(Decize 1823 - 1890 Cercy-La-Tour)


Portrait of a man

Signed and dated center right h hanoteau / 1885

Oil on panel

18 1/8 x 14 1/2 inches

Private collection, France.

Born in Decize in 1823, Hector Hanoteau grew up comfortably in the central French town with his bourgeois parents and elder brother of nine years. He began painting at a young age, and in 1841 moved to Paris to work under the artist Charles Caïus Renoux (1745-1846). Upon Renoux’s passing he attended the École des Beaux-Arts, where he joined the workshop of Jean Gigoux (1806-1894). Influenced by his teacher, Hanoteau initially focused on genre painting, however soon thereafter he developed passion for the landscape. The artist’s love for depicting nature was no doubt encouraged by his friendship with Gustave Courbet (1819-1977), whom he met upon joining Gigoux’s workshop. Hanoteau connected with a great number of painters and writers who frequented Courbet’s workshop including Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, Theodore Rousseau and Honoré Daumier. They remained close throughout their lives and even collaborated on paintings, most notably Baigneuses of 1858, which was later cropped sometime between 1930 and 1950.

Gustave Courbet and Hector Hanoteau,  Baigneuses , 1858, oil on canvas, 115.4 x 155.5 cm, Museé d’Orsay.

Gustave Courbet and Hector Hanoteau, Baigneuses, 1858, oil on canvas, 115.4 x 155.5 cm, Museé d’Orsay.

Hanoteau participated in the Paris Salon every year from 1847 to 1889, achieving high praise and recognition. He won multiple medals and honors including the privilege of exhibiting his work without the initial approval of the jury. He was awarded the greatest honor of the cross of the Légion d’honneur in 1870 and went on to receive a first-class medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris. Hanoteau founded a school of painting in Briet, Cercy-la Tour, where he was elected mayor of the town in 1870.

Hector Hanoteau was a renowned artist in his lifetime and remained very influential among his peers and students. Though we do not know the identity of the sitter in our portrait, it is likely one of Hanoteau’s many pupils. The mustachioed subject may be a young Louis Mathieu Poussereau (1855-1931), who studied with Hanoteau from 1879 until the artist’s death in 1890. Poussereau was a gifted and ambitious archaeologist, historian and poet, drawn to painting through his close ties with members of the Nevers Artistic Circle. Hector Hanoteau never ceased to surround himself with zealous members of the bohemian creative milieu, and even after achieving success, he continued to practice a collaborative an interdisciplinary approach in his painting and teaching.