This antique oil on canvas, painted by the French artist, Denis Bergeret, depicts a kitchen and staff dining area of a large chateau. Eight chefs, clad in white aprons and hats, can be seen preparing food for a large gathering. Smoke billows up towards an open window, high above four of the cooks. Another group of four can be seen working at a prep table in the open, just in front of a wall lined with copper pots on a shelf and iron cookware hanging beneath.
In the large room behind the kitchen, a large refectory table is lined with people eating. The diners are an assortment of kitchen staff, butlers, and other household workers. The beige walls have several niches and a large arched door and there is a large buffet cabinet or armoire in the back of the room. A rich and substantial giltwood frame adorned with flowers, foliage, and lozenge diaper surrounds the bustling painting. Signed in the lower right corner by the artist, with a tag at the bottom of the frame. Inscribed on the back of the frame is “Bergeret – Maquette de son tableau du salon 1893”. This indicates that the painting seen here was possibly a scaled down model for his submission to the Paris Salon in 1893.
Denis Bergeret was born in Villeparisis, a suburb of Paris, between 1844-1846. Known for his still life paintings, Bergeret often featured crustaceans as his subject. He also painted quite a few kitchen scenes, like our painting of the kitchen of the chateau. Bergeret exhibited frequently in Paris from 1870-1908, winning medals in 1873, 1877, 1889 and 1900. In 1900, he was designated Chevalier de la legion d’Honneur, or a Knight of the Legion of Honor, the highest French honorary decoration.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor rubs and age separations and light buildup to frame. The frame is rigged in the back for hanging.