Lot 1
  • 1

Emile-Auguste Hublin

40,000 - 60,000 USD
212,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Emile-Auguste Hublin
  • Fillette à l’oiseau
  • signed E. Hublin and dated 1872 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 46 3/4 by 28 1/2 in.
  • 118.5 by 72 cm


Private Collection (acquired circa 1908-1910)
Thence by descent

Catalogue Note

For an artist as prolific and accomplished as Hublin, remarkably little is known about the man behind such masterworks as Fillete à l’oiseau. As with many of his paintings of the 1870s, like Le Chemin du Marché, Finistère (sold in these rooms on May 5, 2011, lot 30), the young model of Fillette à l’oiseau was likely from one of the rural villages of Brittany’s western region.  Brittany held particular appeal to French artists of the late nineteenth century (notably Hublin’s contemporaries Jules Breton and William Bouguereau) as its peoples' close connection to the land and ancient traditions seemed to stand against the ever-increasing industrialization of Europe.  While many of Hublin’s compositions depict religious customs or women at work, others feature young girls sensitively posed with animals, particularly birds.  In Fillette à l’oiseau, the young model holds her apron heavy with a bounty of freshly picked wildflowers, while she gently grasps a branch of red fruit which she has used to tame a wild bird.  The darkened background of the room, simply appointed with well-worn cupboard and decorated ceramic bowl, allows the figure to project forward, bathed in light, emphasizing the artist’s impressive modeling of both her body and finely detailed, if rustic, costume of soft velvet and rough-spun cloth. The artist’s well-developed technique evidenced in works like Fillette à l’oiseau is a testament to his training at the École des Beaux-Arts under François Edouard Picot, who also taught William Bouguereau.  Like Bouguereau, throughout Hublin's lifetime and into the early twentieth century, his work was collected well beyond his native France, and his paintings could be found within private galleries in Europe and in prominent American collections during the Gilded Age.