Vegetation Exotique (c.1880)
GABRIEL GUAY (1848-1923)
Oil on panel; signed lower left
In Terracotta box frame with 22 carat gold leaf
‘What gorgeous usurer nurtured these fronds for your pleasure?’ Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited (1948)
There is certainly something of Ryder’s South America in this painting or rather vice versa – in fact one could be forgiven for thinking that while at art school in Paris in 1924, Charles pinched the whole idea.
Born in Paris in 1848, Guay received his formal training in the studio of Jean Leon Gérôme (1824-1904). He began exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1873 and specialized in history, allegorical, portrait and genre scenes. True to his academic teachings, his works were finely detailed and his figures meticulously portrayed.
Guay was awarded the Third Class medal at the Salon of 1878, a Second Class medal at the Salon of 1889 and the Legion of Honor in 1892. Guay also participated in both the Universal Exposition of 1889 and 1900 – winning Silver medals in both.