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EMILE ZOLA (1840-1902) ARTISTIC TALK
Autograph manuscript signed "Emile Zola". 6 pp. small in-4, with annotations on the back of 3 sheets. In French. Numerous erasures and corrections, additions in the text. Draft of an article about a charity sale of paintings organised for compatriots from Alsace who had been sent by the government to Algeria and who found themselves in poverty. “(...) I am leaving the private exhibition of the works to be sold, wishing for my part to contribute to a good work, by talking about some talented paintings that I have noticed. The artists have given with open hands. The catalogue contains two hundred and eighty numbers. There are paintings, watercolours, drawings, etchings, engravings, plasters, bronzes and earthenware. Never has contemporary art been better represented (... ...). It is the offering of art (...).” Zola refrains from criticizing the works, because they are given out of charity, and then draws up a list of the painters he has chosen, including Bonnat, Auguste Bonheur, Daubigny, Fromentin, Isabey, Berthe Morisot, Manet, etc. “(...) I have chosen the works that I would like to present to you. (...) I have also kept three young painters, Messrs Monet, Pissarro and Sisley, who have each given a landscape. It is not here that it is good to study them. I am simply curious to see the public's attitude towards these three paintings, which would certainly make the annual juries shout, and which are superb things of simplicity and power (...)”. Etc. Émile Zola, a French writer, journalist and art critic, leader of the naturalist movement, is one of the most popular French novelists, most published, translated and commented on throughout the world. Along with Charles Baudelaire and the Goncourts, Zola was also one of the three most important art critics of the second half of the 19th century and a great defender of the new pictorial trends opposed to academicism. A novice author (he had only published two works, Contes à Ninon (1864) and La Confession de Claude (1865)), Zola contributed regularly from 1866 onwards to the literary and art criticism columns of various newspapers. The effectiveness and relevance of his criticism in the newspaper L'Événement were quickly recognised. He published the first article of his first "Salon" in L'Evénement on 27 April 1866. He severely attacked the jury of the 1866 Salon. He successively published two collections of articles: Mes Haines, a work that brings together his essays on literary criticism (in June 1866, published by Achille Faure, with the subtitle: Causeries littéraires et artistiques) and Mon salon, which brings together his pictorial chronicles.