Jehan-Georges Vibert (French, 1840-1902)
oil on wood panel, Framed: 97.20 x 82.50 x 12.50 cm (38 1/4 x 32 7/16 x 4 7/8 inches); Unframed: 60.80 x 45.40 cm (23 7/8 x 17 13/16 inches). Bequest of Noah L. Butkin 1980.292
The artist himself described his painting of a night class: "Under smoldering electric lights, a model in historical costume poses for eager, ambitious art students. A few of them might have real talent, some could become commercial artists, but most, unfortunately, have no future in art at all."
Although trained in a conservative academic style, Vibert here pokes fun at his own artistic tradition. Vibert was fond of caricaturing the pretentious elements of 19th-century French society. The work was shown at the 1881 Salon exhibition.