In 1903, Barbier left his home town of Arras to work in Paris, and in the same year, succeeded in exhibiting four paintings at the Salon des Independants. He would later achieve great success when his paintings were displayed at the Salon des Tuileries from 1924 to 1926, at the Exposition Internationale in 1937, and at the prestigious Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1944 and 1964.
Following his illustrious elders, Courbet, Corot and Monet, Barbier depicted verdant forests and luminous seascapes with their ever changing tonalities, as well as the majestic cities of Rome, Florence and Venice from which he drew inspiration.
In 1916, Barbier met Monet, an encounter that would change his life and forge a strong friendship that was to last until Monet’s death in 1926. The two artists shared numerous meals, sources of inspiration and philosophy, and exchanged paintings as well as works on paper. Barbier’s compositions from this period expressed his desire to transmit a fleeting and ephemeral moment in time, to portray an emotion through a combination of lines and color.
His success eventually drew the attention of a select group of international collectors, including members of the Monaco and Belgium royal families who acquired many of his paintings. The famous XIX th century art critic Gustave Geoffrey wrote of Barbier: ‘Gifted as you are, with that rare perception you have of foreground and background, of that haze of air so light that you know how to capture in your paintings, it is not possible that you do not come to light as one of the great artists of your generation.’
French Artist (1883-1970)
'Partita for a Forest'
Oil on Canvas
19.5 x 24 in.
Oil on Canvas
9.5 x 13 in.
Musee d'Art Moderne,
Musee d'Orsay, Paris.
Ghislaine Bretonniere-Bernaudin, Andre Barbier, Editions SFRT, 1990.