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Imitator of Adolphe Monticelli, Conversation Piece

Key facts
Full title Conversation Piece
Artist Imitator of Adolphe Monticelli
Artist dates 1824 - 1886
Date made probably 1870-90
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 33 × 25.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented as part of the 'Harry Wearne Collection of Twelve Paintings by Monticelli' to the Tate Gallery, 1939; transferred, 1956
Inventory number NG5017
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Conversation Piece
Imitator of Adolphe Monticelli

The specific subject of this picture has not been identified. Four figures that seem to be dressed in costumes of the era of Henry IV, around 1600, are shown busy in conversation.

Although the picture is signed at the bottom left corner and it is the type of painting favoured by Monticelli, its authenticity has been doubted on stylistic grounds. Not only are the forms more defined, but the colour palette is untypical of him.

Technical analysis by National Gallery conservators appears to confirm this observation. In fact, both the panel support of the painting and its technique, with the surface completely covered with paint, are not characteristic of Monticelli. Unsurprisingly, considering he was highly regarded by his contemporaries, his work was widely imitated. This picture was possibly painted by an artist following his style in the 1870s.

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