Pierre Outin was born at Moulins in the Auvergne an historic
region and former province of central France in 1840.
He became a pupil in Paris of the classical history painter Charles
Joseph Lecointe and of the great Alexander Chabanel and was
greatly influenced by their style and technique and the ethics of the
Prix de Rome, which was the fashionable style of the day.
The tradition of the Prix de Rome Contests was introduced by the
Académie in 1663 as a way of selecting which students would enjoy
stays at the Académie de France in Rome. There were competitions
in painting, sculpture, architecture, etching and musical
composition, of which painting was the most celebrated. The
Grand Prix de Rome in History Painting was the highest honour
that an artist could achieve at that time in France and across the
world. Of the many contest categories, the Prix de Rome Contests
were the most elaborate and prestigious, capturing the attention of
the international press and catapulting its winners towards fame
and often successful art careers.
In ‘Calypso’s Bower’, Outin demonstrates his proficiency of technique
and style in rendering the human figure on canvas whilst employing a
subtle palette and a creative and successful narrative ability. In this
work he deftly portrays the flower vendor in particular in perfectly
three dimensional pose gesturing with exemplary fore-shortening.
The title lends itself to the interpretation that the fl ower vendor is
tempting one of the well dressed gentlemen enjoying high-spirited
refreshments ‘al fresco’ and aims to ensnare him as Calypso did
Odysseus with the promise of immortality in Greek mythology.
Outin’s work makes only rare appearances on the art market.
However, his works may be seen at the Moulins Museum, which
holds a work entitled “An episode in the route of Quiberon”.
He died in Paris in 1899.