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  • Jules Joseph Lefebvre
    Mar 14, 1834 - Feb 24, 1912
  • Graziella - Jules Joseph Lefebvre was a renowned French academic painter of the 19th century, known for his exceptional skill in portrait and figurative painting. Lefebvre's artistic talent became evident early in life, and he went on to become one of the leading academic artists of his time.
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  • Graziella

  • Jules Joseph Lefebvre
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  • 1878
    Oil on canvas
    78 3/4 x 44 1/4 in. (200 x 112.4 cm)

    Graziella is the title character of a novel by Alphonse de Lamartine that recounts the tragic affair between a young French man and the beautiful granddaughter of a Neapolitan fisherman. At the end of the story, the heroine dies of grief when her lover is forced to abandon her. Lefebvre portrays Graziella mending a fishing net as she gazes over the sea at the distant smoldering profile of Mount Vesuvius. The red flower petals that have drifted from her hair onto the ground evoke the waning of the couple’s passion and her imminent collapse.

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Other paintings by Jules Joseph Lefebvre:

Fleurs des Champs
Fleurs des Champs
Girl with a Mandolin
Girl with a Mandolin
Graziella 1892
Graziella 1892
Griselidis (Prayer)
Griselidis (Prayer)
Jules Joseph LefebvreJules Joseph Lefebvre was a French figure painter, educator and theorist.

Lefebvre was born in Tournan-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, on 14 March 1836. He entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and was a pupil of Léon Cogniet.

He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1861. Between 1855 and 1898, he exhibited 72 portraits in the Paris Salon. In 1891, he became a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.

He was professor at the Académie Julian in Paris. Lefebvre is chiefly important as an excellent and sympathetic teacher who numbered many Americans among his 1500 or more pupils. Among his famous students were Fernand Khnopff, Kenyon Cox, Félix Vallotton, Ernst Friedrich von Liphart, Georges Rochegrosse, the Scottish-born landscape painter William Hart, Walter Lofthouse Dean, and Edmund C. Tarbell, who became an American Impressionist painter. Another pupil was the miniaturist Alice Beckington. Jules Benoit-Lévy entered his workshop at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.

Many of his paintings are single figures of beautiful women. Among his best portraits were those of M. L. Reynaud and the Prince Imperial (1874)