Of Italian parentage, Adolphe Monticelli was a French painter whose career and style predates that of the Impressionists.
Though he received his first formal training in Marseilles, the city of his birth, Monticelli continued his studies in Paris. In addition to his formal training, Monticelli was quite influenced by the work of Eugene Delacroix and Antoine Watteau, and eventually developed his own unique Romantic style. Using strong colors and a heavy impasto (thick surface), he painted still lifes, portraits, and courtly subjects.
Between 1847 and 1870, Monticelli spent the bulk of his time in the city of lights, where his dedication to art was admired by others in the arts. And though his confident palette and bold brushwork did not appeal to all, they did catch the attention of a young Vincent van Gogh, who later admitted such a strong connection to Monticelli that he once remarked, “I sometimes think that I am really continuing that man.” It was Van Gogh and his brother Theo who were instrumental in publishing the first book on Monticelli.
As with many artists, Monticelli's reputation grew after his death. In addition to his
influence on Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne was captivated by his style and Oscar Wilde was an enthusiastic patron.
Monticelli's paintings are permanently housed in museums the world over, including the Louvre in Paris and the Tate in London. And, as you now know, one graces Marshalltown, Iowa as well.