He who knows how to appreciate colour relationships, the influence of one colour on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery.
- Sonia Delaunay
Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.
- Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pierre-Auguste Cot

Posted by Charley Parker at 6:14 pm

Pierre-Auguste Cot
Pierre-Auguste Cot is one of those painters known primarily by one popular image, in this case The Storm, above, a commissioned image that Cot exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1880.

The painting has become part of pop high-culture (not quite pop culture) and has often been visually referenced or parodied, as in this portrait of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow by Edward Sorel.

Cot was a French Classical Academic painter, whose legacy also includes one other painting that retains popular appeal to this day, Springtime. Both of these works are of the idyllic, classical tradition in which the subjects and their surroundings are idealized. There is a Baroque feeling of fantasy/romance to them that accounts in large part for their popularity, in addition to Cot’s confident handling and strong figure work (not to mention a bit of sexy suggestion).

Cot studied under several French Academic masters, including William-Adolphe Bouguereau. As with Bouguereau, Cot’s work was very popular in his own time, but fell into disdain during the systematic disparagement of academic art by the moderninst establishment in the latter half of the 20th Century.

The Storm is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (I found a close-up of it that someone posted on Flickr). Springtime, although privately owned, was also on display there for a number of years, though I don’t know if it is still hanging at the Met.

There are also some of Cot’s other works reproduced in books and on the net, though few of the portraits that were actually his primary focus.

10 comments for Pierre-Auguste Cot »

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Comment by Kevin
    Monday, November 24, 2008 @ 3:07 am

    Springtime was still hanging next to The Storm as of January 2008 when I went to see the newly remodeled 19th century wing.

  2. Comment by Charley Parker
    Monday, November 24, 2008 @ 3:14 am

    Good to know. Thanks.

  3. Comment by Nazleen
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @ 5:24 am

    My name is Nazleen . I´m from Germany.
    This site is very good ,you can get many information.
    i will tell this website to my friends !!!


  4. Comment by Daniel van Benthuysen
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

    For me, Cot drifts into overly literal story-telling until nothing is left to the viewer’s imagination. As a result, I don’t feel engaged by his work, much as I do respect and at times admire his technique and attention to detail. But in this regard, I think the disparagement of academic art was a reaction against something very specific a kind of overkill that he represents and the reactionary forces of the late 20th century were not entirely without justification.

    The sad truth is that an academic approach holds no guarantee for greatness, no matter how hard one works.

    Granted, that realization didn’t make it worth dropping required perspective and life drawing classes from a surprising number of university art programs in the western hemisphere by the late 1970s. But there were some valid reasons for recoiling at academic art and I am reminded of some of them every time I look at this fellow’s work. He’s not everybody’s cup of tea.

  5. Comment by Minneapolis Fine Artist Desaraev
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

    Very informative. I didn’t read the first one of these, just skimmed through your pictures. I love this one of the Storm.

  6. Comment by Michael H.
    Sunday, April 5, 2009 @ 2:39 am

    As of April 4th 2009, Springtime is still hung next to The Storm (in a beautiful juxtaposition, as these seem to be metaphors for different stages of innocence and loss thereof). I would guess that it’s on permanent display.

    Keep up the great blog,

  7. Comment by fine art shopper
    Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    Pierre-Auguste Cot suffres from being around at the same time and place of the impressionists. I think his art would have been much more renowed if this wasn’t the case. But what a time to be alive for an artist !

  8. Comment by fossil art
    Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    A lveley piece of artwork. Would love to see it. Is it still in new york ?

  9. Comment by radium56
    Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

    As of Mai 2012, both pictures – Storm and Springtime – are on the display at New York Metropolitan Museum. Both have an prominent place at the before the entrance into 19th and 20th century European paintings and boy, they make a huge impact, I was blown away…

  10. Comment by Charley Parker
    Wednesday, May 16, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

    Thanks, radium56! Perfect subject for a quick post.

Leave a comment


(required but not published)

Display Ads on Lines and Colors (1st tier): $25/week or $75/month.

Please note that display ads for lines and colors are limited to arts related topics and may not be animated.
Display Ads on Lines and Colors (2nd tier): $20/week or $65/month.

Please note that display ads for lines and colors are limited to arts related topics and may not be animated.

Donate Life

The Gift of a Lifetime