The Forced Halt
Having worked for seven years under Paul Delaroche, Alexandre Antigna exhibited at the Salon from 1841 and belonged to what the contemporary republican press called “the School of the people’s painters”. He honours the proletariat with his work, painting the tragedies of a pauper’s life, and delights the republicans even more because at the same time, his work elicits a genuine desire to help the unfortunate. In his most important paintings, Antigna who was sincerely preoccupied by social issues, embodies some of the spirit of the revolution of 1848.
The Forced Halt, through its description of a rickety cart and even more rickety horse, giving in to tiredness and the cold, addresses the problems of unemployment, rural exodus, all of the social upheavals brought on by the industrial revolution and machinery. Antigna’s realism, reinforced by the truth of the colours, close to monochrome, further intensifies the feeling of tragedy, dares accuse the fate depicted and embodies the refusal of all resignation.
Presented at the Toulouse exhibition in 1858, the work was acquired by the city.