Thursday, 6 July 2017

Samuel and Louis, artists & brothers

This isn’t actually to do with North Yorkshire, but I have the information and I feel I must do something with it!

It is the story of two brothers, both artists, whose identities have become curiously conflated in recent years.

If you search online for Samuel Baruch Halle, you will be informed that he was a French artist, who was born in 1824 and died in Paris in 1889.  On the sidebar you may find the name Ludwig Halle, who was – again – born in 1824 and died in Paris in 1889.

If you then search for Ludwig Halle, you may find your way to the German wikipedia entry which gives his name as Samuel Baruch Ludwig Halle, and describes him as a German artist who also worked in London and Paris and who was born in – surprise! – 1824 in Frankfurt am Main and died in Paris in 1889.

Some of this is true.  Here is the real story.

Samuel Baruch Halle and his brother Ludwig (who was known in his adult life as Louis) were both born in Frankfurt am Main.  Samuel was the elder, born in 1824.  Louis was born in 1828.  Neither of them died in 1889.

They were the sons of Simon Markus Baruch Halle (1794-1864) and Fanny Flörsheim (1803-32).

Simon was a bitter and disappointed man and a neglectful father.  He had been born in the Judengasse, the narrow and crowded street in which Frankfurt’s Jews were forced to live.  They had been freed from the harsh restrictions imposed for centuries by the city council when the Revolutionary armies of France invaded.  Artillery bombardment destroyed much of the ghetto in 1796 and under the French occupation the civil liberties granted to French Jews in the Revolution were extended to Frankfurt.

Simon grew up in tumultuous times and he served in the army during the years of the Napoleonic Wars, spending just over a year in 3rd Company 1st Battalion Zweyer's Light Infantry Regiment.

When the wars ended and the reorganisation of Europe began, his uncle Jakob Baruch (1763-1827) was sent by the Jewish community of Frankfurt to the Congress of Vienna, in the hope that his family’s good relations with the Hapsburg Court would be useful in obtaining equal rights for Frankfurt’s Jews – in vain.  The transient gains of the French Revolution were lost, the city council resumed previous practices as far as they could, and in the 1819 Hep Hep riots Simon was apparently injured and a close friend died.

Simon’s daughters died in infancy and his young wife died leaving him with five little boys.  He brought them up in the conviction that they must leave Frankfurt.  They did.

The eldest, Bernard, was a merchant who contributed European news to American newspapers under the name Bernard Barry.  Julius (1825-1904) became a prosperous London merchant dealing in fancy goods and travelling frequently to France and Germany.  He became a naturalised British subject at an early date and was intensely proud of his adopted country.  Philip settled in the USA and became a US citizen in 1858.  Samuel and Louis became artists.  Only Julius had children; two of his grandsons were knighted – the brothers Gerald Hurst and Arthur Hurst.

Samuel Baruch Halle 

Samuel Baruch Halle – his full name was Samuel Simon Baruch Halle – studied art at Antwerp and worked on the Continent for some years, but by the time of the 1881 Census he had settled in London.  He had of course visited his brother in England over the years, and possibly also worked here at times.  This photograph of him is from the large family group photograph taken in June 1875 on the occasion of his niece’s wedding in London.

Samuel Baruch Halle 1824-92
Samuel lived and worked at 133 Regent Street until 1885, when he moved to 59 Adelaide Road, Hampstead.  In 1891 he moved to 82 Gloucester Street, Pimlico.  By then he had retired and was in very poor health.

He died at home on 20 December 1892 at the age of 68.  The cause of death is recorded as “Syncope during operation for Stone.  Stone in Bladder.  Enlarged Prostate.  Cystitis diseased kidneys.  Certified by H Fenton, M.D.”  The poor man must have suffered greatly.

The informant on the death certificate was his brother Louis Hallé, of 33 Avenue du Roule, Neuilly near Paris.  Louis, together with solicitor John Hopgood, were the executors of Samuel’s Will.  He left £8,636 14s 6d.

Louis Hallé

Ludwig Baruch Halle – using the French version of his name, Louis Hallé – lived at Neuilly-sur-Seine.  He was a friend of the photographer Gustave Le Gray and was one of the witnesses to the acte de notoriété after Le Gray's death.  This is referred to in Gustave Le Gray, 1820-1884 by Sylvie Aubenas (2002):
1885, January 28: Document prepared by M Latapie de Gerval, a Paris notary, designates Alfred Le Gray, his only surviving child, as his heir.  Witnesses said to have known his father well:  Louis Hallé, painter, and Vincent Philippe, boot maker
Louis appears twice in the English censuses.

In 1851 – when his recently-married brother Julius was living in Hackney and his brother Philip was visiting the newly-weds – Louis Hallé was staying at 3 President Street, Finsbury, in the household of Elizabeth Blackhall, a 56 year old widow, and her son and daughter.  He described himself for the census as a “lithographic artist”.

He was back in London for the census of 1871 in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War.  Now aged 43, still unmarried, and describing himself simply as an artist, he was a boarder at 19 Grosvenor Road, Highbury, in the home of Edward W Hoare, commercial traveller in the tea trade, and his wife and five children.  The Cornish artist Edward Opie was also lodging in the house.

In 1875 he too was in London for his niece’s wedding and here is his photograph – looking, surely, every inch the Parisian artist.

Louis Hallé 1828-99

We know he was in London in December 1892, because he was at the deathbed of his brother Samuel.

He died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on 3 February 1899.

Samuel’s art seems to have become increasingly popular in recent years and you'll find two of his paintings on Art UK and many more on the internet, but I can’t find any of Louis’ work online.

It doesn’t seem right that their identities should be confused and the reality of two well-lived lives should disappear.  I hope this will put the record straight.

NB. This link tells in outline the story of Simon Markus Baruch Halle’s first cousin Ludwig Börne.

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