Théodule Ribot, Young Man Reading
Théodule Ribot (1823-1891)

Young Man Reading, before 1869

Pen and ink, watercolour on paper, H. 130 mm; W. 100 mm

Inscription by the Marquis de Chennevières on the verso: “Ribot – ce dessin a été donné par Ribot à Basset qui me l’a donné le 13 juin 1869”

Provenance: Collection of Marquis Philippe de Chennevières (1820-1899), his mark lower right (Lugt n°2073)
His sale, Paris, 4 to7 April 1900, Dessins anciens et modernes, miniatures. Environ trois mille dessins décrits sous 740 nos, tous de l'école française, n° 704: “Jeune garçon assis en lisant. Aquarelle”, sold for 20 francs to Michel.


Philippe de Chennevières, “Une collection de dessins d’artistes français”, L’Artiste, published in 22 chapters between 1894 and December 1897, chapter IX, August 1895, p. 101 (cited).

Louis-Antoine Prat, Laurence Lhinarès, La collection Chennevières. Quatre siècles de dessins français, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2007, p. 330, no. 422 (as current location unknown).

A painter and etcher, Théodule Ribot struggled to become known and have his style recognized as it was very different to that of his contemporaries. The diversity of his creations dazzled his contemporaries for its independence and originality. He practiced all types of painting: religious compositions, subjects inspired by literature, portraits, genre scenes, still life and even landscape, especially seascapes. The influence of Spanish painting (Ribera, Velázquez) can be felt in his realistic, restrained and vigorous style. His work as a draughtsman is remarkable for its exceptional invention.

In 1844, Ribot married Marie Clémentine Germain. They had a son the following year (Clément Théodule) and a daughter in 1857 (Louise). Both children chose to become painters after being taught by their father. The boy, who took the first names Germain Théodule, exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1870, showing still lifes.

In 1849 Théodule Ribot became a pupil of the painter Auguste Barthélémy Glaize. Around the same time, he became friendly with Eugène Boudin, whom he had met at Le Havre. From then on he visited Normandy regularly. From 1850, Ribot had a card that authorized him to make copies at the Louvre. (1) He was refused by the Salon jury in 1852, 1853 and 1859 (and had to wait for two years to apply again). In 1861, for the first time, the works he sent to the Salon was accepted by the jury. The same year, he joined the Société des Aquafortistes. He also showed at provincial salons, especially at Rouen, Bordeaux and Lyon. Our drawing belonged to Charles-Philippe marquis de Chennevières (1820-1899), an art historian and the Directeur des Beaux-Arts. His particular interest in drawing made him a highly important collector, as he made his choices both as an amateur of excellent taste and as a scholarly historian.

  1. Dominique Lobstein, Théodule Ribot (1823-1891), 2018, p. 10.[]