Ernest Duez Location
French painter. He studied under Isidore-Alexandre-Augustin Pils and made his debut at the Salon in 1868. One of his earliest paintings, The Honeymoon (1873), caused a scandal at the Salon owing to its depiction of two lovers in modern dress walking through a sunlit forest. His triptych St Cuthbert (1879; Paris, Pompidou) was hailed as a masterpiece of modern art and bought by the State for the Musee du Luxembourg in Paris. The painting depicts the stages of St Cuthbert life, from child to hermit. Contemporary viewers were struck by the artist use of a real landscape setting, based on Villerville in Normandy where Duez spent much of his time. In addition to genre, religious and history paintings, in 1876 he began to produce portraits: Alphonse de Neuville (1880; Versailles, Cheteau) is a typical example. His brooding, suggestive portrait of Mme Duez (1877; see Montrosier, 1896, p. 429) shows the influence of Symbolism. However, he soon returned to painting works that were essentially landscapes, such as the decorative panel Virgil Seeking Inspiration in the Woods (1888) for the Sorbonne and a pair of allegorical figures, Botany and Physics (1892), for the Hetel de Ville in Paris. He also devoted time to applied art, producing a variety of textile designs. His work was praised for its adept use of colour and for bringing what were seen as modern techniques to traditional subjects.