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Title Peasant Woman and Child
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Cals, Adolphe Félix (French painter, 1810-1880)
Date 1846 (dated)
Signed yes
Description This is a Realist picture of a woman and child resting by the side of a country road. They look tired and the child has removed his clogs to massage his sore feet. A basket containing a bottle and probably some food stands by their side. This painting shows Cals' concern for the poor (he was himself from a working-class family), and how the Realist painters studied various aspects of childhood as part of their interest in family life. Cals exhibited at the Salon several times but in his later years some of his works were rejected because of their realist themes. He then participated in the Salon des Refusés and in several Impressionist exhibitions.
Current Accession Number B.M.647
Inscription front ll 'Cals 1846'
Subject everyday life; figure; landscape
Measurements 46.5 x 37 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Principal Exhibitions The Realist Tradition, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The St Louis Art Museum, The Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, 1980-1982, cat. no. 20.
Publications Conran, E., et al, The Bowes Museum, London, 1992, p. 80, fig. 2.
Notes For a complete biography of Cals, see Alexandre, A., Cals ou le bonheur de peindre, Paris, 1900. The artist was born in a working-class family and trained with several engravers before becoming a pupil of Cogniet. As a man of the people, he always remained strongly affected by the fate of the poorest. Benezit notes that Cals wrote the following to a friend: 'Il est donc vrai qu'il y a des êtres voués au malheur, destinés à être des objets de répulsion et d'horreur. Eh bien! je me suis toujours senti appelé vers ces pauvres misérables.' (Benezit, vol. 2, p. 467). His compassion and emotions before the terrible fate of some people are tangible in his works.
Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Maylis Hopewell-Curie



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