leon-bonvin

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Léon Bonvin, landscapes, 1859-1866. Walters Art Museum, USA.

"He had but the cold hours of the morning or the heavy hours of the night in which to draw and paint his water-colors" … Despite displaying great talent, Bonvin was largely unrecognized by his contemporaries. In 1866 he hanged himself at the age of 32, apparently due to financial difficulties. More: thewalters.org

Leon Bonvin, Sunset, Woodland Scene 1864

Without wishing to take anything away from Francois Bonvin’s lustre, it is painful to think that Leon’s pictures brought him so little recognition - and the money that he needed so desperately to support his wife. …On January 29, 1866, Bonvin,  desperate to earn money to support himself and his wife, carried a portfolio of his work to Paris where a short-sighted art dealer refused to place his pictures, telling the artist that they are “too dark, not gay enough.”   I recoil from the thought of despair that accompanied him on his trek toward home.  What he thought can only be guessed at, but his conclusions were grim. The next day Bonvin hanged himself from a tree in the forest of Meudon, a place that overlooked the plains of Issy that the artist depicted with such affection in his watercolors.  The little family inn, Bonvin’s wife, and the dog and the cat were all left waiting in Vaugirard for his return.  -The Blue Lantern