Germain-Théodore Ribotreceived instruction from his father and he also trained under Antoine Vollon, another important 19th Century French artist. It seems that Germain followed in his father's footsteps in regards to an affection for still lifes. He exhibited them regularly at the Salons of Paris from 1870 to 1883 and received awards for his work. He was a master in terms of his use of light to set a strong contract between the subject and the background.
His work reflects the best influences of both his masters: a confident painterly brushstroke from Vollon, and a dramatic contrast in light and shadow from his father. It is likely that Ribot was acquainted with the still lifes of Edward Manet, his contemporary. In both artists' work can be seen in the richly painted surfaces and elegant simplicity of design.
Brilliant floral whites, pinks, purples, and yellows command the foreground of Ribot's Chrysanthemums, while all other elements of the scene are consumed by near complete darkness. The work belies the influence of the artist's father and teacher, the artist and 1878 Légion d'honneur recipient Theodule Augustin Ribot, who drew his own tenebrist style from the genre paintings of Rembrandt. Germain-Théodore Ribot painted Chrysanthemums in the early, shadowy style he learned from his father, which marries the chiaraoscuro of a 17th-century Spanish or Dutch still life with a contemporary 19th-century approach. Distinctly decorative, the painting marries a slate of luxurious textures with a palette that is equal parts delicate and dramatic.
Christie’s New York 19th Century Paintings Sale, 2 November 1999, Lot 36
The Greenwich Gallery, Greenwich, CT (label verso)