Acquired directly from the artist in 1883, La liseuse by Albert Anker was one of the first works acquired by the Société des Beaux-Arts and the Musée du Locle. The painting depicts a young girl sitting comfortably on a wooden chair, reading. Natural light enters through a window on the left and illuminates the book, highlighting the details of the fabric of her dress and the texture of the wall in the background. The scene is simple but captivating, with a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Anker’s choice of a very soft colour palette and precise painting technique make the painting very realistic.
Reading is a recurring subject for the painter, who is famous for his portraits of everyday life. His paintings of Ins peasants reading the newspaper and working-class women in the midst of reading bear witness to the social evolution of the consumption of the written word in Switzerland, from a bourgeois privilege to an instrument of cultural and political emancipation. The reading machine is one of MBAL’s masterpieces, and has been shown at numerous exhibitions and reproduced in a number of books.
Oil on canvas, inv. 1502