Honoré Louis Umbricht

Portrait Of Marguerite Grosjean

Regular price £1,495.00
Unit price

Honoré Louis Umbricht

Portrait Of Marguerite Grosjean

Regular price £1,495.00
Unit price
Make An Enquiry

This early 20th-century oil painting by French artist Honoré Louis Umbricht (1860-1943) depicts Marguerite Grosjean (b. 1895), the daughter of law of Alexandre Grosjean, the mayor of Besançon.

Umbricht was a distinguished painter of genre scenes, landscapes, stills and portraits. Born in the attractive city of Obernai, in the Alsace region of North-East France, he had inspiration at his fingertips. Distant mountains, picturesque valleys, the sparkling Ehn River, and sprawling rural plains - a veritable smorgasbord of views.

He honed his draughtsmanship under the tuition of his uncle, ‘Hess’, and was soon offered a scholarship by the German government to study in Munich. He refused, however, and headed for Paris to train under the highly-regarded Léon Bonnat (1833-1922).

Bonnat’s studio was synonymous with success and he encouraged his students to paint freely and with expression. His own portraits were influenced by the Spanish masters, such as Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), and he extolled the virtues of this style. Umbricht was in fine company as Bonnat also trained John Singer Sargent, P. S. Krøyer, Erik Werenskiold, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Gustave Caillebotte among others.

Following his training, the Paris Salon beckoned and the young Umbricht’s debut came in 1880. By 1884, he’d been awarded his first medal and several more would follow including at the Chicago and London Exhibition and the prestigious Exposition Universelle (1900). He was subsequently knighted with the Cross of the Order of Leopold.

Midway through his career, the critics were alive with praise describing his portraits as “full of mastery” and with “very true and harmonious” colouring. In 1911, the newspaper ‘Le Rappel’ described him as “earning a place among our best portraitists”. His adroit handling of colour was often the highlight of press reviews, rarely dull, he preferred to tantalise the eyes with a lively, yet harmonious palette.

From the 1920s onwards, his career seems to have plateaued, perhaps due to the rise of the avant-garde in Paris. Interest waned in classically inspired works in favour of the emerging modernists. During this later period, he produced numerous portraits for local dignitaries, as we see here. These were full of guile, energy and his trademark effervescence. Each underpinned by his education with Bonnat - the spirit of Velázquez firmly front of mind.

Today, the achievements of Honoré Louis Umbricht are consigned to the archives and rarely do his works surface. He was a traditionalist usurped by new Parisian ideologies. His daughter, Marie-Thérèse Umbricht, also became a painter. He’s represented at various museums including in Nancy and Strasbourg.

The sitter, Marguerite Grosjean, was born in Erstein, Bas-Rhin, Grand Est, France. She was around 30 for this sitting.

Signed in the lower left and held within its original gilt frame.

Learn more about Honoré Louis Umbricht in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 30” x 35” / 76cm x 89cm
Year of creation: c. 1925
Labels & Inscriptions: Inscribed on the reverse with a reference to the sitter.
Provenance: Private collection, France.
Condition: Assessed and approved by our conservator. Cleaned. Revarnished. Faint stretcher marks. Frame restored.
Artist’s auction maximum: £18,200
Our reference: BRV1767

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

Stay In Touch
Subscribe to our Wednesday newsletter for the latest finds and 10% off your order.