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La Charmeuse
LEON HERBO
(1850 - 1907)
La Charmeuse
Oil on canvas
31 x 36 inches
Signed and dated 1890

Female beauty was much prized in the 19th century and for the first time a number of pictures were painted whose sole purpose was the depiction of beauty; not so much in the form of specific portraiture, but more as homage to feminine beauty in its own right.  It was this climate of receptivity that encouraged Greuze, and later Leon Herbo and others like him, to paint series of portraits of attractive girls.  It is incontestable that the appeal of the most risqué cosmopolitan beauties depicted in many pictures lay in their citizenship of the demimonde. Emile Zola’s Nana may have figured for the model of some of these paintings, as she did in Manet’s portrait of her.

The vogue for titles such as
La Mysterieuse or La Belle Dame sans Merci (A Beautiful Woman Without Mercy), presented the late 19th century woman as an intriguing creature, emphasizing the inner qualities of the female sex while at the same time presenting their decorative exterior.  Herbo’s La Charmeuse (The Charmer) is one work from an important group of paintings done by the artist during the late 19th century, paying tribute to the beautiful women of his time, and exploring their sensual and seductive nature.

Leon Herbo was a Belgian genre and portrait painter, born in Templeuve on October 7, 1850.  A pupil of Legendre and Stallaert at both the Academies of Tournai and Brussels, Herbo mastered the art of fine detail.  He then continued his studies in France, Germany and Italy before returning to settle in Brussels.  His debut exhibition was in 1875, and he took part in exhibits throughout Europe.  He was a prolific artist and it is believed that he produced over 1200 paintings during his lifetime.

In 1876, Herbo, Julien Dillens and Emile Namur founded L’Essor, the Belgian realist school.  The group’s members were concerned with realism, each of them, however, finding their own style and emphasizing their varied personalities.  The Brussels based group organized annual exhibitions from 1876 – 1881, as well as later exhibitions for its members in Oestde, Antwerp and London.  In 1891, on the occasion of the group’s 15
th anniversary, the “Essorians” opened at the Brussels Museum with a historic retrospective exhibition of the works of their founding members; among them were a number of works by Herbo.

In 1889 Herbo received an Honorable Mention at the Universal Exposition in Paris and was made a Knight of the Order of Leopold. He continued working in Brussels and began teaching at the Academy, where he would soon take over as Director.

Today, examples of his work can be found in both public and private collections.

 
INDEX - A VISUAL HISTORY > <
Virtual Exhibition Index next prev
AIRY, ANNA (1882 - 1964)The Little Mirror
BARBER, CHARLES BURTON (1845 - 1894)Off to School
BOLOTOWSKY, ILYA (1907 - 1981)Abstract
BONHEUR, AUGUSTE (1824 - 1884)Ploughing in the Nivernais
BONHEUR, ROSA (1822 - 1899)Couching Lion
BOUDIN, EUGENE LOUIS (1824 - 1898)La bassin, Deauville
BOUGUEREAU, WILLIAM A. (1825 - 1905)La Frileuse
BOUGUEREAU, WILLIAM A. (1825 - 1905)Marchande de grenades (Pomegranate Seller)
CHAIGNEAU, JEAN F. (1830 - 1906)Le Jardin de l'Artiste
CHOULTSE, IVAN F. (b.1877)Nuit de Mars, Russie
CLAYS, PAUL JEAN (1819 - 1900)Shipping on the Scheldt
COALE, GRIFFITH BAILEY (1890 - 1950)The Baltimore Flower Mart - 1915
COROT, JEAN-BAPTISTE-CAMILLE (1796 - 1875)Pâturage dans les marais (Souvenir des environs d'Amiens)
CORTÈS, EDOUARD LEON (1882 - 1969)The Breton Family
DAWSON, MONTAGUE (1895 - 1973)The Pirate's Cove, Wafer Bay, Cocos Island
DIÉTERLE, MARIE (1856 - 1935)Troupeau dans un chemin creux
DRUMMOND, ARTHUR (1871 - 1951)Victorian Fantasy
DUPRÉ, JULES (1811 - 1889)Environs de Plymouth
DUPRÉ, JULIEN (1851 - 1910)La rentrée au village
DUPRE, JULIEN (1851 - 1910)La Prairie
DUPRE, JULIEN (1851 - 1910)Glaneuses
ELSLEY, ARTHUR J. (1860 - 1952)Good Night
FISHER, R.A., WILLIAM MARK (1841-1923)In the Garden
FRERE, CHARLES THEODORE (1814 - 1888)A Caravan Crossing the Desert
GIRARDET, EUGENE ALEXIS (1853 - 1907)Outside the Mosque
GIRARDET, EUGENE ALEXIS (1853 - 1907)The Wailing Wall
HERBO, LEON (1850 - 1907)La Charmeuse
ISRAELS, ISAAC (1865 - 1934)Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette
JOUBERT, LEON (fl.1883 - 1900)Un Coin de Seine a Lavacourt
KNIGHT, DANIEL RIDGWAY (1839 - 1924)A Pensive Moment
KNIGHT, DANIEL RIDGWAY (1839 - 1924)En Vendanges
LUNY, THOMAS (1759 - 1837)Engagement Between Sir George Brydges Rodney and the Spanish Squadron, Commanded by Don Juan de Langara, Near Cape St. Vincent, January 16, 1780
MARCKE DE LUMMEN, EMILE VAN (1827 - 1890)Vaches a Pâture
MOREAU, ADRIEN (1843-1906)Une Mascarade au XVII Siecle
MOSTYN, TOM (1864 - 1930)Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May
MUNIER, EMILE (1840 - 1895)La retour du marché
MUNIER, EMILE (1840 - 1895)May I Have One Too
PERRAULT, LEON J.B. (1832 - 1908)Away From Home
PERRAULT, LEON J.B. (1832 - 1908)Sleeping Putto
PERUGINI , CHARLES EDWARD (1839-1918)The Green Lizard
RIGOLOT, ALBERT GABRIEL (1862 - 1932)Soleil Levant dans la Brume
ROSSI, ALEXANDER MARK (FL.1870 - 1903)Forbidden Books
ROSSI, ALEXANDER MARK (FL.1870 - 1903) May I Have This Dance?
SALMON, ROBERT (1775 - c.1845) The Estridge off Dover
SCHIELE, EGON (1890 - 1918)Semi-nude with Green Stockings from the Back
SCHRYVER, LOUIS MARIE DE (1862 - 1942)A Young Man's Fancy
SCHRYVER, LOUIS MARIE DE (1862 - 1942)Après l’averse; - place du Théâtre-Français
SEIGNAC, GUILLAUME (1870 - 1924)Reflections
SISLEY, ALFRED (1839 - 1899)La Seine à Suresnes
TOPHAM, FRANCIS W.W. (1838 - 1924)Young Girl on a Swing
WARDLE, ARTHUR (1864 – 1949)The Deer-Stealer
WILLIAMS, EDWARD CHARLES (1807 - 1881)The Old Roadside Inn