Alfred Agache 

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Biography of Alfred Agache  ( 1843-1915 )

Born in a rich family from Lille in North of France, Alfred Agache seemed to be destined for taking over the familial textile business, but he quickly lost interest in industry and followed his artistic feeling by studying music.

Keen to discover the world, he started to travel in 1872 for more than one year and visit Europe, Egypt, India and even Japan. During this long trip, and particularly when he saw the Italian Masters, he decided to become a painter. Thereafter, he frequently took inspiration in the richness of these cultures full of art and history that he studied during his initiatory trip.

Since his return in 1874, Alfred Agache joined the Academic School of Lille, where he followed painting class under Henri-Eugène Pluchart and Alphonse Colas. As a talented student, he exhibited the following year at the Salon of French Artists, showing a lanscape of his native region, genre that he quickly abandonned. The young painter prefered portait, and especially feminine figures.

Later he exhibited young ladies portraits at the Salon of French Artists, in dark and mysterious atmosphere that he enriched with symbols from allegorical category. These paintings were a resounding success near the public and also near his masters. Alfred Agache received honours and rewards. He was decorated by a silver medal in 1889 and then by a gold one during the 1893’s World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago where he has sent two paintings Vanity and The Annunciation.

The Annunciation had been decorated once more by a gold medal during the 1900’s Universal Exhibition.

Agache was a faithful exhibitor at the Salon of the National Society of Fine Arts of wich he was one of the founders. In 1892 he entered the Museum of Lille’s Committee for painting and became the curator of Lille’s Museums in 1894 before he resigned at the end of 1895 for lack of means. He gained the Legion of Honour in 1895.

The talent and the originality that come from his works show us a quite unusual artist. His painting emits softness and strength combined that makes him close to the symbolist movement. By mythological and religious themes, he explored the great themes of Symbolism, because he prefered his painting to be addressed directly to imagination and mind.

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