A Boar Hunt in Poland (Primary Title)

Carle Vernet, French, 1758 - 1836 (Artist)

oil on canvas
Unframed: 25 1/2 × 32 in. (64.77 × 81.28 cm)
Framed: 33 1/2 × 39 3/4 in. (85.09 × 100.97 cm)

Carle Vernet was a member of a famous family of artists; his father Joseph was a well-known and much-admired painter of seascapes. Carle’s son Horace would also become a successful painter, eventually becoming the director of the French Academy in Rome. Carle trained in his father’s studio and was said to have shown an interest in drawing horses at a very young age. When Carle was twenty-four, his prodigious talent won him the coveted Prix de Rome, a high honor that allowed him to study and paint in Rome for several years. Following the French Revolution, he went on to become a favorite artist of Napoleon’s regime, painting large contemporary history and battle scenes.

A Boar Hunt in Poland was part of a series of four hunting scenes (the others having since been lost) and is characteristic of Vernet’s highly energetic romantic style. Here in the climax of a boar hunt, snapping and frothing hunting dogs have finally closed in on their prey. The boar, exhausted and dying, has not quite given up the fight. Armed with a long pike, the nobleman in the red coat, aided by the huntsman on the right, attempts to spear the boar from his horse. By situating the hunt in Poland, Vernet gave the scene a slightly exotic flavor, heightening the overall intensity. Vernet made his career on energetic multifigure scenes, such as this, which are marked by the artist’s supreme skill and control at balancing technique and narrative.

signed "Carle Vernet, 1831, Rome" in lower right
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
Trippi, Peter. "The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Takes a Fresh Look at 19th-Century Europe." Fine Art Connoisseur, vol. 8 issue 5 (October, 2011): pp. 33-37. Color ill. pp. 35.

Tableaux du XIXe siècle, Sotheby’s, Monaco auction catalogue, June 16, 1990, no. 618, p. 28-29 (illus.).

Importants Dessins et Tableaux Anciens, Ader Picard Tajan auction catalogue, Dec. 12, 1988, no. 77, p. 87 (illus.).

Armand Dayot, Carle Vernet, etude sure l’artiste, Paris, 1925, no. 20.

Paul Colin, Collection de Rosen, catalogue de l’oeuvre de Carle Vernet, Brussels, 1923, no. 149c.

Armand Dayot, Les Vernet, Joseph, Carle et Horace, Paris, 1898, p. 213.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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