A portrait of the painter Petru Verussi signed 'Grigorescu' (center right) oil on canvas laid down on panel 11 3/4 x 8 5/8in (29.8 x 22cm)
PROVENANCE: Dumitru Marinescu Bragadiru (1842-1915), Romanian industrialist; Dumitru D. Bragadiru, his son; By descent to the present owner.
LITERATURE: Alexandru Vlahuta, Pictorul Nicolae I. Grigorescu, Viata si opera lui, Bucharest, 1910, no. 187, illustrated (collection D.M. Bragadiru) Remus Niculescu, Grigorescu si primii sai critici,, in Studii si cercetari de istoria artei, no. 1, Bucharest, 1958
One of the founders of modern Romanian painting, Nicolae Grigorescu spent his formative years in Paris, after receiving a scholarship in 1861. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and in the studios of Charles Gleyre and Sebastien Cornu, both known for academic historical subjects, but as soon as 1862 he fell under the influence of the painters working in Barbizon. The appeal of plein-air painting, the simplicity of the subject matter freed of the confines of academic rules, and the closeness to nature, offered him new means of expression. The influence of Corot, Millet, Daubigny, would define his style and his preference for realism for the remainder of his career.
From 1868 on Grigorescu participated in the yearly Paris Salon exhibitions and the Exposition Universelle, thus gaining international notoriety and collectors' appreciation.
Petru Verussi (1847-1886), the sitter of the present portrait, was a friend of Grigorescu and a fellow painter, who apprenticed with Sebastien Cornu and later returned to Romania to become a professor at the Fine Art School in Iasi.