Born in Paris in 1829, Trouillebert began his artistic training in the studio of Auguste-Antoine-Ernest Hébert, an artist whose oeuvre encompassed diverse subject matter, ranging from portraits to mythology to landscapes of the Roman campagna.
Trouillebert debuted at the Paris Salon of 1865 with Portrait de Mlle A... and at every Salon from 1865 to 1872 he exhibited at least one portrait, despite the fact that his interest had shifted primarily to landscape painting. The artist's reputation is based upon his landscape paintings, and his similarity to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and this linked him closely to the other artists of the Barbizon School.
As The Snake Charmer readily attests, Trouillebert was much more than a landscape artist. His occasional forays into the world of Orientalism are remarkable, and his ability in rendering the nude female form is often overlooked. In fact, his most well-received composition was Les Baigneuses, his entry into the 1882 Salon. Henri Loyette wrote, 'Trouillebert was mostly known for his landscapes in the manner of Corot, that he repeated countless times during his entire life. These works make one forget that this student of Hébert could be an original painter, as proven by L'Orientale' (H. Loyette, 'Acquisitions,' Revue de Louvre, vol. 42, October 1992, p. 71).
Given the fact that Trouillebert's reputation as an artist is based upon dreamy landscapes, The Snake Charmer is particularly startling, in both the virtuoso handling of the female nude and for its stark sexuality. A beautiful nude woman, with long, flowing black hair is seated on a fur-covered bed in a stark interior, enhanced by the bare stone wall behind her. She raises castanets above her head to attract the cobra, which, rearing up, flicks its tongue in the direction of her thighs. The overt sensual overtones are further enhanced by the masterful modeling of the young girl's flesh.
'The greatest merit of Trouillebert is to be a complete painter; he never confined himself to a genre: he was also just as skillful at bringing to life the flesh of a woman as painting bright and hazy landscapes, of the banks of the Loire or the Oise with the soft aspects of trees, of spring mornings, of portraits or of still life of a true realism. His oeuvre which was considerable, conserves a tonality that is its own, an incontestable originality and strong personality that differentiates it from Corot and which assures him one of the greatest places, even if it is not the first among contemporary landscape painters' (Edouard-Joseph, Dictionnaire biographique des artistes contemporains: 1910-1930, Paris, Librarie Gund, 1934, pp. 353-354).
This work has been authenticated by Claude Marumo.