The artists who painted this work belonged to a group called the Néo-Grecs (New Greeks). They concentrated on depicting scenes of daily life in ancient Greece and Rome—often with an erotic slant. Here, relying on a popular Greco-Roman theme, the four works represent the seasons and their associated activities: the pursuit of love in spring; bathing in summer; harvesting grapes in fall; and a funerary ritual in winter. The decorative gold, black, and red borders also enhance the classical aspect of the work by recalling the painted wall decorations of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The artists painted this work for their friend, French actor Edmond Got (1822–1901). They likely presented this picture to him in commemoration of his election to the Comédie- Francaise acting company and as a memento of their friendship.

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  • Title: The Four Seasons
  • Creator: Henry Picou (French, 1824-1895), Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824-1904), Gustave Rodolphe Boulanger (French, 1824-1888), Jean-Louis Hamon (French, 1821-1874)
  • Date Created: 1850
  • Physical Dimensions: Framed: 75 x 66.5 x 7 cm (29 1/2 x 26 3/16 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 56.3 x 46.5 cm (22 3/16 x 18 5/16 in.)
  • Provenance: Edmond F. Got, Paris. London sale, Christie's, 20 February 1976 (lot 148), property of a Belgian collector, pl. 31, £1000. Shepherd Gallery, New York. Bought in February 1976 by Mr. and Mrs. Noah L. Butkin, Cleveland. Bequeathed to the CMA in 1980.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1980.263
  • Medium: oil on fabric
  • Inscriptions: Signatures: The top left quadrant by Picou, Spring, is initialed "H. P." in red paint on the left side; the top right quadrant by Gérôme, Summer, is inscribed "A leur Ami Got" with the artists' names, Picou, Gérôme, Boulanger, and Hamon, in that order; the bottom left quadrant, Autumn, is signed "G. R. Boulanger" in red paint; the bottom right quadrant, Winter, is signed "Hamon" in brown paint.
  • Department: Modern European Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: France, 19th century
  • Credit Line: Bequest of Noah L. Butkin
  • Collection: Mod Euro - Painting 1800-1960
  • Accession Number: 1980.263

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