Two young, disgruntled looking girls hide behind a large tree and rock cropping with their leather school books and prepared lunch, truant from school, their classmates and school building just in the distance. The scene is depicted with a highly realistic hand: the natural textures of the environment, the folds of the various drapery, to the subtle facial characteristics that are the focus of the work. Signed and dated lower right. French artist Constant Mayer (1832 - 1911) studied in Paris in the École des Beaux-Arts and under Léon Cogniet, and followed his profession in that city until 1854, when he moved to New York City. Mayer worked as a colorist at the photography studio of Jeremiah Gurney and CD Fredericks in Manhattan before opening his own art studio. He became known for his genre or historical paintings based on literature, and particularly for his portraits. In 1869, Mayer was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor. He had been elected an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1866, and was also a member of the American Art Union. Mayer left the U.S. in 1969 for Paris, where he died in 1911. Several of Mayer's works appear in the collections of world-renowned museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Oil on Panel
41 x 31 in.