Charles Michel Maria Verlat (1824-1890)
“Portrait of a vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)”
Signed and signed with initials lower right
Oil on paper laid down on canvas, 47.5 x 38.6 cm
Charles Verlat painted historical and religious compositions, portraits, animals and still lives. He studied at the Antwerp Academy. In 1849 he went to Paris where he worked under Ary Scheffer and was much impressed by the realism of Courbet. In 1855 he won a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle at Paris with his “Tiger attacking a herd of buffaloes”. In 1866 he was invited by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar to become director of the Academy at Weimar. Here he painted some fine portraits, notably those of the Duchess of Saxony and of Franz Liszt. Next, he visited Palestine for two years where he painted many biblical scenes, including “Vox Populi” (now in the Royal Museum
of Fine Art in Antwerp). He preferred to paint large hunting scenes in the Flemish tradition but to pay for his living he painted humoristic paintings of monkeys which he called his “monkey money”. The vervet is a common monkey in South and East Africa.