(b Montpellier, 6 Dec 1841; d
Beaune-la-Rolande, 28 Nov 1870).
French painter. The son of
a senator, he was born into the wealthy Protestant middle
class in Montpellier. He soon came into contact with the
contemporary and still controversial painting of Eugène
Delacroix and Gustave Courbet through the Montpellier
collector, Alfred Bruyas. In response to his family’s wishes
he began to study medicine in 1860. He moved to Paris in
1862 and devoted his time increasingly to painting. In
November 1862 he entered the studio of Charles Gleyre where
he produced academic life drawings (examples in Montpellier,
Mus. Fabre) and made friends with the future Impressionists,
Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. When the
studio closed in 1863, he did not look for another teacher
but followed his friends to Chailly, near the forest of
Fontainebleau, where he made studies from nature (e.g.
Study of Trees; priv. col.). From 1863 he took an active
part in Parisian musical life, attending the Pasdeloup and
Conservatoire concerts. He developed a passion for opera
(Berlioz and Wagner in particular) and German music
(Beethoven and Schumann). He attended the salon of his
cousins, the Lejosne family, where Henri Fantin-Latour,
Charles Baudelaire, Edmond Maître, Renoir and Edouard Manet
were frequent guests, and at the end of 1863 he met Courbet.
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