Jean-Louis HAMON (1821-1874) ✿

Jean-Louis Hamon (1821-1874) was a French Classical Allegorical genre painter. He was born at Plouha (Côtes-d’Armor département) in France.
At an early age he was intended for the priesthood, and placed under the care of the brothers Lamennais, but his strong desire to become a painter finally triumphed over family opposition, and in 1840 he courageously left Plouha for Paris his sole resources being a pension of five hundred francs, granted him for one year only by the municipality of his native town.
At Paris Hamon received valuable counsels and encouragement from Delaroche and Gleyre, and in 1848 he made his appearance at the Salon with Le Tombeau du Christ (Musée de Marseille), and a decorative work, Dessus de Porte.
The works which he exhibited in 1849 Une Affiche romaine, L’Egalité au sérail, and Perroquet jasant avec deux jeunes filles obtained no marked success.
Hamon was therefore content to accept a place in the manufactory of Sèvres, but an enameled casket by his hand having attracted notice at the London International Exhibition of 1851, he received a medal, and, reinspired by success, left his post to try his chances again at the Salon of 1852. “La Comédie humaine“, which he then exhibited, turned the tide of his fortune, and Ma sœur n’y est pas (purchased by the emperor) obtained for its author a third-class medal in 1853.
At the Paris International Exhibition of 1855, when Hamon re-exhibited the casket of 1851, together with several vases and pictures of which L’Amour et son troupeau, Ce n’est pas moi, and Une Gardeuse d’enfants were the chief, he received a medal of the second class, and the ribbon of the legion of honor.
In the following year he was absent in the East, and in 1857 he reappeared with Boutique à quatre sons, Papillon enchainé, Cantharicle esclave, Dévideuses, etc. Hamon now spent some time in Italy, chiefly at Capri, whence in 1864 he sent to Paris L’Aurore and Un Jour de fiançailles.
The influence of Italy was also evident in Les Iuses ft Pompi, his sole contribution to the Salon of 1866, a work which enjoyed great popularity and was re-exhibited at the International Exhibition of 1867, together with La Promenade and six other pictures of previous years. His last work, Le Triste Rivage, appeared at the Salon of 1873.
Hamon received a scholarship to study painting.  He was critiqued by Ingres and entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in March of 1842. Once there, he became the student of the master history painters Paul Delaroche and Charles Gleyre.
Hamon participated in the development of the Neo-Grec aesthetic in the early1850s, and as early as 1850 collaborated on a work depicting the four seasons along with Henry Picou, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Gustave Boulanger: Hamon painted an allegory of winter in the work (Cleveland Museum of Art, 1980.263).
From 1848 to 1853, he was employed as a draughtsman at the Sevres factory. Hamon made his Salon debut in 1847.He was awarded a third place medal in 1853, a second place in 1855, and a silver medal in the 1867 Exposition Universelle.
His composition Ma Soeur n’est pas là, was popularized through engraving; this image helped make his reputation and launched his promising career. In 1855 he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Hamon is considered one of the finest genre painters of his era.
His works are found in the Louvre and in the museums of Lille and Marseille, as well as others. It was painted at Saint-Raphaël, where Hamon had finally settled in a little house on the shores of the Mediterranean, close Alphonse Karr’s famous garden.

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