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Jules Antoine Castagnary, 1830-1888

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1830
Place of Birth: Saintes
Place of Death: Paris


Jules Antoine Castagnary was an art critic.


Castagnary studied as a lawyer but achieved fame as an art critic, particularly following his review of the 1857 Paris Salon in the journal Le Présent. Over the next two decades he annually reviewed the Salons in the Monde illustré, Siècle and Nain jaune.

Influenced by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Castagnary was hostile to academic painting, and championed secular, modern life subject matter. He gave his support to the landscape painters Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet. Although critical of Gustave Courbet in 1857, in the 1860 he became one of his closest friends and followers.

In 1863 Castagnary coined the term ‘naturalism’ to describe the style of the work produced by the generation of painters following the early Realists. In this year he commented on Whistler's Symphony in White, No. I: The White Girl y038 exhibited at the Salon des Refusés.

In 1879 he was elected to the Conseil Supérieur des Beaux-Arts and in 1887 he was appointed Directeur de l’Administration des Beaux-Arts.


Castagnary, J. A., 'Salon de 1863, Les Refusés', Le Courier du Dimanche, 14 June 1863, pp. 4-5; Castagnary, J. A., L'Artiste, vol. 1, 15 August 1863; Castagnary, J. A., Les Libres Propos, Paris, 1864; Castagnary, J. A., Gustave Courbet et la colonne Vendôme: Plaidoyer pour un ami mort, Paris, 1883; Castagnary, J. A., Salons, 1857-1879, 2 vols, Paris, 1892; Castagnary, J. A., ‘Fragments d’un livre sur Courbet’, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, n.s. 4, vol. 5, 1911, pp. 5-20; vol. 6, 1911, pp. 488-97; vol. 7, 1912, pp. 19-30.

Sloane, J., French Painting between the Past and the Present, Princeton, 1951; Lacambre, G., The European Realist Tradition, Bloomington, 1982; Gerbod, Paul, 'Jules-Antoine Castagnary', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 29 August 2002).