Attendu, Antoine-Ferdinand



Impressionism: partaker of the first ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874

Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu


A forgotten painter of still-lifes


Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu sometimes painted in an impressionist style:
Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. You can hardly call him part of the ‘impressionist’ art-movement. He painted mainly still-lives and is hardly mentioned in books on Impressionism. Many say he didn’t paint in an impressionistic style. But look at this picture below ‘Street view, snow effect’. The atmosphere of a greyish winter day is perceptible. The brush stroke gives it a vivid radiance. You can call it an impressionist work. But this work is clearly an exception. Mostly Attendu painted (kitchen) still-lifes in a more Realist style.

Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu at exhibitions:
Attendu joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874, he exhibited at least 7 works, including 4 still-lifes. He was not noticed by the press. He often exhibited at the Salon (and it’s successor the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français) from 1870-1905*. Moffett calls him (and others) a more traditional artist (R2,p105). Ferdinand Attendu also (regularly) exhibited at regional exhibitions. From 1905-1908 he exhibited at the Salon d’Hiver (iR17).
See here for an account of the works he had exhibited, see link for the images.
Sources: R88I,p19; R87,p229; R9,p41; R90II,p3; iR1; iR17.
Note*: Walther (wrongly) mentions he exhibited at the Salon till 1898 (R3,p645). Invaluable writes that Attendu exhibited regularly at the Salon from 1878-98 (iR17), which is not accurate. Moffett writes that Attendu and other partakers regularly exhibited at the Salon before 1874, which is not true for Attendu.


Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu, general info as an artist:
Attendu painted many still lives in which he often painted kitchen utensils and food. He also painted some portraits*, some city views** and some landscapes***. He (probably) painted a few interieurs****. Walther introduced him as a landscape and still-life painter (R3,p645). Because the number of his landscapes probably is small, I think it better to merely call him a still-life painter, which Walther elsewhere does (R3,p136).
Schurr & Cabanne state that Attendu ‘shares neither the spirit nor the technique of  the impressionists’ (R9,p41). Attendu worked in a naturalistic style (aR3); he was a conventional realist (R5). He worked in Paris and Neuilly-sur-Seine (R3; aR3). Three of his works are now known to be in a museum (aR3). Jeanne Lauvernay Petitjean was a student of him (aR3); she also painted many still lives.
Sources: aR1; aR3; R3; R9; R5.
Note*: see 1IE-1874-8; S1870-3024; SdR1873-400; SdAF-1881-50; SdAF-1888-66; SdAF-1889-58.
Note**: see 1IE-1874-9; SdAF-1880-94; SdAF-1881-49; SdAF-1883-56.
Note***: see SdAF-1885-2511; R3; aR3; R5.
Note****: SdAF-1890-50.


Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu, short chronology as a painter:

  • Attendu was a student of M.L. or M. Mettling (iR1;aR1;R88I,p19;R16,p64) = Louis Mettling (R3;R87,p229), sometimes wrongly spelled as Metting (aR3). Some render his name wrongly as ‘Ettling’ (R9,p41). On the internet I find only a Louis Mettling who was born 1847, which means he was younger than Attendu and probably not his teacher; see for example artnet ; and there is a V.L. Mettling who showed one work at the Exposition Universelle in 1889, see ; the Salons database mentions a Louis Mettling who showed work at the Salon in 1872, 1880 and later and he was born in Dijon, Côté-d’or (aR1); Moffett mentions that a Louis Mettling was a co-founder of the ‘Société anonyme…‘.
  • 1870: debut at the Salon with a painting and an aquarelle (aR1)
  • 1873: exhibited two paintings at the Salon des Refusée (aR1)
  • 1874: exhibited at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition (R2); 4 or more oil paintings and 3 aquarelles, see account; probably introduced by Degas (aR3); (it would be interesting to know if Degas mentions Attendu in his writings)
  • 1874-1905: exhibited (almost) yearly at the Salon with 1, 2 or 3 works (aR1;R88I,p19;R87,p229;R9,p41); mostly with still-lives. It would be interesting to know if and what contemporary art-critics wrote about him.
  • 1875-96: exhibited regularly at the Salon du Havre (aR3)
  • 1885-92: Attendu exhibited at the Salon de l’Union artistique in Toulouse (aR1); with one or two works; all still-lives; 1885 (2x); 1886 (2x); 1888 (1x); 1889 (1x); 1891 (1x); 1892 (1x).
  • 1887: member of the ‘Société des Artistes Français‘ (aR1)
  • 1893: exhibited one time with the Salon des Indépendants showing 6 still lifes (R285,p122)
  • 1893: exhibited at the ‘Expositions et concours de Beaux-Arts et Arts Industriels modernes’ in Blois (aR1)
  • 1905-08: exhibited at the Salon d’hiver (aR3; iR17)


Was Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu an Impressionist?
Attendu only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. Before that he was accepted by the Salon in 1870, but rejected in 1873 (and exhibited at the Salon des Refusés) and maybe also was rejected in 1872. These rejections probably made his relationship with the Salon ambivalent and maybe this motivated him to join the alternative ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. Fact is though that about the same time he was able to show a work in the Salon of 1874. After 1874 he was accepted every year at the Salon and therefore maybe not motivated to look for an alternative.
He probably didn’t have many relationships with the other impressionists. Sue Roe doesn’t mention him in her book (R4). There is no portret known of Attendu made by another impressionist. It’s only known that he was introduced by Degas (aR3).
His still-lives are not in an impressionistic style. He used many blacks and browns and his brushstroke is not very lively. He rendered a lot of detail. Still he also tried to render the effect of the light which influences the colour of the object (see also aR3). Some claim Attendu’s landscapes are not in an impressionistic style (R5). I can’t compare because I don’t know any of his landscapes. When I look at the two city-views, than I recognize impressionist elements. Walther mentions him as one of the artists who didn’t conquer a place in art-history and didn’t paint in an impressionist way (R3,p136).
So, mainly you can say that Attendu nearly didn’t belong to the impressionist art movement and mostly didn’t paint in an impressionistic painting style.


Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu, a short private biography:


Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu, sources:
There is not much known about Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu. Searching for Attendu on the internet gives the problem that ‘attendu’ also means ‘waited’. So I couldn’t even find info in the Bibliothèque National de France (iR26;iR40). Joconde only renders 2 works (iR23). Most sources, if they mention him at all, only mention that he was one of the partakers in the 1874 exposition (R1,p316;R16,p371+64). Walther shortly mentions him in his lexicon and as member of the first exposition in 1874 (R3,p645+136). Moffett calls him (and others) more traditional artist and that is all the information he gives (R2,p105). Also Monneret (R88I,p19) and Adhémar (R87,p229) are limited in their information. Others don’t mention him at all (R4;R5;R6;R8;R10;R14;R15;R17;R19;R21;R22;R86;R90II;R94;R95;R102;R116).
My main sources are Rewald (1973=R1,p316), Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013=R3,p645), Schurr&Cabanne (2008=R9,p607), Spiess (1992=R16,p64), Monneret (1978-81=R88I,p19), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3-iR5), the RKD (iR24), Bénézit (iR69),  and the additional references (aRx). See link for other general references (=R) and for other references to internet sites (=iR). For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.

Additional references (=aR):

  1. (=iR1)
    Salons et expositions de groupes 1673-1914 »,, un projet du musée d’Orsay et de l’Institut national d’histoire de l’art soutenu par le Ministère de la Culture et de la communication, consulté le 27/09/2017
  2. (=iR13)
    info on works showed at auctions; many works of Attendu !!!; for full access you have to pay
  3. (=iR5)
  4. (=iR6)
    info and images on many artists; download free large images
  5. (=iR35)
    interesting articles on vanished impressionists as Attendu
  6. (=iR37)
    a single picture on Attendu
  7. RKD=Netherlands Institute for Art History (=iR24)
    limited info; text also in English
  8. (=iR14)
    references to text documents; unclear if it refers to the artist; attendu means also ‘waited’
  9. (=iR15)
    one work of Attendu
  10. (=iR42)
    two works of Attendu
  11. (=iR16)
    searching on artist -> most artists -> info on works showed at auctions (no pictures)
  12. (=iR41)
    renders three works of Attendu; for full access you have to pay; the images are limited in size
  13. (=iR34)
    info on impressionism and the eight expositions; one work of Attendu
  14. (1888/02/21-23, Auction at the American Art Gallery in New York with 1 work of Attendu, no. 20, collection of armor, from the Salon of 1885, 16,5x13inch, owner Thomas Reid; =iR19)
  15. (many auctioned works of Attendu; =iR13)
  16. (some auctioned works of Attendu; =iR17)


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