Life and work
Cals initially trained as an engraver under Jean-Louis Anselin, then went on to study art at the atelier of Léon Cogniet. However he parted company with his (neoclassical-influenced) teacher, owing to the latter's lack of appreciation for the emerging impressionist movement in art.
In 1863, Cals exhibited at the "Salon des Refusés", alongside works by Monet, Degas and Pissarro. Art dealer Pierre–Firmin Martin, known as "Father Martin", liked his work, and Cals went on to paint portraits of Martin and his wife (now in the "Musée Eugène Boudin" in Honfleur). So began the next phase of his career; influenced by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Johan Barthold Jongkind, he worked in more subdued, less fawn-coloured tones, more closely matching the Impressionists without adopting the "purple-violet which some painters are flooding their paintings with"—as Victor Jannesson remarked in his book on Cals (see bibliography)
Having divided his time between Paris and Honfleur since 1871, he finally decided to settle down, in 1873, in Honfleur, a port in Normandy which was home to many painters, and has been called "the cradle of impressionism". A friend of Jongkind, he regularly visited the "Saint-Simeon Farm", an inn in Honfleur, famous as a meeting place for artists and writers, such as Claude Monet, Eugène Boudin and Baudelaire, as well as Jongkind himself.
Having settled, with his daughter, in Honfleur during the last decade of his life, Cals painted the harbor, the sea and its associated human life. At the invitation of Monet, he participated in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and 1876, until 1881.
Cals died in Honfleur on 3 October 1880, aged 69.
- This article incorporates text from French Wikipedia, Adolphe-Félix Cals.
- This article incorporates text from the article "COLS, Adolphe Félix" in Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers by Michael Bryan, edited by Robert Edmund Graves and Sir Walter Armstrong, an 1886–1889 publication now in the public domain.
- Alexandre, Arsène. A.F. Cals: ou, Le bonheur de peindre (Paris: G. Petit, 1900).
- Jannesson, Victor. Le Peintre A.-F. Cals (1810-1880) et son élève J.-A.-E. Bataille (1828-1911) (M. Bourges, 1913).
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