IDBURY PRINTS

CHARLES COTTET (French / 1863-1925)

In Félix Vallotton's canvas Five Painters at the Kunstmuseum, Winterthur, Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel and Vallotton himself are depicted at the side of Charles Cottet, who is accorded the place of honour at the centre. Born in Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire), Charles Cottet studied under Puvis de Chavannes and Alfred Roll, though even as a student Cottet preferred to work directly from nature rather than under instruction in an atelier. His studies in various private ateliers were also interrupted by military service in 1882 and 1883. In 1885 he made his first trip to Brittany, which became his key subject matter; Cottet returned to Brittany every year for the next 30 years, and many people assumed, wrongly, that he was himself a Breton. Charles Cottet exhibited at the Impressionist exhibitions organised by Leparc de Bouteville, and exhibited for the first time at the Salon de Paris in 1889. Although he attended classes at the Académie Julian alongside the Nabis, and contributed at their urging to the Revue Blanche, Cottet never became a member of the group. Instead he became the leader of the so-called Bande Noire or Nubians, who rejected bright colour in favour of more sombre effects, under the influence of Courbet; its other members included Lucien Simon, André Dauchez, Xavier Prinet and René Ménard. Cottet was one of the founder members of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and in 1900 of La Société Nouvelle. Charles Cottet specialised in seascapes and portraits of fisherfolk. Although he travelled to Algeria and Egypt, he was most truly at home with the melancholy landscapes of Brittany. Bénézit calls him "un des artistes les plus intéressants du XIXe siècle". Cottet was represented in the 1973 exhibition Visionnaires et Intimistes à l'époque 1900 at the Grand Palais, Paris. There was an exhibition of his work at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper and the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Fribourg in 1984, but Charles Cottet is long overdue for a full retrospective. His graphic work was the subject of an exhibition at the Musée de Pont-Aven in 2003. Cottet's earliest prints were lithographs (the first was published in La Revue Blanche in 1894); it was not until 1903-4 that he took up etching, receiving instruction from André-Charles Coppier and possibly from Eugène Delâtre. Cottet exhibited his first etchings in 1905 at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and at the Salon de la Gravure Originale en Couleurs. In 1906 Cottet was co-opted as a member of the Société des Peintres Graveurs Français, under the patronage of its president, Léonce Bénédite, who was Cottet's friend and patron throughout his career. Around 1911 Charles Cottet, increasingly disabled by illness, ceased to etch. See: André Cariou, Charles Cottet et la Bretagne (1982); Daniel Morane, Charles Cottet: Catalogue Raisonné de l'ouevre gravé (2002).

See also:

PIERRE-CÉCILE PUVIS DE CHAVANNES
JULIEN LEMORDANT
ANDRE DAUCHEZ
RENE FRANCOIS XAVIER PRINET
LUCIEN SIMON
FELIX VALLOTTON
EMILE-JEAN RENE MENARD
ANDRE-CHARLES COPPIER

Selected prints by CHARLES COTTET

Vieille femme
d'Ouessant, 1922
Etching/aquatint
Au pays de la mer:
douleur, 1908
Etching
Marine, 1906
Drypoint

View all available prints by CHARLES COTTET