Victor Gilbert (1847-1935) Le déjeuner du chat, oil on canvas, 35 x 27 cm. signed & dated 1879
This previously unknown early Victor Gilbert genre painting of 1879 has just returned to us from the conservation studio and is flawless in every way. Gilbert became well-known for his scenes of flower sellers, game dealers and other market traders at work in Les Halles in Paris, but at the outset of his career he was primarily interested in still-life and genre painting.
Like his contemporaries Vollon, Ribot and Rousseau, he revered the
work of Chardin and, like him, was drawn to the quiet, humble scenes of
domesticity of everyday life. In this intimate picture the cat patiently waits
while his mistress pours out his milk – in itself a detail which brings to mind
the serving girls of Vermeer – and the woman’s plain clothes and her sparse
room are depicted by Gilbert with a subtle and sensitive palette.