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Jehan Georges Vibert, French Painter, Writer, and Inventor

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

Vibert is best known for his satirical scenes from ecclesiastical life, yet he has a wide range of subjects. His art is brilliant and natural, fluid, almost photographic. Vibert had a mastery of the medium that was unique and beautiful.


"The Comparison" by Jehan Georges Vibert
"The Comparison" by Jehan Georges Vibert

Jehan Georges Vibert, French Painter, Writer, and Inventor

Jehan-Georges Vibert
Jehan-Georges Vibert

BIOGRAPHY - Jehan-Georges Vibert (1840 - 1902)


"Writing in the third person, Vibert, less than modestly, wrote of himself in the 1895 Century Magazine that (pg. 78): …being an excellent cook, you have invented and prepared sauces that make your compatriots lick their fingers; that, using your pen as well as your brush, you have written songs and plays that have been applauded in the minor theaters of Paris; that, following the example of Molière, and having, like him, an extraordinary talent as an actor, you have played your own productions at the club and in artistic salons; then, having a passion for building, and trying your hand at all the trades, you are not only your own architect, but do not disdain occasionally to work in iron, like Louis XVI., or in wood, like the good St. Joseph; and finally that, in decorating your house, you have distinguished yourself as an upholsterer. In the last particular, you may even say that you surpass Molière, or he, although the son of an upholsterer, was not himself one. Besides shamelessly admitting to self-glorification, Vibert also shows that he is a man with diverse talents and interests and a witty personality - qualities that would later shape his satirical works, leading to his depiction of incendiary scenes that in earlier times would have had him imprisoned. Jehan (or Jean) Georges Vibert was born in Paris September 30, 1840. His maternal grandfather was the celebrated engraver Jean-Pierre-Marie Jazet and his paternal grandfather, Jean-Pierre Vibert was an important botanist who perfected new species of roses, one of which he named after Jehan-Georges. As a young man Vibert was a mediocre student, “more assiduous in drawing pictures of people in [his] copy-books than in paying attention to [his] master’s lessons.” (Vibert, The Century Magazine, 1895, pg. 79) Just as many other artists, Vibert’s diligence did not extend to his studies. Vibert knew from early on that he was destined to be an artist. He began his artistic training with his grandfather, Jazet, and executed engravings. But he soon realized that his inspiration lay in painting and entered the studio of Félix-Joseph Barrias and eventually the École des Beaux-Arts when he was sixteen. Barrias was a serious teacher but also encouraged young artists to develop their own style, forcing them to focus on drawing before executing any paintings. During his studies Vibert was an active participant in the many competitions that were held among the students, finally earning first place in one. He later was under the tutelage of Francois-Édouard Picot and remained at the École for six years of study, perfecting his technique..." from the article: Jehan-Georges Vibert


Jehan Georges Vibert: A collection of 52 paintings

Video from LearnFromMasters


"Jehan Georges Vibert: A collection of 52 paintings (HD) Description: "Jehan Georges Vibert is best known for his satirical depictions of ecclesiastical life. “The Marvelous Sauce”—a perennial favorite of museum visitors—portrays a Cardinal-turned-cook who astonishes a chef with his culinary endeavors. The Cardinal is recognizable from his distinctive scarlet regalia, but an apron partially sheaths it. Vibert often used such vibrant reds in his compositions to give them a sense of veracity. The wealth of the household and its owner, the Cardinal, is reflected in the large iron stove to the right, which is covered by a decorative hood with an aristocratic coat of arms, as well as the kitchen’s numerous brass cooking pots, abundance of food, and its elaborate, patterned floor. When considered in a broader historical context, the cheerfulness with a hint of cunning revealed in Vibert’s characters distinguishes his work as part of a growing democratization of France. This painting was created during a time when artists and writers alike sought to expose government corruption and the hypocrisies of upper-level clergy members, many of whom lived rather opulent lifestyles." from video introduction


A Sharpshooter & a Playwright

"During the war of 1870-71, Vibert took an active role and became a “sharpshooter” and was wounded at the battle of Malmaison in October of 1870. He was awarded the Légion d’Honneur and became a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in recognition of his sacrifice.


Upon recovering from his war wounds, Vibert became a fairly prolific playwright and staged many productions, in which he himself was also an actor. Many of these poked fun at the major establishments, such as the “Le Médecin Malade”. Others include “La Tribune Mécanique” performed at the Palais Royal in 1862, and “Les Chapeaux Conference” of 1874, “Le Verglas” of 1876, and an operetta “Chanteuse par Amours” presented at the Variétés in 1877. He also wrote a number of stories for the American publication The Century Magazine. Many of his writings were based on scenes from his paintings, or vice versa. This was also a convenient way to advertise his works to a larger audience."




"Jehan Georges Vibert (1840-1902). A consummate painter that came from a family of artists and engravers, fond of Theater, Vibert was also a chemist of sorts, inventing his very popular Vibert Mediums, and writing his own Books, including a treatize for artists. His perfection in technique, along with his portrayals of everyday life and people are a joy to study up close. A remarkable talent." from video introduction


Vibert's Paints

"Vibert was devoted to the acceptance of the medium and he “…devoted his full scientific abilities to the watercolor medium to achieve a more brilliant effect.” (Zafran, 16) He also prepared his own colors and varnishes after “having studied closely the chemis try of colors…” (The Century, pg. 79) and completed a book on the science of painting called La Science de la Peinture (1891)." from BIOGRAPHY - Jehan-Georges Vibert (1840 - 1902)


Vibert's Books




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