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Raphaël Collin

Louis-Joseph-Raphaël Collin (Jun 17, 1850 – Oct 21, 1916) was a French painter born and raised in Paris, where he became a prominent academic painter and a teacher He is principally known for the links he created between French and Japanese art, in both painting and ceramics

Raphaël Collin is the eldest son of Nicolas Pierre Collin (1820-1900), curator at the Bibliothèque municipale de Paris, an amateur painter who exhibited at the Salon from 1865 to 1870, and Catherine de Mouzon, his wife, originally from the Meuse Four years later the couple gave him a sister, whom they named Blanche (1854-1917)

He studied at the Lycée Saint-Louis, then at Verdun in the class of Monsieur Fouquet, where he has as a fellow student Jules Bastien-Lepage, who will become a faithful friend Then in the middle of 1860 he was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the studio of William Bouguereau (1825-1905), then joined Bastien-Lepage in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel ( 1823-1889), with Fernand Cormon, Aimé Morot, Henri Gervex, and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant

Collin’s early work closely followed the essential tenets of French academism Like the Renaissance painters they admired, the nineteenth-century academicians used historical, religious, or allegorical painting to communicate an idea Within the parameters of this literary art, Collin made subtle modifications to the accepted academic style, introducing elements of the impressionist technique into his allegorical scenes Such formal techniques as formal composition and bright color evoked the light filled landscapes of impressionism rather than the dark chiaroscuro of Renaissance painting

During the last few decades of the nineteenth century, academic painting in France was in crisis, eclipsed by the new artistic movements of impressionism and symbolism Collin’s friendship with members of the impressionists provided him with insights into the new direction contemporary painting was taking He adapted his work accordingly and in such paintings as Young Woman, he found a compromise between the academic style and the new painterly innovations of the impressionists and the Nabis Collin began to emphasize the picture surface by reducing the spatial depth of his paintings as well as composing with areas of concentrated color Yet he never completely abandoned the hallmarks of academicism: allegory and naturalism

Raphaël Collin is a painter of genre, nudes, portraits, decorative compositions and an illustrator He was a great collector of antique terracotta, sandstone and pottery from Japan He worked with Theodore Deck from 1872 to 1889 to create decorative earthenware Very popular in Japan, his painting was introduced by art dealer Hayashi Tadamasa

He exhibited from 1873 to the Salon where he was awarded several prizes In 1880 he bought a property in Fontenay-aux-Roses, the Marinières lane, and it was in his garden that he set up his models in the open air Then he moved to rue des Châtaigniers1 at the height of the building bearing the name La Résidence du Peintre, cultivating orchids, lilies and peonies and many plants of Japanese origin

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Among his decorative paintings is the ceiling for the small foyer of the Théâtre de l’Odéon2, and a rotunda ceiling for the Opéra-Comique in Paris

Collin figured prominently in artistic exchanges between Paris and Tokyo during the late nineteenth century as Kuroda Seiki, Kume Keiichirō, and Okada Saburōsuke, among others, studied in his studio and at the Académie Colarossi, where Collin was associated Kuroda and Kume, who subsequently assumed professorships at the Tokyo Fine Arts School (Tokyo Bijutsu Gakkō), were especially instrumental in introducing to Japan Collin’s academic teaching methods as well as the lighter palette, brushwork, and plein air approach he espoused This mentorship of the first generation of Japanese oil painters contributed to the special respect he continues to enjoy in Japan

Collin also illustrated many books, notably Daphnis and Chloé (1890) and Chansons de Bilitis (1906)

He was elected a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1909, in the painting section, in the chair of Ernest Hébert (1817-1908) In 1911, he was appointed professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, replacing Luc-Olivier Merson, including Florimond Méreauau, Germain Raingo-Pelouse, Julien Saraben and Maurice Sébastien He died suddenly on October 19, 1916, while on vacation in Brionne

It was his pupil Maurice Sebastien Laurent who was his universal legatee His funeral was celebrated on October 24 in Paris and he was buried in the Fontenay-aux-Roses cemetery with his parents and his sister Blanche His tomb is adorned with a statue

Its collection of Japanese ceramics for the tea ceremony was acquired in 1917 by the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon

Public Collections:
In France
Paris, musée d’Orsay: Portrait of Mrs Jean-Georges Müntz, 1879
Paris City Hall: La Poésie, 1890-1893, decorative panel for the Salon des Lettres
Paris, formerly in the Luxembourg Museum: Floréal, 1886
Paris, Sorbonne: End of Summer, 1886-1888, decorative panel for the dining room of the rector’s apartment
Paris, musée Rodin: Intimacy, 1897
Paris, Opéra-Comique: The Harmonies of Nature inspire the composer, 1898-1900, ceiling
Municipal Fund for Contemporary Art of the City of Paris:
Portrait of Mme Blondeau, 1891
Solitude, 1901
Museum of Fine Arts of Rouen: Sleep, 1873
Alençon, museum of fine arts and lace: Daphnis and Chloé, 1877, work destroyed during a fire
Museum of Art and History of Belfort: Music and Dance, 1880, decorative panels for the foyer of the municipal theater of Belfort
Museum of Art of Toulon: Portrait of Miss Rossolin, 1889
Arras Museum of Fine Arts: Portrait of a Young Girl, 1900
Fontenay-aux-Roses, town hall: Decorative panel, circa 1912, council chamber, work destroyed in 1979
In Germany
Gothenburg Museum of Fine Arts: The Summer, 1884
In Japan
Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music:
Idylle, 1882
Self-portrait, 1882
Shimane Prefectural Museum: Portrait of the young Elise G , 1885
Prefectural Museum of Chiba: Meditation, 1904
Fukuoka City Museum:
By the sea, 1892
Young Girl, 1894

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