COËSSIN DE LA FOSSE Charles-Alexandre

THE GILDED YOUTH OF THERMIDOR

Oil on canvas: 72 x 112.5 cm / 28.3 x 44.3 ins
Signed and dated '1873' lower right

Painter of historical subjects, genre scenes, scenes from the uprisings in the Vendée region, portraits and landscapes of Brittany and the Orient.

Charles-Alexandre Coëssin De La Fosse was a pupil of François Edouard Picot and Thomas Couture. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1857; he gained a third-class medal in 1873 and two bronze medals at the Expositions Universelles in Paris in 1889 and in 1900.

His works demonstrate a clear knowledge of composition and use of colour.

This particular painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1873.

The jeunesse dorée, or “gilded youth,” were a parallel militia recruited from the ranks of minor officials and small shopkeepers. They formed a distinctive subculture, defined by age and social origin, with their own forms of extravagant dress, their own anthem (“Le Réveil du Peuple”), their own affectations of speech, their own regular meeting-places in the cafés of the Palais-Royal, and even their own passwords, which were usually indirect references to Louis XVII. The famous French historian François Gendron sees them as the shock-troops of the Thermidorian Convention, encouraged and sometimes employed by its Committee of General Security to force the pace of the reaction against the “terrorists,” the sans-culottes. This provocation led to the uprisings of Germinal and Prairial and the consequent eviction of the sans-culottes from the political arena.

Period:
Lisieux (Calvados) 1829 - 1900
French School

Exhibitions:
Bayeux - Gray - Liège - Lisieux - Reims

Literature:
E. Bénézit, "Dictionary of Artists", Paris 2006, Vol. 3, p. 1184.