Francois Alfred Delobbe, ‘Sisterly Love’, 1892,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Francois Alfred Delobbe, ‘Sisterly Love’, 1892,  M.S. Rau Antiques
Francois Alfred Delobbe, ‘Sisterly Love’, 1892,  M.S. Rau Antiques

The affectionate love between sisters is the subject of this endearing work by François Alfred Delobbe, one of the most successful naturalist painters of the late 19th century. Painted in the Academic style, this outstanding work, entitled Sisterly Love, beautifully exhibits Delobbe's masterful Academic style, as well as his skill at portraying young peasant girls. Sweetly rendered with a sincere sense of joy, this wonderful oil on canvas is one of Delobbe's most delightful works.

Born in Paris in 1835, Delobbe entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts circa 1851, at the age of 16. His first instructor was Thomas Couture, the academic painter of historical genre scenes who also taught Edouard Manet during this period, from 1850-1856. Although Delobbe remained a staunch Academician throughout his career, his early works contained elements indicating that Manet may have been more than a passing influence on his aesthetic.

Delobbe next entered the studio of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, the premier Academician, who encouraged him to focus on mythological scenes and portraiture. In 1861, he made his debut at the Salon des Artistes Français with a portrait of his mother that received positive critical response in the Parisian press. Throughout the 1860s, Delobbe's continued success at the annual Salon earned him government commission to paint mural decorations for the town hall in the newly annexed 15th arrondissement in Paris, located in the southwestern corner of the city. This was a coveted large-scale project that was one of only eight such projects available at the time.

During these years, Delobbe became a close friend of Alfred Guillou, a genre painter who had also studied with Bouguereau. It was through this friendship that Delobbe would come to know Brittany, whose landscapes and people would prove to be his most timeless subjects. It was also during his many subsequent visits to the area that Delobbe would incorporate an Impressionistic brightness and sense of immediacy into his work. In addition, Delobbe’s friendship with Guillou formed the foundation for a small group of artists, including Charles-Henry Fromuth, who routinely gathered in this modest town searching for inspiration. During the latter half of his career, women and children, particularly those of Brittany, were Delobbe’s preferred subjects. Whether portraying them sifting grain, tending cattle, or making the exquisite Breton lace, Delobbe's painted his subjects with admiration and without condescension. Delobbe’s Breton works found a ready audience at the Paris Salons, a trend which continued until his death in 1920.

Painted in 1892