The Poor Bench in Saint-Germain-des-près

Léon-Augustin Lhermitte French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690

Lhermitte was a leading artist in the revival of the charcoal medium in the second half of the nineteenth century. The visible watermark on the lower left edge of this sheet is that of an art supplier, L. Berville, who especially promoted materials for charcoal drawing. In this early preparatory work related to a more finished drawing, the women seated along the church bench appear increasingly abstracted as they recede along the diagonal into dark shadow. Yet, even in the absence of detail, their hunched postures convey their downtrodden status.

The Poor Bench in Saint-Germain-des-près, Léon-Augustin Lhermitte (French, Mont Saint-Père 1844–1925 Paris), Charcoal

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