teaching of C. François in Brussels. In 1816, for his last year of study at the Academy, he obtained the antique figure prize. Subsequently, on David's advice, he left for Paris in 1818 and entered the studio of Girodet, then that of Baron Gros.
Present at the Paris Salon in 1824, Decaisne will see his talent grow from year to year: each new exhibition marks new progress for the painter. Grand prize in 1827, medalist again in 1828, these distinctions enabled him to contract the most honorable relations. No longer leaving Paris, Decaisne therefore made a place of excellent portrait painter. The artist thus had the honor of portraying the crowned heads of his century (the Duke of Orleans, 1833 - The Princess Clémentine d'Orléans, 1833 - the Queen of the Belgians, 1835) just like the intellectuals of the time (Madame Malibran en Desdémone, 1831, Victor Schoelcher, 1833 - Alphonse de Lamartine, 1839).
However, tired of the fanatical cult of form taught by David's followers, he set out in search of pictorial novelties. He made the discovery and then studied English painting and began to be inspired by it. We will also note a significant influence of Lawrence in the composition and the tones used in our Portrait of a Young Woman with a Blue Ribbon. It was in 1840 at the age of 41, after having carried his family at arm's length and thanks to the prize received by the Belgian government in gratitude for his monumental canvas on famous Belgians, that he was able to undertake the hoped-for trip to Italy.
Decaisne received in 1839 the cross of the Order of Leopold for his painting of illustrious Belgians and was knighted in the Legion of Honor in 1842.
Then 53 years old and in full possession of his art, the artist signs and dates our painting from 1852, the year of the completion of his self-portrait and just before his death on October 17, 1852.
Decaisne is buried in the Montmartre cemetery with his brother Joseph, a renowned botanist from the mid-19th century, and his mother Married.
Museums: Versailles, Amiens, Antwerp, Brussels, Hamburg, The Hague ...