Leon Jean Bazile Perrault
(1832 - 1908)
Le Reveil de l'Amour
Signed and dated '91
Oil on canvas
32 1/4 x 44 3/8 inches
Soon after the close of the Paris Salon of 1891, Perrault’s Le reveil de l’Amour was purchased by the Doliber, Goodale Co., to hang in their “Mellin’s Food Exhibit” at the World Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair), Chicago in 1893. The Boston-based company had secured American distribution rights of the British Mellin’s Food products for babies, and Perrault’s cherubic subject was the ideal embodiment of the quality ingredients and nutritional values that promised good health. Reporting on the display, one writer merged art appreciation with advertising: “Perrault seems to have caught the idea of childhood’s innocent loveliness…. Perfect physical development means perfect health, and no child can be well and contented if he does not receive suitable food in a proper manner” (“Publisher’s Notes," The Menorah, vol, XV, 1893, p. 63). Customers were invited to send Doliber, Goodale Co. a Mellin’s Food wrapper, and in turn they would receive a “handsome copy of this famous picture” (“Publisher’s Notes,” p. 62). After the exhibition closed, a lithograph of the painting was used as one of the first examples of color advertising, circulated in 650,000 copies of Youth’s Companion magazine at the then-incredible cost of $14,000 (Henry Lewis Bird, The Fascinating Advertising Business, n. p., 2008, p. 43). By the turn of the nineteenth century, Le reveil de l’Amour was a widely recognized image in American popular culture.
Doliber, Goodale Co., Boston (c.1893)
Galerias La Granja, Mexico City
Private collection, Witchita, Kansas, 1961
Paris Salon 1891, No. 1293
World's Columbian Exhibition, Chicago, 1893
California Midwinter International Exposition, 1894
World's Food Fair, Boston, 1894
Antonin Proust, Salon of 1891, Paris, 1891, Illustrated pg. 13.
A. Hustin, Salon de 1891, Paris, 1891, Illustrated color.
Catalogue illustre de Peinture et Sculpture, Salon de 1891, Ludovic Baschet, Paris, 1891, illustrated pg.122
Albert Wolff, 1891 Figaro-Salon, Goupil & Cie, Paris 1891, illustrated pg. 2.