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Amédée Besnus

Painter & Engraver

One knows well the life and the career of Besnus who left an invaluable book of memories, published in 1898 and in which he evokes his artistic activities, his encounters and his friendships “Mes Relations d’Artistes”, Paris 1898).

Very early in his life, his artistic vocation awakes and his parents authorize him to take drawing lessons with Auguste Vassort, in Etampes, where the Besnus family settled. He will always keep for this first Master gratitude and affection. Later, his passage in the studio of Cogniet will not bring him any additional knowledge, and he will start without waiting anymore his career as a painter. He settles in 1851 in Isle Adam where he becomes acquainted with Julien Dupré, whose impression on the young beginner is such that, in 1853, Besnus presents himself as his pupil.

Between 1850 and 1853, he makes repeated stays in Marlotte, at the Ganne inn. He works on motifs by Chauvel and J. Laurens’ side and frequently sees the “Barbizonnais” (painters belonging to the Barbizon school).

He discovers the sea during a voyage in Honfleur in 1857 and meets Français who stays like him in La mere Toutain inn. But above all, he has the revelation, during a stay in England in 1859, of the artwork realized by John Crome, a watercolorist.

He begins exhibiting at the Salon in 1859 with two paintings: Bords du Loiret, effet d’automne and Vue prise à Gray, printemps, and will expose until 1890 landscapes of Normandy (he particularly likes the pastures and the horses), seascapes, often painted in Brittany, sights of the Roman countryside (he is in Italy around 1860-1862), the surroundings of Paris and London.

His first etching is published in 1865 by the Company of Aquafortistes, of which he becomes member the same year. His engravings are published by Cadart. Besnus is sensitive to the luminous nuances which sweep space. He has an alert style.

The sale of his studio took place in 1922.

His artworks are exposed in several museums in France (Grenoble, Pau, Rouen) and in England (London) and also with the Cabinet des Estampes, with the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris.

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