Cottet, Charles (1863-1925) by Scholes, Robert

Charles Cottet (1863 – 1925)

Cottet was born in Savoy and came to Paris to study art. He accepted advice from but refused formal atelier training, preferring to work from nature. He frequently visited Brittany where he painted some of his most important works. He was the founder of the Bande Noire group, noted for the generally dark tonality of their work. He influenced other neo-impressionist artists and was an accomplished etcher.

Puvis de Chavannes From Humrich fine Art (with permission from Elliott Humrich):

He was born in LePuy, Haute Loire, in 1863. In addition to his sea and harborscapes, Cottet also treated the ethnography of Brittany, particularly the life of the Breton fishermen, which for the Parisian public of the day was still fairly exotic and backward. He trained under Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and under Alfred Philippe Roll at the Académie Julian.(1) From 1884 to 1888, Cottet painted in Holland. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon in 1889. He visited Algeria in 1892 and Egypt in 1896. He died in Paris in 1925 (2) Although widely considered a member of the School of Pont-Aven, Félix Valloton felt Cottet had much in common with the Nabis. In Valloton’s large canvas, Five Painters (1902-3; The Winterthur Kunstmuseum), the artist portrays Bonnard, Vuillard and Roussel, while according the place of honor in the center of the picture to Cottet. By including Cottet in the company of the leading artists of the Nabi group and designating this picture as “decorative”, Valloton demonstrates his feeling of kinship with Cottet.(3) Cottet’s masterly use of a dark, emotive palette during the 1890’s established him as the leader of a group of artists, including Lucien Simon and Dauchez, known as La Bande Noire. Benois called Cottet and Simon two of the most prominent Parisian artists of the end of the 19th century.


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