|Thomas Couture "American Student Painting"|
Thomas Couture (1815-79) was a french painter who might be described as having joined the ranks of One Hit Wonders but he didn't let it keep him down. His main claim to fame came from a huge painting depicting an orgy, Romans in the Decadence of the Empire, which was the sensation of the Paris salon of 1847. Nothing Couture painted before or after ever attained the success of that piece. In time however, public taste reversed and that same work, once the focus of the highest admiration, came to be derided as a prime example of the worst type of"salon bombast." However, Couture's informal works, such as this quick sketch, were nothing like his studied salon work, and he was a popular teacher, who encouraged his students to work quickly from nature. In his private atelier, he taught many future luminaries of the art world including Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, as well as this unidentified American woman.