21 x 14 1/2 inches (53.5 x 36.5 cm)
Framed: 29 1/2 x 23 inches
Signed: D Enjolras
Private Collection, France
Delphin Enjolras was born on May 13, 1857 in the historic town of Coucouron in the Ardèche. Enjolras’ formal artistic training began in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under the esteemed Salon painter Jean-Léon Gérôme. Enjolras also studied with Pascal Adolphe, Jean Dagnan-Bouveret, and Gustave Claude Etienne Courtois. He furthered his artistic education at the Ecole de Dessin in Paris under Gaston Gérard. Having made his debut at the Société des Artistes Français in 1889, he was elected a member in 1901, and continued to show works with the Société until 1909.
Though Enjolras began his career as a landscape painter, he is best known for his dazzling studies of young women illuminated by lamplight, or engaged in domestic activities. He also portrayed a number of Orientalist subjects, genre scenes and society portraits, though these are not as highly regarded or well known.
Our piece, Evening Reading, is an excellent example of Enjolras’ typical work. A woman sits reading in a moment of quiet solitude, a scene that is suffused with the warm, amber glow of her reading lamp. The delicate pink of the woman’s satiny garment slips down, revealing her bared shoulder, further making it apparent that the viewer has stumbled into a very private and intimate setting. The soft lamplight and rich textures, as well as the intimacy of the scene add a sensual ambience, a hallmark of many of Enjolras’ works.