Pierre-Victor GALLAND (1822-1892)
‘Les Quatre Eléments’
Four, oil on canvas.
France, Circa 1873.
Each painting depicting one of the cardinal elements personified as a female figure in the presence of its most evident attribute. Painted with strong light and colour.
Earth panel depicts one of the four elements in a compelling fashion with an ascendent female figure robed in flowing drapery with foot and arm extended reaching skyward: each with attendant putti below.
Earth is shown swathed in robes of greens and white, with a fanciful foliate headdress of lush leaves and bullrushes.
Air leaps effortlessly into the sky draped in blush pink and holding a slender fruiting bough.
Fire ascends dramatically into the sky holding forth a flaming torch and draped in bright burnished orange and grey, her image seemingly lit from a fire kindled below by an ignipotent putto.
Water suitably draped in billowing azure blue with a translucent undergarment, holds aloft a bubble representing water is portrayed with shimmering translucent wings, an attendant winged putto pulling at her hem.
Under the Second Empire, Haussmann’s transformation of Paris went hand in hand with the construction of luxurious mansions for the new haute bourgeois. Gallards extensive work for wealthy patrons such as Lionel de Rothschild and Edouard André, led him to become one of Paris’s most admired and sought-after decorative artists. His fame quickly spread and led him to carry out projects outside the capital for, among others, Baron von Derwies in Nice, Prince Narischkine in Saint Petersburg and William Vanderbilt in the United States.
Pierre-Victor Galland, Un Tiepolo français au XIXe siècle. Published in 2006, Somogy, Piscine-musée d’art et d’industrie André Diligent, Musée départemental de l’Oise (Paris, Roubaix, Beauvais). ISBN 978-2-7572-0027-8. (in French)
Oil on Canvas
Acquired in France with four other panels (The Four Seasons), at the end of the 19th century by Herman Ossian Armour (1837-1901), businessman, and founder of the Armour Meat Company and American humanist. He brought them back to his USA residence at Fifth Avenue, New York
Bequeathed to Mary Armour Nichols (1866-1939) and by descent.