Pierre Édouard Frère, The Little Cook, ca. 1858, oil on panel, 30.8 × 23.5 cm. Brooklyn Museum
Pierre Édouard Frère (Paris 10 January 1819 – 23 May 1886 Écouen), French painter, studied under Paul Delaroche, entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1836 and exhibited first at the Salon in 1843. The marked sentimental tendency of his art makes us wonder at John Ruskin's enthusiastic eulogy which finds in Frère's work the depth of William Wordsworth, the grace of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the holiness of Fra Angelico. What we can admire in his work is his accomplished craftsmanship and the intimacy and tender homeliness of his conception. Among his chief works are the two paintings, Going to School and Coming from School, The Little Glutton (his first exhibited picture) and L'Exercice (in the 19th century this work was in John Jacob Astor's collection). A journey to Egypt in 1860 resulted in a small series of Orientalist subjects, but the majority of Frère's paintings deal with the life of the kitchen, the workshop, the dwellings of the humble, and mainly with the pleasures and little troubles of the young, which the artist brings before us with humor and sympathy. He was one of the most popular painters of domestic genre in the middle of the 19th century.