Raymond Thibésart, Le déjeuner sous un cerisier en fleurs,
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Painted in 1919, this bucolic scene has an added poignancy when one reflects on its proximity to the end of the Great War with all its tragedy and overwhelming horror.
Raymond Thibésart was born into an affluent family in the town of Troyes, the historical capital of the Champagne region. Shortly afterwards, the family moved to Enghiens-les-Bains, an attractive spa town to the North of Paris. It was here that they met the Boggios, a charismatic family who had just emigrated from Venezuala; Emilio Boggio, a talented Impressionist painter, became Thibésart's long-standing mentor and friend, encouraging his early promise and providing him with his first art lessons.
Thibésart began his formal training at the École des Beaux Arts and subsequently at the Académie Julian where he was taught by Jules Lefebvre and Tony Robert Fleury. After art school, he maintained his friendship with Emilio Boggio and they both moved to Vaux sur Seine, north west of Paris. They frequently travelled throughout Europe, including trips to Italy, Corsica and Switzerland. They were often joined by Henri Martin (1860-1943) who, like Thibesart, remained faithful to an impressionist style for most of his life.
Thibésart lived a long life and painted prolifically, a favourite subject being blossoming trees on the banks of the Seine. It was only the loss of his sight at the age of 92 that put a halt to his artistic output, just two years before his death in 1968.
He exhibited throughout his life, notably at the Salon des Artistes Français from 1897 (awarded a silver medal in 1922), the Salon des Indépendants from 1905 and at the Salon d’Automne. His work can be found in public and private collections, including at the Musée de Troyes in his birthtown.