Benjamin-Eugène Fichel (French, 1826–1895),
oil on panel, 9 3/8 x 7 9/16 in.; 23.81 x 19.21 cm
Gift of Francis T. B. Martin, 1995.34
Fichel won worldwide esteem as a painter of intimate genre scenes, which he regularly showed in the Salon exhibitions. He was often compared with Ernest Meissonier, who set the standard for small, highly finished and minutely detailed anecdotal pictures. His elegant scenes set in eighteenth-century interiors responded to a vogue for Rococo refinement and enjoyed great popularity. Painters in their studios were a frequent subject for Fichel, but he also loved to represent cardplayers, diners, and elegant toilettes, applying his considerable skill to the depiction of beautiful fabrics and the period items that create his authentic-looking settings.