Ferdinand Heilbuth (French, 1826-1889)

An elegant gardener

Signed and dated ‘F. Heilbuth, 1858’ (lower right)

Oil on canvas

29 x 23.1/2 in. (73.7 x 60 cm.)

37.1/2 x 32.1/2 in. (95.3 x 82.1/2 in.) (framed)

Condition: Oil on canvas, not relined.  Paint surface in good order.  Surface dirt and varnish dicolouration.  Two pin holes to upper middle.  Cracquelure.  In a carved and gilded frame with losses to gesso, some damage to corners and some signs of earlier woodworm.  In the process of restoration but in very good condition as it sits.

This genre painter‘s talents lie in his ability to  characterise nobility, vivacity of colour and fine detail. As a young man, Ferdinand Heilbuth abandoned rabbinic studies to travel with Charles Gleyre to Düsseldorf, Rome and Paris where he settled. He exhibited many times at the Royal Academy in London and at the Grosvenor Gallery, as well as at the Boston Athenaeum in 1863.

He was named Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1861 and an officer of the same order in 1881. He obtained French nationality in 1891. Vincent van Gogh, in correspondence addressed to Anthon van Rappard, expressed his admiration for the artist.

We believe that this is one of his very finest examples. The lady is beautifully captured in the finery of the day. The attention to detail on the dress and foliage is exquisite. It is no wonder he gained so much praise from the very highest level of the artistic pantheon. It is housed in the original carved and gilded frame, which due to its own grandeur highlights the importance of the work it houses.