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Alphonse Jongers

Jongers was born on November 17, 1872, in Mezieres, France and died on October 2, 1945, in Montreal, Canada. He was in Old Lyme, 1900-04.

The portraitist, Alphonse Congers, was one of the Lyme art colony's charter members, coming to Old Lyme at Henry Ward Ranger's suggestion in the spring of 1900.

Born in France, Congers trained under Delaunay and Gustave Moreau at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and then studied for two years in Spain. Congers moved to French Canada in 1895, where at the age of twenty-three he opened a studio in Montreal. It was probably there that Ranger and Congers met and became friends, as Ranger traveled to Montreal frequently in the late 1890s. In 1900, just before making his first of several trips to Old Lyme with Ranger, Congers moved to New York City. His first known exhibition in New York was a March, 1902, group show of seven painters (including fellow Lyme artists Louis Paul Dessar, George Bogert, and Ranger) at Durand-Ruel Galleries.

Between 1900 and 1904, Congers spent each summer in Old Lyme. In 1903 he persuaded Florence Griswold to pose for her portrait, playing the harp her father had brought from England (cat. 191). He was unable to finish before returning to the city and asked Miss Florence to send the harp to his New York studio in order to complete the canvas. The portrait was sold to George A. Hearn and hung with the Hearn Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1918 the painting was sold to a New Haven dealer, who in turn sold it to the Lyme Art Association. As a tribute to Florence Griswold, the Association gave her the painting.

Jongers played an important role in the early "Barbizon" years of the Lyme art colony. He also painted portraits of Henry Ward Ranger, now in the National Portrait Gallery and the National Academy of Design, as well as a portrait of Louis Paul Dessar in the National Academy. Additionally, Congers is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Collection of Fine Arts, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He was a member of the Society of American Artists and was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1906. He received a silver medal at the the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 and the third class medal at the Paris Salon of 1909.

Jongers returned to Montreal in 1924, where he was successful enough to be called "one of Canada's leading portrait painters." Two years after his death in 1945, a memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Montreal Art Association.

Further reading:
Alphonse Jongers Memorial Exhibition.' Montreal Art Association Bulletin, No. 43 (Dec. 1947), pp. 2-3.
"Among the Artists." American Art News, 3 (Nov. 26, 1904), 2.

Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/roughton

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