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Fernand Toussaint 

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Fernand Toussaint 

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Biography of Fernand Toussaint  ( 1873-1956 )

Fernand Toussaint was born in a comfortable aristocrat family where his talent for drawing was rapidly noticed and encouraged. When he was fifteen, he became student at the Brussels Academy of Fine Art, and from 1889 to 1894 he was the pupil of Jean Portaels, the innovative and very asked master. Then in 1891, he left for Paris and during three years, he shared his time between Paris and Brussels to improve his technique. In Paris, he received the precious help of his compatriot Alfred Stevens. He was a painter of genre, as well as still life or landscape painter, but was over all a marvellous women’s portraitist. Mario de Monchi used to say that « he was the uncontested master of feminine grace and charm ».
In 1929, he exhibited at the Salon of French Artists in Paris, where he gained a gold medal for a woman’s portrait, reproduced in «L’Illustration » the famous magazine of that time. He was also a member of « Le Sillon », and exhibited at the Libre Esthétique.

Fernand Toussaint has perfectly known how to merge the wave of French modernism and post-impressionnism with the academic portrait, as the great masters of portrait Gainsborough, Reynolds or Lawrence used to practise. The latters intensely influenced him during his stays in London.

In this way, the Fernand Toussaint’s artworks appeared to become the story of a time when the women’s beauty and reserve were honored, even in his delicate nudes realised with an endless respect. The omnipresence of the woman was in all his genre scenes, and in his enjoyable women’s portrait whose attitudes and expressions were painted with attention to detail. It emerged from his portraits a gentleness and a serenity that gave a new meaning to the word feminity.

Toussaint was a brilliant colorist and a skillful performer, but the thing that first charmed was his delicious manner of paint. It let oneself be charmed by the tone harmony, the opulence of colors, pure plastic quality that made Fernand Toussaint one of the master of feminine painting.

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