It was a little confusing researching information on Frédéric Soulacroix because I found varying details for him. Since I am not an art historian or student I am happy for any clarification on the facts, and for ease will herein use the dates given by Sotheby’s : 1858. France. Died, 1933.
According to a catalogue note on the Sotheby’s website :
“Soulacroix’s models rarely step outside their elegant interiors, where the rooms are always decorated with silks, velvets, flowers and directoire furniture, garnished with ormolu. While born in France, Soulacroix lived in Florence, where he worked with Sorbi (see lot 80), an artist equally skilled in depicting high society’s pleasures. While Sorbi more often paints the world of men, Soulacroix introduces his viewer to the fashionable feminine realm where précieuses and élégantes meet for an afternoon tea to discuss the latest gossip. Here the whispering of one woman into the ear of another is delicious enough to illicit a smile as she takes the arm of her girlfriend. The lady’s expression of expectation elevates the narrative tension of the scene set in an earlier era where (Soulacroix and his patrons believed) women could afford long leisure hours to share delightful stories.”
A biography according to Wikipedia –
“Soulacroix was born to well-known fresco painters and sculptors, Charles Soulacroix and Giacinta Diofebo. By the age of 15 years, in 1873, Frédéric entered the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence, and, in October 1876, he was admitted to its School of Painting. He remained in Florence for many years painting often romantic genre pieces in costume of the 18th or early 19th centuries. Among his works were Diritto di pedaggio; A declaration of Love; A Goodbye; Il brindisi; Per le scale; The message; L’ultimo sguardo; Una confidenza flìrtation; Une incroyable; Buone nuove; Cattive nuove; Leaving for the War; La leggitrìce; and Il regalo dell’amante nel giorno natalizio.”
Another biography by Maher Art Gallery :
“SOULACROIX (1858-1933) – Charles Joseph Frédéric Soulacroix was born in Montpellier in France on 6 July 1825. He enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in September 1845, studying with the sculptors A.A. Dumont (1801-1884) and E.J. Ramey (1796-1852) and the German painter P. Cornelius (1783-1867). The artist won awards for both sculpture and painting and he made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1849.
Soulacroix painted a number of history paintings and he also decorated the dome and six side chapels in Notre Dame Cathedral between 1863 and 1865 at the request of Monseigneur Haffreingue, the Bishop of Boulogne-sur-Mer.
In July 1852 Soulacroix married Giacinta Diofebo in Rome. He worked here after his marriage and also in Parma, Pisa, Livorno and Florence. During this time he perfected his best-known subject matter, scenes depicting 18th Century costumed figures. He greatly excelled in painting these figures in the fashionable salons of Paris and Florence and he showed off his technical skills by painting elegant furniture and the fine silk and satin fabrics of dresses and wall coverings. The lives of the affluent society of the period are beautifully recorded in these exquisite works and they were very popular during the artist’s lifetime.”
And further according to Burlington Art :
“Soulacroix was born in Montpellier on 6th July, 1825. He began his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1845 where he was a pupil of Ramney, Cornelius and Dumont. The artist made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1849.
Soulacroix excelled in painting figurative subjects in the sumptuous interiors of the fashionable salons of Paris. The artist pays particular attention to detail in his paintings, depicting elegant furniture with fine silk and satin fabrics on the dresses and walls. He was very popular during his lifetime and continues to be regarded as the master of this genre today.”
For me, Charles Joseph Frédéric Soulacroix indeed captures the sumptuousness of fabrics and interiors just as Arturo Ricci and Vittorio Regginanini both do so masterfully, but I find there to be more truth in the countenances and poses of Soulacroix’s work, as well as a little more raciness too! The faces look more like they would be actual people of the age, with more character in the noses and chins and some chubbiness, and to my eye seem less ‘photoshopped’ than the idealised scenarios of Reggianini. But for this very reason Reggianini remains my favourite artist of the time, for his works paint paradise in the way that we would want to imagine it in our fantasies – of a picture perfect world of story book delight.
If you know more facts about Charles Joseph Frédéric Soulacroix / Frédéric Soulacroix please do share in the comments below. Thanks for visiting!
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