Housed in the Philbrook Museum of Art is a painting by Alfred Francois Delobbe called Rest during the Harvest. This magnificent painting portrays a young woman lying beside a field daydreaming, with what seems to be a flower in her hand. What’s interesting about this piece is the mystery that came with it to the Philbrook. The signature that is on the painting is of William- Adolphe Bouguereau, a famous academic painter of the 19th century. As it turns out, Alfred Francois Delobbe was a student of William- Adolphe Bouguereau. It is said that the signature of Bouguereau was put on many years after the original painting was completed, most likely from an art dealer, as the Museum states in its labeling.
The label that accompanies the painting tells how “she can be seen as an object of desire” to whoever views her, which is something that can definitely be taken away by it. Delobbe uses incredible technique to draws his viewers in with the almost trance-like stare that seems to follow you wherever you go. The hints of deep red in the flowers and the rosiness of the woman’s lips and cheeks stand out against the yellow field and the dismal looking sky. Delobbe captures her expression of what seems to be a fulfilled look, making her eyes look as realistic as a picture. The scene looks so peaceful and real, almost as if the viewer is able to reach inside the painting and touch the grass.
It isn’t hard for the visitor to notice that Delobbe thought about every brush stroke he made. He was deliberate with his use of the dark and light colors side by side, like the dark color of the woman’s hair to the lightness of her eyes. Whether the visitor believes the woman could be an “object of desire” or that she is simply being portrayed as peaceful, it is up to the viewer to decide. This painting makes the viewer stop for more than just the usual split second to look at the woman’s eyes and the incredible work that Delobbe has done. I would highly recommend going to the Philbrook to see this painting, along with the many other incredible works of art that surround it.