Emile Victor Delobre (1873-1956) was born in Paris, France. At age 14, he was already enrolled in the Ecole des Decoratifs; by 17 he was studying at the Beaux-Arts. There he was instructed and inspired by the remarkable Gustave Moreau, among others. His fellow-classmates included: Matisse, Marquet, Roualt, Dufy, Manguin.
Mentioned in the Benezit, the French encyclopedia of great painters, he was the recipient of prizes at the Beaux-Arts; and later was acclaimed when he chose to exhibit at the Paris Salons. According to Christopher Wright, art historian, author and writer for the Los Angeles Times, Emile was "an accomplished painter." Wright attributes La Tours' The Fortune Teller, a painting acquired for $650,000 by the Metropolitan Museum in New York, to Emile Delobre. Nathan Wildenstein "found" him while "...he was in the Louvre, copying a picture with his accustomed skill and accuracy...(Wildenstein) was so impressed that, then and there, he asked Delobre to come to work for him." Delobre worked at Wildenstein's gallery as a consultant-restorer until he retired at 72.
A prolific artist of the Impressionist School, Emile Delobre's quest for the interesting landscape often took him to the countryside of France: Normandy, with its fishing villages and orchards; the Loire Valley, with its rolling rivers; and the south of France with its sunny beaches. He also traveled outside the country to Italy, Holland and Tunisia which inspired many of his paintings.
Delobre's many portraits of his family, with whom he lived his whole life, include his sisters, parents and nephew whom he raised. Here we find the intimacy and affection reflective of a gentle and harmonious life. His revealing, yet mysterious self-portraits, provide the viewer with a pictorial chronology of himself through the years until his old age. And his vast repertoire of classically posed nudes are all painted with a reverence for the beautiful.
Emile Delobre lived a modest life. Perhaps, overshadowed by the artistic giants of his age, he comes to us to be rediscovered as a painter of great sensitivity and grace. His purpose in painting seems not to have been to revolutionize art, but rather, to reaffirm it as the representation of all that man finds beautiful and inspiring. As Emile Delobre emerges from obscurity, we find a master of the impressionist technique, committed to the traditions of art and devoted to the expression of universal sentiment.