While Théodule Ribot is generally known as a painter of cooks and still lifes a part of his artistic production focused on self-portraits and studies of family members, close friends and supporters of the visual arts. Often these were half-length poses where Ribot placed sitters against a dark background and spotlighted either face or hands for an expressive, dramatic impact. These compositions reveal Ribot as a sensitive student of character and a careful realist recorder of individuality.
This study of M. Cardon, an homme de lettres and a traveler to North Africa, was a work the painter inscribed to his friend--suggesting a close and lasting relationship. The lively treatment of garments, and the fluid brushwork in muted tones, further documents a bravura side to Ribot's portraiture--tendencies used to create an impression of lifelike immediacy.
The painting was included in the Exposition Th. Ribot held at the
Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1892 as a fitting tribute to the creative independence of the artist.
We are grateful to Dr. Gabriel P. Weisberg for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.