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Alfred ROLL
Paris, 1846 - Paris, 1919

A horse rider (study) 

Oil on canvas

32.5 cm x 41.5 cm

Signed at bootom right : Roll

Stamp at bottom left (number 137)

Inscription on the back "Henri Cuinal (?) Donné à son père "

Stamp of the canvas merchant "Rey&Perrod" (active between 1879 et 1889) 

Our painting was painted in the 1880s. It is a portrait of a horse rider probably named A"Henri Cuinal" as written at teh back of the painting.

Alfred Roll started to be interested in horses in 1873 and 1874 in Roscoff and at the Alfort veterinary School. He realized many studies at the time which will result in Salon paintings, including Halte là ! in 1875 and The Huntress in 1876.

Alfred Roll painted nature as a faithful witness, he painted vivid scenes with men but also animals especially cows and horses. It is the same spirit of naturalism of which Alfred Roll is one of the first representatives in painting, to bring man and nature. Moreover, as noted at the time by the art critic Paul Vitry "its animals, nudes, portraits are bathed in light rays. They drink the sun. But their reality is no less nonetheless". This is possible because, as his biographer Jean-Valmy Baysse wrote, Roll has "powerful intuition of the purely instinctive life in these animals, whose look, attitude are rated one gulp if safe "(Alfred Philippe Roll, his life, his work).



Coming Artfair : 

That year, Alfred Roll is beginning to be known (above: Self-portrait around 1875, Museum of Fine Arts of Bordeaux). Eugène Fromentin, president of the jury of the Salon the same year, comes to see Roll in his workshop. Fromentin appreciates Roll last painting Halte-là ! (see photo above). But he does not find the color of the horse at his taste in the background. Seeing him rather clear bay than dark bay, he takes Roll palette and do it again in half an hour and Roll dares not say a word ... but once Fromentin is left, he did it himself again jsut as it was before !
It is the problem of academicism: it often seeks to impose itself, whereas painting before nature generally remains more modest! Alfred Roll will stand in opposition to academic art.
Regading the great academic painter William Bouguereau, he tells this story for a laughing: "One day out, Saint Joseph saw a painting of Bouguereau:" Sure, "he said," it is not the work of a carpenter. " !
"Humanitarian expression", "solid reality", "portraits bathed in luminous rays". Many expressions of the art critic Paul Vitry that qualify the naturalist art of Alfred Roll (above: picture of the painting of the museum of Orsay: Manda Lamétrie, farmer). "A cordial, robust and truthful painter," he will also say.
Roll was also called "the painter of light". Painting characters and animals in the light, this was his obsession and the subject of many of his paintings.
And indeed, Alfred Roll was very influenced by the art of Rembrandt. In Alfred Roll words himself : "Rembrandt: the characteristic of his work is life expressed by light." "Drawing is a resultant, not a formula. Rembrandt's model, solid, and also light like air and wind. "
When Alfred Roll speaks of the light, he becomes a poet. Especially when he speaks about women, one of his favorite subjects. "O woman, the sky holds you and dominates you, it is the master whose colors you wear. It smiles at you, exalts you, is akin to you by its marvelous inconstancy. Nimbed in her joy, you become pink child, all the magic ... But, if you want, you can become a drama. "(Above: Alfred Roll's Salon Chart of 1876: La Chasseresse )!
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