1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hamon, Jean Louis

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HAMON, JEAN LOUIS (1821–1874), French painter, was born at Plouha on the 5th of May 1821. At an early age he was intended for the priesthood, and placed under the care of the brothers Lamennais, but his strong desire to become a painter finally triumphed over family opposition, and in 1840 he courageously left Plouha for Paris—his sole resources being a pension of five hundred francs, granted him for one year only by the municipality of his native town. At Paris Hamon received valuable counsels and encouragement from Delaroche and Gleyre, and in 1848 he made his appearance at the Salon with “Le Tombeau du Christ” (Musée de Marseille), and a decorative work, “Dessus de Porte.” The works which he exhibited in 1849—“Une Affiche romaine,” “L’Égalité au sérail,” and “Perroquet jasant avec deux jeunes filles”—obtained no marked success. Hamon was therefore content to accept a place in the manufactory of Sèvres, but an enamelled casket by his hand having attracted notice at the London International Exhibition of 1851, he received a medal, and, reinspired by success, left his post to try his chances again at the Salon of 1852. “La Comédie humaine,” which he then exhibited, turned the tide of his fortune, and “Ma sœur n’y est pas” (purchased by the emperor) obtained for its author a third-class medal in 1853. At the Paris International Exhibition of 1855, when Hamon re-exhibited the casket of 1851, together with several vases and pictures of which “L’Amour et son troupeau,” “Ce n’est pas moi,” and “Une Gardeuse d’enfants” were the chief, he received a medal of the second class, and the ribbon of the legion of honour. In the following year he was absent in the East, but in 1857 he reappeared with “Boutique à quatre sous,” “Papillon enchaîné,” “Cantharide esclave,” “Dévideuses,” &c., in all ten pictures; “L’Amour en visite” was contributed to the Salon of 1859, and “Vierge de Lesbos,” “Tutelle,” “La Volière,” “L’Escamoteur” and “La Sœur aînée” were all seen in 1861. Hamon now spent some time in Italy, chiefly at Capri, whence in 1864 he sent to Paris “L’Aurore” and “Un Jour de fiançailles.” The influence of Italy was also evident in “Les Muses à Pompéi,” his sole contribution to the Salon of 1866, a work which enjoyed great popularity and was re-exhibited at the International Exhibition of 1867, together with “La Promenade” and six other pictures of previous years. His last work, “Le Triste Rivage,” appeared at the Salon of 1873. It was painted at St Raphael, where Hamon had finally settled in a little house on the shores of the Mediterranean, close by Alphonse Karr’s famous garden. In this house he died on the 29th of May 1874.