Le cimetière de Scutari (Üsküdar)
Emile Charles Labbé (Mussy-sur-Seine 1820 - 1885 Algiers), The Cemetery of Scutari (Üsküdar), ca. 1852-1854, black pencil on blue paper, ca. 40 x 57,5 cm.
Born in Mussy-sur-Seine in 1820, Charles Emile Labbé attended Cabot's studio in Paris where he quickly became friends with Eugène Fromentin. Conquered by the forest landscapes of Compiègne, Fontainebleau and Normandy, the two companions worked together regularly. Labbé traveled extensively, notably to Italy from 1842 to 1845, but also to Greece, Turkey and especially Algeria where his family settled in Blida in the 1850s. Deeply linked to this geographical area, he participated in the Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture and Arts Applied to Industry in Algiers in 1880. The following year, Charles Labbé was also appointed director of the National School of Fine Arts in the same city. A public education officer, the painter exhibited regularly at the Salons from 1836 to 1876. He seemed to meet with a certain success, the critic Alfred de Menciaux underlined in particular that "M. Charles Labbé has facility, but of this facility which pleases, because it does not exclude the severity of the execution".
Dating from the 1850s, this unpublished drawing corresponds to the time when Charles Labbé explored Greece and Turkey in the company of photographer Ernest de Caranza. The links between the two men seem strong. This sheet completes the pictures and albums made by Caranza at the same time. In this composition, the artist represents the cemetery of Scutari (Üsküdar) which was also photographed by Caranza. Another proof of this proximity and their shared taste for the Orient, Léon Parvillée and the sculptor Alfred Salomon Flandrin joined forces in 1868 with Amédée de Caranza, Ernest's brother, and Charles Labbé to create a company manufacturing "enamelled bricks for the decoration of oriental style buildings", the aim of which was also to make Turkish art known in France. A fascinating personality in the artistic world of the 19th century, Charles Labbé is also mentioned several times in the correspondence between Eugène Fromentin and Alexandre Bida. This unpublished collection testifies to his talent and his undeniable passion for the Mediterranean region. His interest was as much in the flora as in the landscapes, but also in the different cultures present in this geographical area.