Frère, Pierre Edouard (1819-86; French)
Oil on canvas, c.28 x 25.5 cm (11” x 10”)
Purchased, 1872 (advice of John Ruskin)
Present location unknown
[photo: work as reproduced in NGV 1905]
A typical 19th-century genre painter in the Dutch tradition, Frère was praised extravagantly by Ruskin (NGV advisor 1871-2), who compared him with various Old Masters, including (improbably enough) Fra Angelico.
This small work no longer appears to be in the collection, although it was still listed as in the NGV in 1943 (cat.229).
AR 1872, p.21; NGV 1875, p.23; NGV 1894, p.23 (I.La Trobe Gallery, no.27); NGV 1905, p.19 (I.La Trobe Gallery, no.33; ill.) [£35]
For the artist, see Bénézit 5, pp.1071-72 (listing the present work); AKL 44 (2005), p.446 (noting Ruskin’s support for the artist); and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Édouard_Frère. Comparable works have sold for modest sums (approx. £750-4,000) in London in recent years: see e.g. http://artist.christies.com/Pierre-Edouard-Frere–22771.aspx. A larger, different canvas also titled Cottage Interior is in the Wolverhampton Art Gallery in England, designated “circle of” Frère, mid 19th century: see http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/cottage-interior-18849