French schoolgirl

Arthur Hacker

English ( b.1858 - d.1919 )

French schoolgirl

  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed upper left

Image size 20.5 inches x 12.6 inches ( 52cm x 32cm )
Frame size 37 inches x 27.2 inches ( 94cm x 69cm )

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Sold by Big Sky Fine Art; this original oil painting by Arthur Hacker, dating from around the turn of the century.
The painting is presented and supplied in a sympathetic and contrasting contemporary frame. The painted surfaces and canvas have benefitted from some restoration, cleaning and conservation, which took place in 2014 on our instructions. Some much older restoration is present.
Previously with The Boydell Galleries, 4 North John Street, Liverpool.

Arthur Hacker was perhaps the most versatile of late Victorian artists. As A.L. Baldry upholds in his critique of the artist’s work, ‘A certain disinclination to limit himself to any one type of production has always been an agreeable characteristic of Mr. Hacker’s practice as an artist. His career has been one of wholesome experiment, and has been marked by many changes in his mode of dealing with artistic problems, but it has been full, also, of eminently memorable achievement, and it has been distinguished quite definitely in all its phases’

Hacker excelled in the representation of each and every genre from historical and literary subject matter in a polished, neo‐classical style to depictions of the modern landscape in a personalised Impressionist technique.

Hacker was born in London on 25th September 1858, the son of Edward Hacker the engraver. He went to the Royal Academy Schools from 1876‐1880, before studying in Paris at the atelier of Léon Bonnat (1833‐1922), an internationally famous portrait painter and close friend of Degas. He began exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the age of just 20 and attracted public acclaim. He initially excelled in classical and religious subjects and in the 1880s travelled widely in Italy, Spain, Gibraltar and North Africa collecting material for these.

His early genre and historical scenes include Pelagia and Philemon (1887, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) and The Annunciation, (1892, Tate) which was purchased by the Chantry Bequest. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the New and Grosvenor Galleries and was a founding member of the New English Art Club. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1894, and began teaching there also. He was elected Royal Academician in 1910.

Hacker had both the talent and good sense to change his style to suit the mood of the public and when classical works became less popular he turned to portrait painting, and country scenes of children. In his later years he returned to painting mythological and allegorical subjects. He lived in London throughout his life and died there on 21st November 1919.

His work is today represented at the Tate and Royal Academy, Brighton & Hove Museums, Manchester City Art Gallery and the Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum.

This delicate portrait in oils depicts a young seated French schoolgirl, wearing a blue smock with a yellow bow, holding a chalk board, on which she has drawn a stick figure.