Sir William Orpen, R.A. 1878 - 1931
Le Chef de l'Hôtel Chatham, Paris
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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Le Chef de l'Hôtel Chatham, Paris, ca. 1921
Oil on canvas, 1270 X 1025 X 25 mm
Diploma Work given by Sir William Orpen, R.A., accepted 1921
03/1237
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Orpen's painting is a tour de force of monumental portraiture. The crisp white folds of the chef's uniform, the still-life of bottle and wine and the chops are all painted with dazzling technique set against a dark background. Orpen was inspired by artists such as Velázquez and Manet, but in his choice of subject he elevates the working man by portraying him with a swagger and authority equal to any nobleman.

The painting depicts Eugene Grossrieter (“Chester”), second chef at the Hotel Chatham, Paris.