French artist William Albert Ablett produced a large selection of portraits and genre scenes during his prosperous professional career. He had a specific interest in capturing the female form. His ‘boudoir’ scenes were extremely popular and Ablett has been hailed as the leader of this modern change in scene painting.
Such a cutting-edge approach required new inspiration and experimentation, and indeed, Ablett cut up and sewed together a unique array of styles and influences.
Ablett’s training at the School of Fine Arts in Paris is evident in the perfect proportions of his female forms and his ability to capture shadow and light in a realistic manner. This adds a richness to fine, gilded interiors and the smirking, rouged lips of the women depicted. However, Ablett was also influenced by popular, modernist movements in art at the time. An impressionistic touch is clear in paintings permeated with pastel colourings. It can also be seen in Ablett’s less steamy, more dreamy interiors which translate his own home in Blois into the background of his scenes. It is clear he was inspired by the everyday domestics of his life, in particular his home, which he shared with his wife and daughter.
Interestingly, Ablett was born to British parents, and whilst he spent the majority of his life in France, he did have connections to England. He was inducted into the Royal Academy in London. This British influence can also be seen in his preoccupation with depicting women at doors or windows peering out at a dreamy, elusive landscape. Critics have noted this inspiration seems to have come from the romantic works of John Constable (1776-1837).
Ablett’s career was both commercially and academically successful.
He was often commissioned to produce illustrative fashion prints for magazines such as ‘French Vogue’ and ‘Les Modes,’ recognised for his modern eye.
He also illustrated Laclos’ infamous novel ‘Dangerous Liasons.’ Academically, Ablett was inducted into the Royal Academy in London and awarded the highest order of merit in France, the Legion of Honour. He cultivated a close relationship with his former teacher turned friend, artist Albert Aublet (1851-1938), and it is clear their friendship must have been a mutually beneficial creative sounding board. Ablett’s daughter would even marry Aublet’s son.
Tragically, Ablett died suddenly in 1937 following a car crash.
Born in Paris.
Received honourable mention at the Salon des Artistes Français.
Received a silver medal from the Liege Exhibition.
Exhibited regularly at Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
Named Knight in the Legion of Honour.
Daughter Marie-Germaine Ablett married Louis Aublet, the son of his
friend and former teacher Albert Aublet.
Died in Beaujon Hospital following a car accident near the Bois de Boulogne.