French, 1843–1918

Jean Baptiste Antoine Guillemet

Jean Baptiste Antoine Guillemet explored careers in sailing and law before turning to art. It was in 1859, when he received a commission from a local collector to copy Gericault's famous The Raft of the Medusa that Guillemet began to pursue art as a career.

At the age of twenty-one Guillemet was introduced to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796–1875) by Berthe Morisot. Like many of the young artists, Guillemet affectionately called Corot “Papa” and remained close to the artist throughout his life. Guillemet also studied with Corot's pupil Achille Oudinot (1820–1891), and it was through Oudinot, who had property at Auvers-sur-Oise, that Guillemet met Daubigny, Ernest Meissonier, Honoré Daumier, and Antoine-Louis Barye, among others. By 1864 Guillemet had also encountered Edouard Manet, Alfred Stevens, Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, and Paul Cézanne and later, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edgar Degas and Jean-Frédéric Bazille. When Cézanne finally exhibited at the Salon in 1882, his entry described him as ‘pupil of Guillemet’.

Guillemet enjoyed much success during his lifetime through the Paris Salon. He made his Salon debut in 1865, received a jury commendation at the Salon of 1872, and second-class medals in 1874 and 1876. His submission for the Salon of 1874 was an ambitious nine-foot painting titled Bercy en décembre, which was praised by both critics and the public and was purchased by the state for the Musée du Luxembourg, then the national museum for contemporary art. He also showed seven paintings at the Exposition Universelle in 1889, winning a silver medal.

This early success may explain why the artist continued to show at the Salon instead of joining his friends in exhibiting at the Impressionists shows. Guillemet painted seascapes and landscapes, especially coastal scenes in Normandy, but returned throughout his career to painting views of Paris, with several more works acquired by the state. He was made a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1880, an Officer in 1896, and a Commander in 1910.

Museum Collections:
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux
usée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Musée de Petit Palais, Paris

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