André Barbier (1883-1970) was born in Arras, France into a family of lawyers. At the age of twenty, Barbier settled in Paris at the Quai aux Fleurs, and in the same year, 1903, he began exhibiting landscapes and still lifes at the Paris Salons.
Inspired by his Impressionist forbears, Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet and Camille Corot, Barbier delighted in depicting verdant forests and luminous seascapes at different times of the day and in a variety of atmospheric conditions. Like many of his contemporaries in early nineteenth-century Paris, Barbier travelled extensively in pursuit of subjects for his landscapes. Barbier chose to capture scenes of the Normandy coast and the French Riviera and also travelled further afield to Italy.
In 1916 Barbier met Claude Monet and the two artists immediately struck up a friendship that lasted until Monet’s death in 1926. Barbier sent Monet gifts, including one of his paintings and in return Monet gave Barbier three pastels. Monet was so taken with Barbier's works that he sponsored an exhibition of his works with a preface by Monet’s biographer and friend, Gustave Geffroy, who urged him to "build of mist and light, a world of poetry."
Although a follower of the Impressionists, Barbier’s style is wholeheartedly distinct. Barbier built up compositions using delicate layers of paint in a post-impressionist manner, often using a flickering outline to the forms within the landscape and imbuing his compositions with a delicate haze of light.
Barbier exhibited at the popular Paris Salon’s throughout his career. Salon des Independants, the Salon d'Automme, the Societé Nationale des Beaux Arts, the Salon des Tuilleries and at the Société des Indépendants. In 1926 he was included in the pivotal exhibition of theRétrospective des Artistes Indépendants.
Due to his wealth, much of Barbier's work has remained with his family, but today his paintings are collected extensively in America and Europe and have recently been bought by members of the Monaco and Belgian Royal families.
“Barbier uses his own distinctive style to outline, in a blue-purple flickering, some vague forms buried in a very delicate light in a skillful and discreet monochrome shade.” Gérard Schurr ‘Les petits Maîtres de la Peintures, Valeur de demain’, Les Editions de l’Amateur, Volume II, p. 131