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Jean Georges Vibert (French, 1840–1902),
Sharpening the Bullfighter’s Knife (Chez le Rémouleur)
, 1874
oil on panel, 13 x 9 ½ in.; 33.02 x 24.13 cm
Gift of Francis T. B. Martin, 1995.45

Vibert was one of France’s most acclaimed Academic genre painters, renowned for his irony and wit. His early pictures of bullfighters and their colorful world supported the vogue for Spanish culture, then current in French life and art. Commenting on his work in later years, Vibert suggested that Sharpening the Bullfighter’s Knife reflected his personal experience while visiting Spain. The many accurate details of costume and setting lend credence to this claim and realism to the scene. A great colorist and technical master, Vibert appealed to an international clientele, including such prominent American collectors as John Jacob Astor and William H. Vanderbilt.

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