Each year I celebrate the lives and work of artists with anniversaries. This coming year there are three major anniversaries: it’s the tercentenary of the birth of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the bicentenary of the birth of Alexandre Cabanel, and the centenary of the untimely death of Joaquín Sorolla.
16 February: in 1823, Pierre-Paul Prud’hon died. Born in 1758, he was a French painter who was sought after as a portraitist, painted both Napoleon’s wives, and influenced Théodore Géricault.
22 March: in 1923, Benjamin Williams Leader died. He was an English landscape painter who was born in 1831, but never attained the fame of Constable or Turner.
23 March: in 1923, Ernest Normand died. He had been born in 1857, and in 1884 married the controversial artist Henrietta Rae. Although a member of Lord Leighton’s circles, and friends with those in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, he remains relatively unknown.
30 April: in 1823, William Bradford was born. He specialised in painting views of the Arctic, and in 1869 travelled on an expedition to Greenland, which he painted extensively. He died in 1892.
16 July: in 1723, Joshua Reynolds was born. He was the prominent British painter of his day, a co-founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, and died in 1792. He was later vilified by the Pre-Raphaelites, who nicknamed him Sir Sloshua.
8 August: in 1823, Théodule Ribot was born. He was a French realist painter of domestic genre works, and died in 1891.
10 August: in 1923, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida died. Born in Valencia, Spain, in 1863, he became one of the leading oil painters in Europe by the end of the century. He was notorious for painting large canvases at a furious pace using long-handled brushes, and many rank him alongside John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn.
13 August: in 1523, Gerard David died. He was an early Netherlandish painter known for his use of brilliant colour, and was born in 1460.
28 September: in 1823, Alexandre Cabanel was born. One of the great French narrative artists of the nineteenth century, was was a devoted and influential teacher, several of whose pupils became prominent Naturalists. He died in 1889.
16 October: in 1523, Luca Signorelli died. He was an Italian Renaissance painter responsible for major frescos and altarpieces. He was born in 1445.
19 October: in 1923, Eleanor Norcross died. She was an American painter of portraits and the occasional still life, who lived for most of her career in Paris, although she initially trained with William Merritt Chase and Alfred Stevens. She was born in 1854.
19 October: in 1723, Sir Godfrey Kneller died. He was born in Lübeck in 1646, trained with Rembrandt, then migrated to England in 1676. He was appointed court painter, inevitably specialising in portraiture.
4 November: in 1923, Edward Reginald Frampton died. Born in 1870, he was one of the last wave of Pre-Raphaelites, who was influenced by Edward Burne-Jones and Symbolism.
On a date unknown in 1523, Pietro Perugino died. An Italian painter of the Umbrian school, he made the switch to oil paints relatively early. He trained alongside Leonardo da Vinci and taught Raphael. He was born in about 1446.
On a date unknown in 1723 Gavin Hamilton was born. He was a Scottish neoclassical history painter who painted portraits in London for five years before going to live and paint in Rome, where he died in 1798.
I hope that you will join me in celebrating the lives and works of these painters in the coming year, and wish you a happy and successful New Year.