Antoine-Jean Gros / General Kléber / c. 1835Antoine-Jean Gros
General Kléber
c. 1835

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Creator Name: Gros, Antoine-Jean
Creator Nationality: French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1771 - 1835
Biography: Antoine-Jean Gros's parents, who were both miniaturists, taught their son painting at an early age. He also pursued his education with Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842), David (q.v.), whose studio he entered in 1785, and at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture two years later. Discouraged by his unsuccessful attempt for the Prix de Rome in 1792 and following his father's death, he ended his studies and supported himself by portrait painting. David helped him secure a passport and Gros left for Italy in 1793. In Genoa he met Joséphine de Beauharnais, who later introduced him to Napoleon Bonaparte in Milan. There Gros made a study of him for his painting Bonaparte on the Bridge at Arcole, 17 November 1796 (1796, Musée du Château de Versailles; Salon 1801). This work established his reputation, and he was given a position on the committee responsible for removing artwork from Italy for the Louvre. When Napoleon left for Egypt, Genoa came under Austrian control and Gros was forced to stay for two months during the siege. After the city was evacuated, Gros returned to Paris in 1800 and continued to receive commissions from Bonaparte to paint contemporary military victories. He also painted portraits of members of the military and high society. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, he was made portrait painter to Louis XVIII. Within two years he was appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts, replacing the exiled David. In almost two decades as a teacher, Gros had hundreds of pupils, and thus was, besides David, one of the most influential artists of his time. While continuing to paint scenes from contemporary history, he also attempted to make mythological and allegorical compositions, but these works received little critical acclaim. Gros was awarded the title of baron by Charles X and asked to paint several ceilings in the galleries at the Louvre. His work, however, began to be perceived as outmoded, and his criticism of Ingres's influence within the École des Beaux-Arts added to his unpopularity. When his final effort for a classical comeback at the Salon of 1835 was heavily criticized, Gros drowned himself in the Seine.
Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: Paris, 16 March 1771
Creator Death Place: Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine, 25 June 1835
Creator Name-CRT: Antoine-Jean Gros
Title: General Kléber
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1830
Creation End Date: 1840
Creation Date: c. 1835
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on fabric
Dimensions: Unframed: 306cm x 98cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1972.17.1
Credit Line: John L. Severance Fund
Provenance: J.-B. Delestre, Paris. His sale, Drouot, 13-14 October 1871 (lot 1), Les deux esquisses pour les pendentifs de droite et de gauche, surajoutés au tableau de la Bataille des Pyramides, ff 500 to M. Couvreur (perhaps sold to J. Arnous de Rivière, directeur de Revue illustrée, bought for ff 700 at Delestre sale, through 1880; Tripier le Franc 1880, 500). Gustave Rothan, Château de Luttenbach, (near Munster, Alsace). By descent after his death in 1890 to his daughter, Christa Anna Maria Rothan (in 1895, Baronne Pierre de Coubertin) until after 1917, Lausanne. By 1955, Jacques Seligmann & Co, New York, 1955. Purchased by the CMA in 1972.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1972.17.1
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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