ALBERT (OR ALBRECHT) SCHENCK (1828-1901)
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DATA RELATED TO VILLE D'ÉCOUEN,
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This is Datapage 04 re 'Auguste (or August) Friedrich (or Frederic) Albrecht (or Albert) Schenck'.
On this page ... The Artists of Écouen, Boy Travellers in Central Europe, Luigi Chialiva, Rue Auguste-Schenck, Édouard Frère.
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In late 2012, a book about the many artists of Écouen in the 19th century was published by the City of Ecouen (Office de Tourisme d’Écouen). Entitled 'L'école d’Ecouen, une colonie de peintres au XIXe siècle', & written by Daniel Baduel, Aude Bertrand et Christian Dauchel, the book is available from the Tourist Information Center of Écouen who can be contacted here. An image of the front & back covers is next. The book, I understand, is in French & features many artists including Auguste Schenck.
Of 151 pages, 15 Euros, ISBN 9782746646452.
In the earlier 'Schenck' pages, It is indicated that the artist spent his retirement years in Ecouen, then a quiet village north of Paris, but now, I suspect, part of Greater Paris. I was interested to acquire, some years ago now, a book entitled 'The Boy Travellers in Central Europe'. It is in fine condition & seems to date from 1889, but it has an inscription inside the front cover dated Christmas 1934. It is a beautiful book, with a host of engravings (a couple of which are below), & some extensive words about Écouen, words that I found to be of considerable interest. While our artist is mentioned, a far greater reference is to another artist who also painted animals - a Mr. Chialiva, evidently of Italian descent. You may find the words to be of interest also, as the village setting in which Albert Schenck spent much of his life.
talking of Mr. Harry Davis, who acted as a guide -
"I'm not living in Paris" said he, "but at Ecouen, which is half an hour's ride from Paris on the Northern Railway of France." Why do you live there instead of in the capital?" Frank asked. "The fact is," replied Davis, "living is cheaper there than in the city. I am living at the hotel, where I pay only twenty francs a month for my room, and a very fair one it is, too; and a good dinner costs only two francs. You can hire a good house in Ecouen for a hundred dollars a year - a house large enough for four to live comfortably - and a servant to care for it and cook your meals will cost a great deal less than a similar servant would cost in the city. Four or five clubbing together can live for what they would starve on in New York or any other American city: but of course they can't have more than the necessities of life, with none of the luxuries."
But we had a delightful drive from the station to the village, and were not at all sorry for the distance; in fact we would not have objected had it been three or four miles instead of one. On both sides of the road there are luxuriant fields and picturesque houses, some of them very old, for Ecouen is not by any means a modern settlement. There is an old château here, and it occupies the site of one that was built in the fifth century.
The reputation of the place was made by Édouard Frère, whose name is familiar to the art-loving world. He is an old man now, and has spent nearly all his life in this little town, He was born in 1819, and soon after beginning to paint he came to Ecouen and established himself. He was very poor then, and had his reputation to make; and the story is that he suffered the pinchings of poverty for a good while before the merit of his work was discovered and his pictures found a sale.
"Several of the artists of Ecouen are well known amongst picture buyers, and their works bring prices that enable the painters to live in good style. Mr. Davis took us to several studios. including that of Mr. Todd, an American; Mr. Schenck, famous as a painter of animals; and Mr. Chialiva, an Italian who has lived in America and has an American wife. Mr Chialiva's studio is such a curious one that I must stop right here to describe it as well as I can:
"All of this gentleman's pictures contain horses, sheep, geese, cattle, pigeons, or other domestic animals, and he has his studio arranged so that he can have his models before him. It is like a great conservatory, but it hasn't any flowers and the other things peculiar to a conservatory. At one end there is a space separated by glass from the rest, and in the part beyond the glass he has his animals that he is painting into his pictures. Sheep, cattle, horses feel perfectly at home there, as they are always kindly treated. The wife of his peasant farmer acts as his assistant when he wants any of the animals or birds kept in position for him, and they are so accustomed to her that they do almost anything she wishes. She holds the geese, turkeys or pigeons for him, and they recognise that she will not hurt them; they run to her when she calls, and some of them almost act as though they knew they were being used as models for the artist and it is necessary for them to keep very quiet.
"Sometimes he wants to paint geese or ducks in a pond or lake. The place where his models are to stand or swim is then flooded with water, and in this way he gets the reflections on the water just as he wants them in his picture.
Is this the Mr. Chialiva referred to, I wonder? Luigi Chialiva, (1842-1914), but born, in fact, in Switzerland, it would seem. One can easily forgive the author of my book for thinking that someone named Luigi would likely be Italian! Especially when he was born in Canton Ticino in southern Switzerland, very close to the Italian border. Here is one of the Chialiva works entitled 'Guarding the Flock'. I read that he went to live in Paris in 1872 & lived there for just ten years. Which is a puzzle, since my copy of 'The Boy Travellers in Central Europe', from which I quote above, was published in 1889, when he would have long since left Écouen. I do not know where he next lived. He was born, it would seem, on Jul. 16, 1842 and died in Apr. 1914. He was buried in Cimetiere St. Vincent, Montmartre, Paris, France. So maybe he later returned to Paris. An image of the artist is available at that link but not one of his gravestone that I can see.
Should you have information about Luigi Chialiva, Wendy Lubetkin of Village Antiques, Lake Geneva, Switzerland, would like to hear from you. She is seeking data to add to her page about the artist. She can be reached through the link on the bottom of that page.
And another image of Chialiva's studio, most similar to the one above. This image was published in Harper's New Monthly, in Feb. 1885, in an article that some day I might like to include in its entirety in these pages. Since it sounds most interesting. That article was described in an Dec. 2005 e-Bay item as being 'An Art Student in Ecouen by Cornelia W. Conant. Illustrations. Drawn by the Author. Edouard Frere's Studio. Ploughing. The Chateau. Gleaning. Street in Ecouen. Studio of Luigi Chialiva. Mere Cocotte.' It would be good to locate an image of Schenck's studio, however, in addition to that of Luigi Chialiva. I now find that the entire article is available at the fine Cornell University site & runs from page 388 through 399. The Écouen street scene is that already on the page above & Cornelia Conant's drawing of Chialiva's studio is already on this page (next below).
And next is an old postcard of Rue Auguste-Schenck in the village of Écouen. How wonderful! I have no idea as to its date, alas. I spotted a copy of this postcard sold on e-Bay in Jun. 2006 for EUR 5.00 or approximately U.S. $6.31. I later saw a similar postcard that had been postally used on a date in Jun. 1926.
And another old postcard of Rue Auguste-Schenck in the village of Écouen is also available. Taken from a few feet up the road from the above image, it would appear. I show you the image, an image which I modified for better presentation here (I mainly reduced the colour temperature). The item was for sale on Delcampe but is now long gone. Again I have no idea as to its date.
The webmaster does not search every day for e-Bay items related to Écouen. But in Aug. 2009, as this site must move to a new location, he did spot another image of the postcard on e-Bay. Which listing dated the card to 1910/11.
And, since Édouard Frère (correctly Pierre-Édouard Frère (1819-1886), I believe) is referred to above, here is an image of Edouard Frère & of the street named after him in the village of Écouen. I have no knowledge as to the date of the postcard. The image of the artist must date from the 1860s or thereabouts. I say that because I think (but am not sure since there were no titles or descriptive text) that a painting of him rather later in life was on the City of Écouen website, but the current site seems not to contain it. The features of the face did seem to match.
This page will continue to expand as I find new data and images. But a reminder as always. This page & indeed the total site of which these pages are a minor part, are designed for a 1024 x 768 screen setting. More when I get more! Maybe YOU could provide new data or could provide a clue as to where new data might be found. I would truly welcome your input.
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