An important and yet subtle member today of what informally may be considered the second row of French Impressionists, the marks that Antoine Guillemet set with his artistic output are prodigious and will continue to make inroads into collections over the years to come. He was a huge success in his lifetime within the salons of Paris. Those accomplishments contribute to why today with the world’s “discovery” of the Impressionists, other Barbizon and Plein-Air painters have yet to receive the full acclaim they rightly deserve.
Early on, after being commissioned to copy museum works, Guillemet met Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. The two would be close for the rest of their careers, with Guillemet calling Corot “Papa”. Through his acquaintance, he would come to associate with the veritable who’s who of French Art through the second half of the 19TH Century. Paul Cézanne listed himself in his first and only Salon exhibit as a “student of Guillemet”; through Claude Monet, Guillemet would come to study alongside Frederic Bazille at the important Madame Toutain’s Farmhouse across the Seine from Le Havre, where Eugene Boudin made his late residence and it is said the Impressionists Methodology of Plein-Air painting was born.
Paris was always Guillemet’s muse. Where many continued to travel the country, he chose to repeatedly portray the evolutionary face of his city, and successfully sell within the Salon structure, which is probably why he passed on his invitation to join in the Impressionists Exhibitions away from the established Parisian art scene.