While some French realist painters depicted workers in the fields and the countryside, Victor Gabriel Gilbert and other genre artists concentrated on painting Parisian city life and Parisians at leisure. His natural ability for drawing was acknowledged at an early age, but due to financial circumstances he spent his formative years working as an artisan. Later on he took lessons at the Ecole de la Ville, where he received his formal training from Pierre Levasseur. Gilbert first exhibited at the Salon in 1873 and 1874. Soon afterwards, his talent quickly came to the attention of the Parisian public. It was during the 1870s that Gilbert became a close friend of Pierre Martin, who owned an art shop on the rue Lafitte, and who was an important supporter of the Impressionist movement. As Martin had secured paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin, he also acquired works by Victor Gilbert. It was through this support and recognition that Gilbert was able to devote his time to painting the daily street markets, vendors, cafe scenes and views of Paris. He developed his technique and style this way, and his efforts were rewarded with continued acclaim at the Salon des Artistes Francais, and a knighthood of the Legion d’honneur in 1897. Gilbert’s paintings are housed in prestigious institutions including the Musée des Beaux- Arts de Bordeaux and the Musée du Petit Palais, Paris.